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The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, will not be declaring the seat of the three absentee Members of Parliament (MPs) vacant yet.
On Wednesday, 26 October 2022, Mr Bagbin indicated he will not declare the seats vacant without a formal debate on the report submitted by the Privileges Committee.
Delivering his ruling, the Speaker noted: “The preliminary objection for the admissibility of the report is hereby dismissed in limine.”
A former Member of Parliament for the Kumbumgu Constituency, Mr Ras Mubarak, petitioned the Speaker to enforce Article 97(1)c of the 1992 Constitution by referring some four MPs, including Ms Safo, to the Privileges Committee for absenting themselves for more than 15 days without permission.
According to the ex-lawmaker, the Standing Orders of Parliament are not clear as to who can or should raise the matter of absenteeism on the floor of the House for a debate and, or referral by Mr. Speaker to the Committee on Privileges but it is incidences like this, if unattended to, that threatens Ghana’s democracy.
Quoting an Afrobarometer data, Mr. Mubarak said trust in Parliament has fallen by 12 per cent between 2002 and 2019.
The report, he said, ranked Parliament as the third corrupt institution in the country – just behind the police and judges.
“I humbly submit that democracy can only work if Parliament puts the common good ahead of the party and personal interest. At a time of seeming collapse of trust in politics and Parliament as an institution, it is my fervent prayer that the House would rise to the occasion and be united on this matter, so as to uphold our constitution and also win back waned public confidence,” the petition stated.
The Speaker of Parliament referred the matter to the committee.
MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Ayawaso West, Henry Quartey and MP for Dome Kwabenya Sarah Adwoa Safo.
Ms. Safo, however, never appeared before the committee despite several invitations.