Politics

Former MP Petitions Speaker To Declare Seats Of 4 MPs Vacant

Former Kumbungu Member of Parliament (MP) Ras Mubarak has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin over the absenteeism of some four sitting MPs without permission in writing for more than the fifteen (15) Parliamentary sittings stipulated in the constitution.

The MPs include Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo, MP for Dome-Kwabenya; Hon. Henry Quartey, MP for Ayawaso Central; Hon. Ebenezer Kojo Kum, MP for Ahanta West; and Hon. Ken Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin Central.

The former MP wishes that the Speaker enforces article 97(1)c of the 1992 constitution of Ghana which says a member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament (c) “if he is absent, without the permission in writing of the Speaker and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges from fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet”.

“In view of this reported breach of the constitutional provision, I respectfully petition your high office to direct for their conduct to be referred to the Privileges Committee for consideration and necessary action”, he said in the petition.

According to him, such conduct on the part of MPs threatens Ghana’s democracy.

Read the full petition here:

PETITION TO ENFORCE ARTICLE 97(1)C OF 1992 CONSTITUTION:
I write to petition your high office to respectfully enforce the provisions of Article 97(1)c of the 1992 constitution of Ghana and parliament’s Standing Order number 16(1).

It has come to my notice through parliament’s Hansard, and newspaper and radio report that some four Members of Parliament, namely Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo, MP for Dome-Kwabenya; Hon. Henry Quartey, MP for Ayawaso Central; Hon. Ebenezer Kojo Kum, MP for Ahanta West; and Hon. Ken Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin Central have all absented themselves from Parliament for more than fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament without the permission of Mr. Speaker in writing.

In view of this reported breach of the constitutional provision, I respectfully petition your high office to direct for their conduct to be referred to the Privileges Committee for consideration and necessary action.

Mr. Speaker may recall that in the 7th Parliament, the people of Lower West Akyem did not have representation in Parliament for nearly two years, as their then MP had been absent for more than fifteen sittings of several meetings of Parliament without the permission of Mr. Speaker in writing.
Leadership of the House at the time swept the absence of the MP, which conduct breached the 1992 constitution and Standing Order 16(1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament under the rug.
The Standing Orders of Parliament is not clear as to who can or should raise the matter of absenteeism on the floor of the House for a debate and or referral by Mr. Speaker to the Committee on Privileges. But it is incidences like this, if unattended to that threaten our democracy.

According to the Afrobarometer data, trust in Parliament has fallen by 12% between 2002 and 2019. The report ranked Parliament as the third corrupt institution in our country – just behind the Police and Judges.
I humbly submit that democracy can only work if Parliament puts the common good ahead of party and personal interest.

At a time of seeming collapse of trust in politics and Parliament as an institution, it is my fervent prayer that the House would rise to the occasion and be UNITED on this matter, so as to uphold our constitution and also win back waned public confidence.

Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini

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