Parliament not your classroom: Muntaka to Speaker
Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak has wondered if Speaker Prof Mike Oquaye sees the chamber as his political science lecture hall and the MPs as his student who cannot question his actions.
Mr Mubarak said this on Class91.3FM’s 505 news programme on Tuesday, 1 August 2017 vis-à-vis the Minority side’s concerns that the Speaker is gagging them in the chamber.
“It is very unfortunate that we have to come to that. Sometime last week, we had virtually about the same kind of problem and raised our concerns on the floor in a very boisterous manner thinking that that will help the Speaker appreciate it and probably call a detailed meeting of the leaders so that we all agree on how to go around things but it’s clear that the Speaker has made his mind.
“In fact, since that Thursday he has shown more, he has even shown he really doesn’t care and he will continue to do as he pleases regardless of the rules of the house and the concerns that the Minority will continue to raise and it’s very unfortunate that as somebody who has written so much about parliament, has been a Member of Parliament before, sometimes I doubt whether he thinks that he is in a political science classroom where he talks to students and nobody will have the right to question anything that he does. I think that doesn’t auger well for our democracy,” Mr Mubarak stated.
His comments come on the back of a walk-out by the Minority on Tuesday. At a press conference, the Minority accused Prof Oquaye of bias.
Their walk-out in protest to what they described as the referral of a motion to the Energy Committee without prior debate. The motion was filed by Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi-Askowa, K.T. Hammond to seek cancellation of the controversial US$510 AMERI power deal signed under the Mahama administration.
Mr Iddrisu said: “We (Minority) had no option than to protest the manner in which he (Speaker) is endangering parliamentary democracy and its practice”.
“Let me place on record to protest against the conduct of the Speaker in referring a motion to a committee of parliament – a motion which has not been debated and a motion for which no decision has been taken.
“This is a house governed by procedure and a house governed by rules and standing orders. Nowhere – and I challenge you to peruse the standing orders and give us basis and justification for the referral,” he argued.
Mr Iddrisu said the current parliament cannot cancel a decision taken by the previous parliament, adding that if there are any issues with the deal, the best place to resolve that will be in court.
The Tamale South MP said a Supreme Court has ruled in a different case sometime back that: “Once parliament gives approval, matters now rest in the realm of the judiciary once there is a contract in force”.
He said the Minority were seeking proper interpretation of the standing orders as to whether one can just get up to rescind a decision taken by a previous parliament.
“The matter the 6th Parliament considered was referred to it by the Executive, we have since not gotten a response to it and the Speaker was not prepared to interpret the standing orders even though he is vested with the authority to do so,” he underscored.
“For the record, our boycott is not because of an Ameri motion but its admissibility and the way he is respecting the rules and the standing orders. How can you refer a motion to a committee of parliament; a motion which has not been debated for which there is no decision and a motion for which the Minority is raising a constitutional, legal objection? The Supreme Court ruled…and we think the appropriate forum is the court.”