Second Deputy Speaker in Parliament, Andrew Asiamah Amoako, has said the kind of democracy Ghana is practicing is far better than military dictatorship.
At least, he said, people are allowed to speak their mind and also disagree on issues but still live in harmony with one another, a situation he said helps the democracy.
He was speaking regarding the pandemonium that occurred in Parliament during a debate on the 2022 budget statement at a ceremony to welcome some Austrian legislators to Ghana’s Parliament legislature, on Thursday December 2.
The Independent Lawmaker for Fomena said “You might have heard, we are going through the process of approving the budget for the ensuing year which is 2022 calendar year from January 1st to 31st December 2022.
“Ghana’s Parliament has equal stands in terms of the two main parties so the approving the debate has become an issue. You might have probably heard what is going, it is all part of the democracy. We hope we will co-operate and get the budget through so that we will be able to carry on government business next year.
“We are on it, we are proud of the democracy we are practicing. We are talking, everybody is talking. Whether it is good or bad we are entertaining it and that is the best way to go. We prefer this than allow somebody to pick a gun that, he knows everything and puts the democracy that we are practicing aside. So we will welcome any suggestion that will improve the democracy that we are practicing.”
Some lawmakers have indicated that Ghana’s democracy is currently at the crossroads following the developments that characterized the approval of the budget.
For instance, Member of Parliament of North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said in a tweet that “this is the time for leadership – a listening, caring, sensitive and bridge-building that takes the country away from the edge of the precipice.”
There was chaos that occurred in Parliament on Wednesday December 1 following the approval of the 2022 budget statement.
On that day, there was a heated debate between the Majority and Minority lawmakers in Parliament over the approval of the 2022 budget statement by Parliament without the Minority.
The Minority had moved a motion to set aside the approval of the budget.
Their Leader, Haruna Iddrisu in moving a motion to overturn the approval said 137 lawmakers of the Majority could not have taken a decision.
He said they don’t consider Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Wusu (Joe Wise) who deliberated over proceedings yesterday, as Member of Parliament at the time he was sitting in as speaker hence that leaves the number present at 137.
His motion was supported by Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga who pleaded with the First Deputy Speaker to set aside the approval.
However, in a sharp rebuttal, Damongo MP and Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, quoting from the Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament defended and justified the approval of the budget.
“Mr Speaker, the approval of the budget was legal, it was appropriate, it was constitutional. You needed half of the members to take the decision and that decision is binding and standing,” Abu Jinapor said amidst cheers from his colleagues.
It is recalled that immediately after the approval of the budget on Tuesday, Haruna Iddrisu said that the Majority did not have the numbers to enable them approve the 2022 budget statement.
He said at a press conference in Parliament that as of the time the Majority were taking the decision to approve the budget, they were 137 and not 138.
“The precedent they are setting will haunt them in the future. At the time that they were taking the decision the house was not 137.”
They further rejected the assurance by the Finance Ken Ofori-Atta that their concerns in the 2022 budget would be addressed at the committee level.
Haruna Iddrisu said that they wanted their concerns captured in the original budget statement, not to be discussed at the committees’ sittings.
“If you are acknowledging and admitting that there were concessions, let it reflect in the statement,” and not a meeting at the committee level.
He further stated that the Minority will oppose to the E-levy proposal in its current any day and anytime.
“We don’t support the E-levy in its current. Our point is to revise it to take care of the ordinary people.”