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    Adwoa Safo not ready to serve her constituents; she must step aside for by-election – Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

    Parliamentary Affairs Minister Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has explained that as leader of the majority caucus in parliament, he is convinced beyond doubt that Dome-Kwabenya MP Sarah Adwoa Safo is not ready to serve her constituents in the eighth parliament.

    The minister of gender, child and social protection has been out of Ghana for the past few months.

    She recently told the media that she is in the US taking care of her sick son and would only be back once he is well.

    The majority leader, however, believes his colleague has shown beyond reasonable doubt that she is not ready to serve her people.

    Speaking to Accra-based Okay FM on Friday, 27 May 2022, the Suame MP said: “… She has just shown that she is not ready to serve the party, and, for that matter, the people of her constituency”.

    According to Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, a friend in parliament put in a leave of absence request on behalf of Ms Safo on the blindside of the leadership of the majority caucus.

    He revealed that the person went to the clerk’s office to seek an additional three months’ leave of absence for the Dome-Kwabenya lawmaker to enable her to take care of her sick child in the United States of America.

    She did all that without telling the leadership of the majority caucus in the house, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted.

    In his view, her colleague has allowed her family responsibilities to override her parliamentary duties.

    He, thus, called on Ms Safo to step aside for a by-election to take place so a competent replacement could be got to represent the Dome-Kwabenya constituents.

    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also urged the constituents to dismiss the claims by the MP that she has not been informed about her appearance before the Privileges Committee of Parliament.

    Ms Safo had in an interview on Accra-based Joy News that she was not aware she has been invited or served a notice of appearance by parliament in connection with her scheduled appearance before the Privileges Committee on Friday, 27 May 2022 in connection with her protracted absence from the law chamber without permission.

    “I am not aware such a thing has been given to me”, she told Accra-based Joy News on Thursday, adding: “I am just hearing it from you”.

    “As we speak, I don’t know that I have been invited”, she stressed.

    “I have to be served,” she added.

    She said she will only return home from the United States when he sick son is declared fit and healthy.

    She was billed to appear before the Privileges Committee along with Ayawaso Central MP Henry Quartey and Assin Central MP Kennedy Agyapong.

    The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, had earlier explained to the house that: “I have accordingly come to the irresistible conclusion that a member who absents himself or herself from 16 sitting days of Parliament in a particular meeting, without the permission in writing of the Speaker, falls squarely within the ambit of Article 97, clause 1(c) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 16(1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament”.

    A former Member of Parliament for Kumbumgu Constituency, Mr Ras Mubarak, petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, to enforce Article 97(1)c of the 1992 Constitution by referring some four MPs to the Privileges Committee for absenting themselves for more than 15 days without permission.

    According to the ex-lawmaker, the Standing Orders of Parliament are not clear as to who can or should raise the matter of absenteeism on the floor of the House for a debate and, or referral by Mr Speaker to the Committee on Privileges but it is incidences like this, if unattended to, that threatens Ghana’s democracy.

    Quoting an Afrobarometer data, Mr Mubarak said trust in Parliament has fallen by 12 per cent between 2002 and 2019.

    The report, he said, ranked Parliament as the third corrupt institution in the country – just behind the police and judges.

    “I humbly submit that democracy can only work if Parliament puts the common good ahead of the party and personal interest. At a time of seeming collapse of trust in politics and Parliament as an institution, it is my fervent prayer that the House would rise to the occasion and be united on this matter, so as to uphold our constitution and also win back waned public confidence,” the petition stated.

    The Speaker of Parliament referred the matter to the Committee, following the absence of the MPs for more than fifteen days without permission.

     

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