Majority contend rejection of 2022 budget is unconstitutional
Carlos Ahenekorah snatches ballot papers in the election of Speaker race
Parliament reconvenes today Tuesday, November 30, 2021
The parliamentary results of the 2020 general elections promised a mouth-watering encounter between the majority side and minority side who belong to the two largest political parties in the country – New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) respectively.
The results saw both the NDC and NPP sides secure 137 seats each with one independent candidate in a parliament whose composition is 275 seats. For the first task of the 8th parliament, it was to elect a Speaker of Parliament on January 7, 2021.
Election of Speaker of Parliament
Per convention, the majority always had the privilege of the election of the Speaker but due to the equal numbers in the hung parliament, the NDC side refused to allow that to happen even though the independent candidate had chosen to do business with the NPP side.
Thus, the NDC side presented Alban Bagbin as its nominee for the Speakership position whiles the NPP side chose to retain the speaker of the 7th parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye, as its nominee.
In the process of counting the ballot papers after the voting, MP for Tema West Carlos Ahenekorah with lightning speed rushed to snatch the ballot papers of Professor Mike Ocquaye and attempted to exit the Chamber with it.
This is after the NDC side had begun jubilating in what seemed to be their victory in electing their nominee, Alban Bagbin, to the position of Speaker of Parliament.
Apologizing later for his actions, Carlos Ahenekorah said he did it for the NPP to succeed in controlling the legislative arm of government.
“I did it for the grassroots who relied on us in power to survive, the president who needs some peace to run the country and the greater NPP party as a whole because we cannot always allow the NDC to threaten and vilify us. I apologise though to my family and friends both far and near who may be affected by my actions. The NPP in me couldn’t be controlled. I apologise but I tried!!!” he wrote on his Facebook wall.
Approval of 2022 budget statement
Ten months down the line since the incident happened, the majority caucus in parliament are on their heel again, this time staging a walkout in protest against the Speaker’s “bias” in the application of parliamentary rules during the 2022 budget statement approval stage.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, taking his turn on the floor of parliament on Friday, November 26, 2021, prayed the House to allow him some time to engage the leadership of the house particularly the minority.
Consequently, the Speaker threw the prayer to the House who through a voice vote rejected the request of the minister.
However, deputy majority leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin challenged the Speaker’s ruling, calling for a vote of division.
The Speaker, in triggering the process for vote of division, directed all non-MPs including the finance minister to vacate the Chamber for the process to begin.
This rather infuriated the majority MPs who also demanded that General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who was sitting in the public gallery, to also leave.
Not budging to their request, the Majority stormed out of parliament amid shouting and dramatization on the night.
Majority stages walkout because of Asiedu Nketia’s presence
Parliament in the absence of a majority, voted to reject the 2022 budget statement