Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has brushed off suggestions that he acted in a manner that violates Parliamentary rules.
This was after he described the Speaker of Parliament Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye as a “walking illegality” after the Speaker suspended the House on Saturday, April 4, 2020, instead of adjourning sittings.
After the proceedings, Mr Iddrisu said the Minority’s commitment to the business of the House is unquestionable but they can not support any illegality.
“All I am doing is in defence of Parliamentary democracy, all I am doing is respect for due process and rule of law. We adopted a business statement on March 27, 2020, that the House will adjourn sitting on April 4. No one came with a motion to change that position, if Parliament is suspended in accordance with our standing orders, the mace is not carried away as we witnessed yesterday, that is why I described the Speaker as ‘Walking illegality’. The President himself had indicated in his address to the nation that Parliament is exempt, we are in extraordinary times and the Speaker must respect due process, the Covid situation in Ghana is not comparable to Spain or Italy. We owe it to the Ghanaian people to continue sitting”.
Members of Parliament were supposed to rise sine die (Indefinitely) after Saturday’s sitting but the Speaker citing the current coronavirus health crisis as an excuse rather suspended sittings sine die; a decision that did not go down well with the Minority MPs.
Adjourning sine die meant MPs were on break but with the suspension, they could be called back at any time to deal with any matter that may arise.
“…We are suspending Sitting on this day, and this Honourable House will stand suspended until the Speaker, in consultation with the leadership of the House deem it fit to ask the House to resume sitting. This action is unprecedented but indeed we are living in unprecedented times and the whole Ghana State is in a State of National Emergency,” Prof Oquaye said.
“Hon. Members, we are not rising today but we are suspending sitting indefinitely. If we should rise, then on any emergency where our intervention will be required we may need two weeks notice according to the Constitution and the Standing Orders. Once sitting is suspended we can ask the House to proceed to work in a day or two,” the Speaker explained.
This certainly did not go down well with Haruna Iddrisu who called the Speaker “Walking illegality”.
“Prof. Mike Oquaye…has become a walking illegality and a threat to parliamentary democracy in the country. I will remind him that he is not the House and it is not for nothing that the Standing Orders in Order 42 provide that he (Speaker) should consult the House and not even the leaders [were consulted].”