The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin says President Akufo-Addo’s comment on the Supreme Court ruling affirming voting rights of Deputy Speakers will only worsen the rift between Parliament and the Executive.
This follows an interview by the President in which he defended the decision of the apex court and added that it didn’t amount to judicial inference in the work of Parliament.
According to him, the suggestion that Parliament is beyond the scrutiny of the Supreme Court is to suggest that Parliament is a law unto itself.
“I’m not sure people who are saying this have actually taken the time to read the Constitution of our country. It says so in black and white. The legislative powers of the State, which is vested in Parliament, are subject to the Constitution’s provisions.”
“All organs of the Ghanaian State, including me as the Head of the Executive, we are all subject to the teachings of the Constitution,” the President said.
He continued, “There is nobody in the Ghanaian State that is above the fundamental law of the land. It will lead to the very matter that we have striven so long to avoid – the concentration of unregulated power in our state – we don’t want that. And we brought about this Constitution to allow that to not reoccur.”
But Mr Bagbin has described those comments as myopic and unfortunate saying the Supreme Court’s decision is not only absurd “but a reckless incursion into the remit of Parliament.”
“I have resisted the temptation of making a comment on the judgment of the Supreme Court on the issue of the voting rights of Deputy Speakers when presiding. But the unfortunate and myopic comment of the President has compelled me to let it out. The SC decision is, to say the least, not only an absurdity but a reckless incursion into the remit of Parliament.”
“The trend of unanimity is equally troubling. It doesn’t help explore and expand our legal jurisprudence. The President’s comment is myopic and unfortunate. It only goes to worsen the schism between the Executive and Parliament. The impartiality of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker or Presiding Officer has been treasured and fought for by this country throughout our democratic development.”
“Mr President, the issue being discussed is not about Parliament being above the law. Everyone knows that Parliament is not above the law. The Executive and the Judiciary are equally not above the law. The issue being discussed is the political question doctrine. It took centuries to detail out the strands of this doctrine and the principles are settled as to when and how this closed book could be opened.”
“Please, I encourage the Plaintiff to go for a review,” he urged in the statement issued on Friday, March 11, 2021.