• Parliament is divided over the attempted arrest of a sitting MP
• The Majority and Minority have clashed over the Speaker’s refusal to release the MP to Police CID
• But this is just the latest in a series of clashes between the two sides
The raging tussle between the Ghana Police Service and Parliament has exposed faultlines between the two caucuses in the lawmaking chamber.
Thursday, November 4, 2021; saw a battle of statements from the leadership of both sides of the house. First from the Majority Group accusing the Speaker of Parliament of not following existing procedure when he refused a Police CIP request to question a sitting MP over his role in some alleged criminal offenses.
Then came the reply from the Minority Caucus, which statement was signed by the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, in which he accuses the Majority of essentially seeking to undermine the authority of the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Babgin.
At the heart of the exchanges is a bid by the Police to interrogate MP for Madina Francis-Xavier Sosu in the aftermath of a protest he organized on October 25 in parts of his Constituency.
The police say events that characterized the said protest – which they had granted permission for – required that they question the MP. After two failed ‘arrests’ – one they said was an invitation and another they denied – they have filed a case at the court.
The MP is facing two charges of unlawful blockade of a highway and destruction of public property in the aftermath of a protest he led against bad roads in parts of his Constituency.
But this is not the first time the caucuses in the 10-month-old 8th Parliament have been split sharply. GhanaWeb looks back at four other instances.
Majority or no Majority? Designation of causus name
The issue of whether or not there was a majority in the Parliament came up in the early days when it turned out that there were 137 MPs on both sides of the house and one independent occupying the 275 seats in the house.
Eventually, it took a ruling by Speaker Alban Bagbin to clarify that whiles there was no clear Majority, the New Patriotic Party, NPP, will go with a ‘Majority Group’ label because the independent candidate had agreed to work with them and with that, the National Democratic Congress will remain the ‘Minority.’
Probe into 2020 electoral deaths
One of the main issues that topped the agenda early in the life of this Parliament was a dogged push by the NDC to have the house probe the deaths that resulted in the aftermath of the 2020 General Elections.
But the NPP caucus whiles agreeing with the issue in principle categorically stated that they will not go with the Minority’s request as had been presented. They insisted that the probe be opened to cover all post-election incidents that have happened under the fourth Republic.
First walkout over tree planting vs approval of deputy ministers
In July, the Minority MPs staged a walkout when four Deputy Ministers designate were to be approved by Parliament.
They explained that, their members on the Appointments Committee did not take part in the vetting of the nominees because the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin had declared “no-sitting day” due to the national tree-planting exercise.
The Majority MPs, however, went ahead with the approval of the Ministers. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu in reaction stated that, it was important for the Right Honourable Speaker, Alban Bagbin to consult leadership before giving such directives as ordering all MPs to go tree-planting and declare July 11 a no-sitting day.