General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has said that he is unhappy with the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin for not declaring the Fomena MP’s seat vacant.
According to him, the Speaker should have declared the Fomena MP’s seat vacant when he wrote to him to do business with the NPP caucus of the House.
In an interview with the state broadcaster, GBC, the chief scribe of the NDC admitted that the minority made a mistake in allowing the Fomena MP, who was in the 7th Parliament on the ticket of the NPP, to become Deputy Speaker.
He stated that they had assumed the MP could not cross carpet in joining the NPP side – a move that would have warranted his seat being declared vacant per precedence in the House.
Asiedu Nketia contended that the MP, who won the 2020 parliamentary elections as an independent candidate, should maintain his independence.
This, he said, would have meant there will neither be a majority nor minority side in House per the numerical strength of both NPP and NDC.
He posited that it was thus ‘problematic’ for the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, to have accepted the Fomena MP’s letter to do business with the NPP side without declaring his seat vacant.
“If you are an independent candidate, the law prevents you from declaring that I belong to this party. And if the Fomena MP says he will join NPP [sic] then the Speaker’s ruling that the must be a majority side so, therefore, there’s somebody called majority leader and minority leader is with all due respect wrong and problematic because you cannot eat your cake and have it.
“He is either an NPP person which makes the NPP majority or he is an independent person in which case there’s no majority in Parliament.
“But they tried to find a formula that on one hand recognizes him as part of NPP, therefore, making [them the majority].
“The Speaker ought not to have accepted that thing [Fomena MP’s letter to do business with NPP side] because the earlier Speaker [Professor Mike Ocquaye] ruled that this man couldn’t be in Parliament when during their primaries, at the latter part of the previous term, he opted to go independent.
“Speaker Mike Ocquaye ruled that because he has opted to go independent, he ceases to be a member of the then Parliament. It’s a ruling in the House there,” Mr. Asiedu Nketia stated.
He continued: “Speaker Mike Ocquaye interpreted the law that debars MPs from crossing carpet and he said that for the fact that the Honorable Asiamah had filed to contest the 2020 elections as an independent candidate, he has left NPP.
“So if he has left NPP then his seat must be declared vacant. I remember he actually drove him from the house or something…the was some drama about it.”
“So it is a ruling by a previous speaker that is still there and is still valid. So if we are to go by precedence, why would you [Alban Bagbin] now accept an application by the same person who has now been elected as an independent candidate to go and do business with the NPP?” Johnson Asiedu Nketia quizzed further.