NPP asks Speaker Bagbin to remain impartial as it maintains majority
The Majority Group in Parliament, made up of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Independent MP, have maintained that they form the Majority Caucus in Parliament, and its leader is the Majority Leader of the House.
Accordingly, they expect their colleagues from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to respect the position, even if it’s one person that gives them the supremacy in terms of numerical strength.
Additionally, they called on the Speaker, Alban Bagbin to hold this view as such so that there would be consistency in how they are addressed.
At the press conference on Wednesday, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu insisted that he was the Majority Leader; and the NPP Side, with the Independent MP, Mr Andrew Asiamah Amoako is the Majority Caucus.
The Majority Leader was not happy with the position of the NDC Caucus on the Speaker’s declaration of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Independent MP as constituting the Majority Caucus.
He was also not happy with the NDC MPs position on the subsequent sharing of equal seats on the Appointments and Business Committee, which were to be chaired mostly but NPP MPs.
“He must be Father for All”, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu said, in an apparent reference to the Speaker’s background as a former Member on the side of the opposition NDC.
Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, Deputy Majority of the NPP Caucus, argued that per the rules of the House there were only two sides the Majority and Minority and that the Majority Leader becomes the leader of the House.
He recalled in 2009 the issue of who constituted the majority or minority was put to the test by Ms Yaaba Nkrumah, who was then CPP member for Jomoro and took the position that she never wanted to be on either side.
He said Mr Alban Bagbin, then the Majority Leader of the NDC, in arguing invited the Speaker, Justice Joyce Bamford Addo to rule under the provisions of the Standing Orders which required MPs to be part of a caucus and accordingly, Ms Nkrumah opted to be with the minority caucus.
Mr Afenyo-Markin also argued on January 7, 2009, at the time MPs were being sworn-in the NDC as the party had 114 as against NPP’s 107 seats with one independent joining to make 108 while the NDC was joined by PNC and independents MPs to get 116 seats making them the majority caucus.
He said at the time the fact that PNC and independent MPs opted to join them, the NPP did not argue over the issue but sat at the left-hand side of the Speaker and accorded the NDC and its allies the due that they form the majority.
“So, we find it very difficult to appreciate the sudden wavery and inconsistency on who is majority and majority group….Our Standing Orders are clear, our practice and conventions have fortified the position of the Standing Orders.”
Mr Afenyo-Markin, said his colleagues at the opposite side of the House as people with “obstructionist agenda,” adding, “…NDC is full of mischief, and wants to frustrate Government business.”
With new Ministers of State yet to be announced following the last general elections, which the NPP won and their vetting yet to take place, the NPP Caucus said “it’s obvious that NDC does not want Ministers to be approved hence their actions.
Mr Afenyo-Markin said the NDC MPs are trying to “to forcefully have equal representations” on The Appointment and Business Committees on 138-137 ratio which translate into 50-50”.
On Tuesday, 19th January 2021, NDC NPP opposed the Composition of Appointments Committee saying that they as “the majority” needed more people on the Committee but they have lost the debate through voice vote.
Also, the NPP MPS were not happy with a statement by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, for wishing would-be government appointees well as they prepare for the public hearing of the Appointment Committee in the coming days.