Following the Supreme Court judgement on Wednesday March 9 permitting a Deputy Speaker to vote in Parliament, Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), has stated that Ghana’s democracy is being put to the test.
“Being a referee and a player at the same time now allowed. I hope Deputy speakers, when presiding, will continue to have the authority and influence they must wield to manage the affairs of the House any time they act as Speaker. Stress test for our democracy,” he tweeted.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court denied an application to declare Joseph Osei Wusu’s act of counting himself for quorum purposes unlawful.
The participation of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament in voting was found to be constitutional by Justice Jones Dotse.
Justice Abdulai, a private legal practitioner and law lecturer, has asked the Supreme Court to declare Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu’s action of counting himself for the purposes of quorum as unconstitutional, following a November 30, 2021 clash between Speaker Bagbin and his First Deputy after the latter overturned an earlier vote of the House rejecting the Government’s 2022 Budget.
He contended that the Deputy Speaker could not include himself for quorum reasons under Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution since he did not have an original or a casting vote as Speaker presiding.
According to reports, the 7-member panel of justices concluded that the Member of Parliament for Bekwai exercised his constitutional right.
The Supreme Court overturned Standing Order 109(3), which stated that while presiding, a Deputy Speaker or any other member may not retain his initial vote.
According to article 104, the Deputy Speaker can be counted during the quorum for decision-making (1)
The full judgement will be released on Friday, March 11, according to Justice Jones Dotse.