Supreme Court to decide on whether deputy speakers can vote in Parliament on March 9
The apex court has slated March 9, 2022 to rule on whether or not a deputy speaker presiding over the business of Parliament can be counted for the purposes of quorum, or can vote on an issue before the House while presiding.
This comes amid brewing tension between the Speaker Alban Bagbin and the First Deputy, Joseph Osei-Owusu, where the latter has overturned the Speaker’s ruling on two occasions.
In the first instance, last year, the first deputy speaker, Joe Osei-Owusu, who is also the MP for Bekwai, overturned an earlier vote of the House rejecting government’s 2022 Budget.
The Bekwai MP in overturning the earlier decision counted himself during the vote, much to the displeasure of members of the minority.
This led to chaos in the chamber as both sides exchanged blows.
On Tuesday, February 22, 2022, the First Deputy Speaker once again ruled to dismiss a motion that had already been admitted by the Speaker, Alban Bagbin for a bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry to probe government’s COVID-19 Expenditure.
A private legal practitioner, Justice Abdulai is praying the Supreme Court to pronounce as unconstitutional, Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu’s action of counting himself for the purposes of quorum.
He argued in the context of articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution that the Deputy Speaker was not permitted to count himself for the purposes of quorum, since he had neither an original nor a casting vote as Speaker presiding.
Justices Jones Dotse as Court President, Nene Amegatcher, Prof. Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Clemence Honyenuga and Yoni Kulendi, all Justices of the Supreme Court will rule on the matter on March 9, 2022.