General News Wed, 3 Dec 2003

Absenteeism Forces Parliament To Adjourn Sitting

Only One NPP MP Present
Have the $20,000 Cars Broken Down?

Parliament has adjourned its sitting to Thursday because members in the House during commencement of business could not form a quorum. Only one out of the over 100 Majority NPP members was in the House. Some members on the Minority side had reported for business, but that fell short of the 66 members required to form a quorum.

In accordance with Act 47 of the Parliamentary Code, the Speaker, Peter Ala Adjetey adjourned sitting to tomorrow. This was after members present had waited for 10 more minutes, according to the Act, pending the arrival of more members.

The House reportedly started business as usual with prayers and the Speaker called on members to ask the Minister for Roads and Transport, who happened to be the NPP MP for Bantama in Kumasi questions related to his ministry as scheduled.

But a Member, Silas Mensah raised the issue of quorum based on fact that the House was virtually empty on Majority side. The Speaker noted that normally the House proceeds with its work despite the lack of a quorum but since the issue had been raised, laid down procedures would have to be followed.

Members waited for 10 minutes, but the situation was still the same. The Speaker therefore adjourned sittings till tomorrow. The adjournment comes at the time when the Majority Leader has requested for extended sittings to enable the House to finish its business for the year.

The Speaker and the Members present only got to know that Members of the Majority NPP side were having a caucus meeting outside the premises of Parliament, after the adjournment.

Absenteeism has been a major problem since Ghana returned to parliamentary democracy eleven years ago.

Parliament adjourns due to lack of quorum

Accra, Dec. 3, GNA - Parliament on Wednesday adjourned to Thursday, December 4 after commencement of Public Business due to lack of a quorum for business to be transacted.

After the correction of Votes and proceedings, Mr Kosi Kedem, NDC-Hohoe South, drew the attention of the House to the fact that the composition was not complete and that the Majority side was absent.

Mr Peter Ala Adjetey, Speaker of Parliament, in response said the absence of the Majority should not stop proceedings, saying, the lack of quorum does not prevent the House to go ahead with its business, adding, however, that if Members wish for suspension then they should decide on it.

Mr Samuel Sallas-Mensah, NDC- Upper West Akim intervened to say that there was no quorum in the House and suggested suspension of proceedings and quoted Standing Order 48 (1) that states that the House must have one-third members present to form a quorum.

Mr Ala Adjetey after referring to the Standing Orders called on the Clerks to ring the bell to call in the Members and that after ten minutes if a quorum was not formed the House should be adjourned.

After waiting for the ten minutes grace period without forming the quorum, the Speaker announced that the House be adjourned to tomorrow 4 December.

As at the time of the adjournment, there were only five Members of the Majority and 25 Members from the Minority side.


Source: Joy Online/GNA
Related Articles: