The Minority Members of Parliament have criticized the 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu to have contradicted himself and an attempted to undermine the Standing Orders of the House.
Minority caucus in Parliament explained that, the 1st Deputy Speaker wants to take the law into his own hands just to satisfy his political party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the passage of the controversial E-levy.
Voting of Deputy Speakers in Parliament during proceedings has been in a serious contention since the commencement of discussions and approval of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy presented by Ken Ofori-Atta to the 8th Parliament of Ghana.
Some commentators believe that, Deputy Speakers or any Member of Parliament elected to preside in the Chair has a voting right meanwhile, some disagreed with the position.
In addressing the subject matter on the floor of Parliament during the motion for rescission of approval of the 2022 Budget Statement on 1st December, 2021, Hon. 1st Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu has explained his side of the subject matter.
According to him, “Hon Members when it comes to the question of voting, it is very clear. Anytime any of the Deputy Speakers or any other Hon Member elected to preside is in the Chair, that Hon Member does not vote; that has never been in dispute. Anytime an Hon Member presides either the Deputy Speaker or an Hon Member by necessity is elected from among Hon Members, that person does not vote”
His explanation is contained in the Parliamentary Hansard of 1st December, 2021, Columns 81 and 82
It is rather unclear to the minority Members of Parliament, especially, the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampam Hon. Samuel Nartey George, who, in an interview detailed what transpired in Parliament to Mr. Evans Mensah of JoyNews as to why the 1st Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu after his earlier explanation would make a U-turn to cast a vote during a vote of Division to pass the E-levy under a certificate of urgency.
It appears to many that, Joseph Osei-Owusu’s attempt to cast his vote contradicts his earlier explanation to defend his position on the meaning of quorum and voting.
His action, according to the Minority has lead to fisticuffs or fight on the floor of Parliament between the Minority MPs and Majority MPs as he left the seat he was presiding over for the second Deputy Speaker to preside in the Chair to pave way for him to cast his vote.
POSITION OF VOTING IN PARLIAMENT
According to the Parliamentary Standing Orders;
1. Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, matters in Parliament shall be determined by the votes of the majority of members present and voting, with at least half of all the members of Parliament present.
2.The Speaker shall have neither an original nor casting vote.
3. Where the votes on any motion are equal it shall be taken to be lost.