• Sun. Aug 7th, 2022

Court gave a unanimous verdict, Bagbin’s ego bruised – Sulley Sumbian on Dep. Speakers voting

Sulley Sambian, the Secretary of the New Patriotic Party in the North-East Region, has said that Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin’s ego has been injured by the Supreme Court’s decision that Deputy Speakers can vote while presiding.

He believes the Speaker should take some time to consider the quorum judgment he made.

“The fact that the court’s decision is unanimous should scar the Speaker’s ego,” he said, “but it should also give him some time to reflect on the quorum ruling he issued,” he added.

He also queried why the Speaker would attack Akufo-Addo for expressing his opinion on the matter in a Facebook post.

“So why the Speaker would descend on the president for expressing a view on the verdict befuddles me, and can only smack of the speaker’s intolerance of opposing opinions, a growing impression he must not let to develop and take root,” he continued.

Sulley Sumbian’s remarks follow the Speaker’s replies to the Supreme Court’s declaration that a Deputy Speaker of Parliament presiding over Parliamentary proceedings has the right to be counted in decision-making and to vote.

In a Facebook post, the Speaker instructed Justice Abdulai, the petitioner who requested that the voting rights of Deputy Speakers be determined, to submit for a review after a Supreme Court verdict. “The topic at hand is the doctrine of the political question. It took decades to elucidate the strands of this philosophy, and the principles governing when and how this closed book may be opened have been established. Please, I urge the Plaintiff to seek a judicial review of the Supreme Court’s decision,” Bagbin said.

However, Sulley Sumbian, a lawyer, has replied to the Speaker’s remark.

Below is his Facebook post

The law as I have often understood it to be, and within the context of the issue at hand is that, the question of quorum is a question of law. I have also understood the legal principle that it is the duty of the court to say what the law is.

Indeed, the Supreme Court of the USA since 1803, in the celebrated case of MARBURY V. MADISON had this to say about the duty of the court:

“It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department (the supreme court in this context) to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity expound and interpret the rule. If two laws conflict with each other the court must decide on the operation of each”

Let me just leave the Supreme Court of the USA out of this and look at the conduct of the Rt. Hon. Speaker.

Granted the president wasn’t even president, I think one person who has been widely reported on landmark constitutional law cases is Nana Addo. Those who have sat in constitutional law classes will not argue about this. The other day Paul Adom Otchere mentioned just two of such cases.

So why the Speaker would descend on the president for expressing an opinion on the verdict frankly beats my mind, and can only smack of intolerance of divergent opinions by the speaker, a creeping impression he must not allow to fester and gain roots

Again, the fact that it is a unanimous verdict of the court admittedly should bruise the speaker’s ego, but that should equally give him some time to reflect on the ruling he rendered on the issue of quorum.

I also have a fair understanding of the political doctrine question espoused in quite a number of cases in the USA. I think the call for the Supreme Court of Ghana to consider the issue of quorum was a call in the right direction. The 8th parliament is an almost split one. The need for interpretation of Articles 102 and 104 came at the right time. At least we would not be experiencing the ugly scenes and fisticuffs in parliament on the interpretation of these articles when Speaker travels to Dubai in the future ????

Please tolerate my “nonsense”. It’s done in good faith sir.

A word to a wise speaker…

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