The Majority Caucus in Parliament on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, staged a walkout while processes were ongoing to either approve or disapprove the 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
It was initially reported that they walked out due to the revocation of Standing Order 113(2) to resort to a headcount by the Minority after the ultimate decision of the Speaker on voice votes was challenged.
However, the deputy Majority Leader, Hon Alexander Afenyo Markin in a statement revealed their decision to walk out was due to the speaker’s discretion to use the division instead of a head count to make the final decision.
According to him, though the request was for a headcount, the Speaker decided to use the division method which would have disadvantaged them and favoured the minority.
“Leadership of the Majority,-well aware that under our rules, being absent during a headcount disqualifies a member from being recorded present, whereas in a division, absent members who rush in can be counted as participants, even if they were not present when the question was initially put-moved to halt this process that would have allowed some of the minority MPs who were outside Accra at the time to be able to proceed to Parliament to be counted, even though the Majority was fully aware that it was not going to give the minority any advantage.”
“The Majority concluded the choice for a division was unfair under the circumstance, leading to their decision to stage a walkout,” he justified adding that the House has not used that method of decision-making since 1993.
With this, he insisted that the ruling on the voice vote still stands, thereby the budget is passed.
“It is essential to note that despite the Speaker’s indication that the “ayes” had prevailed, and despite a petition presented to him, a petition that hadn’t followed due process, the Speaker’s initial ruling on the “ayes” retaining their advantage stands. Consequently, the budget has been duly passed until the appeal for a headcount is dealt with, not the division that the Speaker had called.”
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Service has affirmed that the Budget is yet to be approved.