In 2015, the National Democratic Congress was in power. The party’s candidate Edward Doe Adjaho had been elected Speaker of Parliament, his deputy was Ebo Barton Oduro.
The leader of government business at the time and Majority Leader was Alban Bagbin, the Right Honourable Speaker of the current Parliament.
As a House of records, the Hansard of 2015 presents an incident that involved the three men with respect to the question about quorum requirement.
Then Majority Leader rose to make a submission with Barton Oduro presiding at the time.
Bagbin said: “In the case of headcount, Mr. Speaker shall take the vote of the House by calling upon Members who support or oppose the decision successively to rise on their places.
“A member may vote on a division even if he did not hear the question put by Mr. Speaker, it is important for this to be ironed out clearly. Mr. Speaker, after you have taken the count, it is incumbent on Mr Speaker to announce the results. After that, others can follow but it is unprecedented to defer the results.
“Mr. Speaker, the result will have to be announced for us to know… this is because I believe that we satisfy the Constitutional provision as provided in Article 104 and I will want to read that out.”
After reading the said provision, the Rt. Hon. Speaker today continued, “Mr. Speaker, we are 275 members. Half of that is 138. Mr Speaker, I believe that we are more than 138 …”
Commenting on the submission of Bagbin, Damongo MP and Minister for Lands and Natural Resources celebrated Bagbin’s delivery.
“The Speaker of today who was Majority Leader at that time, who contributed to a debate which related on all fours (exactly as happened today), the Speaker spoke eloquently and eruditely to affirm that you need to satisfy the requirements of Article 104 (1) and indeed he even gives the figure which you require to qualify Article 104,” Samuel Jinapor said.
The issue at hand relates to whether or not a quorum was achieved in the rejection on November 26, 2021, of the 2022 Budget. The Majority walked out of the House claiming bias on the part of Speaker Alban Bagbin.
Yesterday, the Minority stayed out of proceedings and accused the Majority of flouting the rule that required 138 Members to be present to take a decision. The Majority had 137 MPs in the house but the presiding Speaker, Joe Osei Owusu (MP for Bekwai) was also counted making the MPs in the house 138. The Budget was subsequently passed but not after the rejection of last Friday was rescinded.
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