The founder of the Danquah Institute (DI), Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has said First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joe Osei-Owusu, did not vote on the 2022 budget on Tuesday, 30 November 2021.
According to Mr Otchere-Darko, Mr Osei-Owusu was only counted as present in the house in his capacity as the MP for Bekwai and did not need to vote because once half of the members of parliament were present, only the majority of that number needed to vote.
Mr Otchere-Darko explained this in a tweet shortly after the budget was approved and some Ghanaians raised questions about whether or not the Majority had the numbers to legally approve the budget, as the First Deputy Speaker was sitting in for Speaker Alban Bagbin who is in Dubai for medical review.
“No, Minority Leader, the Deputy Speaker today [Tuesday, 30 November 2021] did not vote”, Mr Otchere-Darko argued, explaining: “He was only counted as present in the House in his capacity as MP for Bekwai and he did not vote and needn’t vote because once half of members are present only the majority of that number needed to vote ‘aye!’”..
No, Minority Leader, the Deputy Speaker today did not vote. He was only counted as present in the House in his capacity as MP for Bekwai and he did not vote and needn’t vote because once half of members are present only the majority of that number needed to vote “aye!”
— Gabby Otchere-Darko (@GabbyDarko) November 30, 2021
Meanwhile, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has expressed disappointment in Mr Osei-Owusu’s conduct.
“The Majority say they respect the Constitution and the standing orders of the house. Today, I am particularly disappointed in the conduct of the First Deputy Speaker having to include himself and to exercise himself in order to meet their mandatory defined 138 without recourse or respect to the standing orders and the 1992 Constitution; standing order 109 is on voting”, Mr Iddrisu complained to journalist right after the passage of the budget.
The Minority Caucus boycotted the sitting.
Prior to voting on the budget, Mr Osei-Owusu also set aside the earlier rejection of the budget during Friday’s sitting which had Mr Bagbin presiding over the business of the house.
He said Mr Bagbin erred by allowing 137 Minority MPs to vote on the budget on Friday.
“My attention has been drawn to the record, page 10 of the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, which showed that the confirmed number of the Members of Parliament at the time the question was presented was less than half of the Members of Parliament”.
“Records show that 137 members were present”.
“That is less than half of the full Members of Parliament”, he said.
He noted: “Article 104 and our standing order clearly spell out the process of decision-making in the house”.
“It clearly states that a question shall not be put on any matter unless at least half of the members are present in Parliament.”
“The Speaker appeared not to have paid attention to the Constitution and procedural provision”.
“I’m certain that given his expertise, he would not have made this error if his attention was drawn to it”.
“The consequence of this unfortunate error is that it is void and inconsequential since it was done in violation of Article 104 (1) of the constitution.”