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Be Tolerant, Not A Tyrant – Muntaka Barks Bagbin

by Isaac Mintah

Minority Chief Whip in Parliament, Hon Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka has picked a political “beaf” with the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, for becoming a tyrant according to the chief whip.

He accused, the Speaker was off late making the parliamentary chamber a palace by increasingly becoming intolerant to disagreement.

He lamented, I am sorry to say this. When you want to turn the Chamber of Parliament into a palace, then you become a tyrant. He is becoming a tyrant.

You are not a chief; you are supposed to be the Speaker of Parliament, and a Speaker listens to both sides patiently even where there is a disagreement, and that is the essence of democracy, to sometimes even agree to disagree.

Mr. Muntaka, who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Asawase, in the Ashanti Region stated on JoyNews that, “But when you personalize it and make it to look as if a disagreement is a disrespect to you or is an affront to you or it’s like denigrating you, then I’m sorry, you will be a bad Speaker.”

He was registering his disappointment with the setting up of an ad-hoc committee that investigated the issues contained in the censure motion against Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

Muntaka the former sports minister openly demonstrated disagreement with the Bagbin on the floor of the House as he exchanged words with him during the setting up of the committee.

According to him, though Mr. Bagbin remains his favourite Speaker, his predecessor, Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye was better at building consensus during his tenure.

He called the ad-hoc committee that investigated issues in the censure motion as a kangaroo committee, adding it was an unnecessary process.

He believes Mr Bagbin acted beyond his powers when he created the eight-member committee to probe the censure motion.

The MP hinted the Standing Orders of Parliament does not allow the Speaker to create an ad-hoc committee when a member of the House has not proposed so.

He emphasized, That committee was not necessary. Our Standing Orders are very clear and I encourage you to read 106 of our Standing Orders. It is a member who would say that maybe where we have reached in the debate, can we set up a committee to look at the details and report, not for a Speaker to unilaterally refer the thing to a committee and set up a committee to do that.

He said such a proposal could have come from a member of the Majority Caucus, adding, “As at the time when the decision was taken, we were 135 and they were 77.

So, if any member on their side had moved for such a committee to be set up, it would have been defeated because it would have been a decision of the House where we’ll vote.

He instigated where the Standing Order is clear on any issue, the Speaker has no discretion or authority to do anything on the contrary.

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