• Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

Supreme court ruling on Deputy Speakers’ right to vote ‘constitutionally correct’ – H. Kwasi Prempeh

Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, has welcomed the Supreme Court decision affirming the ability to vote of Deputy Speakers of Parliament.

In a statement on the subject, he called it “a constitutionally correct decision, regardless of one’s political feelings about the outcome.”

The ruling was made in a lawsuit brought by Justice Abdulai, a law professor, who was opposing the decision of the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, to count himself for a vote on the budget.

Mr. Osei-Owusu defended his key vote in the ratification of the 2022 budget, despite the fact that he was presiding as Speaker at the time.

Despite the fact that deputy Speakers have never voted in Parliament, Prof. Prempeh argues that “the continuity of a practice does not cloak such practice with constitutionality.”

“The validity of a practice, no matter how long-standing, cannot be established or presumed until and unless it is challenged in a proper constitutional case.” As a result, the fact that this has always been the way Parliament has done business isn’t a solid enough reason from a constitutional standpoint.”

Prof. Prempeh also believes that the Deputy Speakers’ impact in the debate has been exaggerated.

“Presiding does not constitute enough of a conflict of interest to force a Deputy Speaker to abstain from voting, especially if he or she is obligated by House rules to vote last or only vote when there is a tie.”

Prof. Prempeh offered as a possible solution to the parliamentary controversies that “if we don’t want presiding Deputy Speakers to vote, the solution is simple: don’t allow them be MPs.” Make them like the Speaker; they won’t be able to vote since they aren’t MPs.”

“As long as presiding Deputy Speakers are elected to represent communities of voters in Parliament, Parliament cannot reasonably deprive them of their right to vote simply by virtue of presiding over a sitting of Parliament.”

Despite this, Prof. Prempeh claims that his idea does not require a constitutional revision.

“There’s nothing wrong with both Deputy Speakers remaining MPs and voting when they preside.” This is why the Constitution requires that the first and second Deputy Speakers come from opposing political parties.”

“That way, each of the opposing parties in Parliament will have one Deputy Speaker, and both of them will be able to vote when they preside,” he continued.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.