The South Dayi MP, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor has refuted the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) claim of a majority in Parliament because an independent MP has aligned with the party.
The NDC MP believes that the Fomena legislator, Andrew Asiamah’s letter to the Speaker communicating his commitment does not bring closure to the issue of who constitutes the majority in the House.
He said the development rather raises more questions about the likely ramifications of his action.
“The question we must ask the NPP then, is what happens if Hon. Asiamah changes his mind a month after and decides to do business with the NDC Caucus? Will that make the NDC the majority?
“Will that mean that the NPP will vacate their seats on the right side of the speaker for the NDC as they are seeking today?” the MP quizzed in his statement on Thursday.https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xab_2q3xtHGI-TZTK-tJChy6shzsjEZG/preview
Following his dismissal from the NPP prior to the 2020 elections and subsequent win of the Fomena seat as an independent candidate, Mr Asiamah has been in the spotlight.
At the inauguration of the 8th Parliament, Mr Asiamah was appointed 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, Wednesday, Mr Asiamah stated that he will “for the purpose of transacting business in the House associate with the NPP Caucus in the Eighth Parliament.”
Currently, both the NPP and NDC have 137 representatives apiece and an independent member in the country’s 275-seat Parliament.
The NPP MPs have taken the Fomena MP’s latest move as an exclamation point on their much sought-after Majority battle with the NDC numbers in Ghana’s hung parliament.
At a meeting to resolve by consensus some issues in the house, Deputy Leader of the NPP caucus in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin asked the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, to declare the NPP as the majority in the House.
He said although the rules of the House did not appear to define the Majority Caucus or the Minority Caucus expressly, “I, however, submit that Mr. Speaker should rely on Standing Order 7 for the appropriate guidance and the decision of this House as captured in the Hansard of January 9, 2009.”
If Mr Afenyo-Markin’s assertion is anything to go by, NPP will be entitled to now appoint all the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of all the Committees in Parliament except those that the rules say are to be chaired by the Minority
But the NDC will have none of that adding that the development contravenes Article 97(1) (g) & (h) of the constitution.
In a 5-page response to the Effutu MP, Mr Dafeamekpor indicated that the Fomena MP’s action could even be considered a breach of portions of the 1992 Constitution unless it is followed through by Mr Asiamah’s vacation of the constituency seat.
“Article 97( 1) A member of Parliament shall vacate his seat
in Parliament: (g) if he leaves the party of which he was a member at the
time of his election to Parliament to join another party or seeks to remain in Parliament as an independent member; or (h) if he was elected a member of Parliament as an independent candidate and joins a political party,” he quoted.
With reference to the Speakership election on January 9, Mr Dafeamekpor, in his legal argument quizzed among other things, that “was his [Fomena MP’s] vote not taken when the majority votes to the side of the NDC nominee?”
“What guarantees that in such matters as to determining the national interest of Ghana, he may not from time to time, vote to support the motion of the NDC where secret ballots are allowed to determine such matters?
“Does he, therefore, at such instances, lean towards the NDC Caucus and provide it with majority thereof?” he questioned.
Meanwhile, the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic will resume sitting Friday.
This is the first time the House will reconvene in the chamber after the 7th January’s chaos that saw legislators throw punches and destroy voting materials during the election of a Speaker.