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‘Executive and the Judiciary are equally not above the law’ - Bagbin tells Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo and Speaker Alban Bagbin in January 2021

Sat, 12 Mar 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Supreme Court delivers ruling on voting rights of Deputy Speakers

Akufo-Addo celebrates the ruling

John Mahama, Bagbin describe ruling as absurd


Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has directly replied a comment by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to the effect that Parliament was not above the law.

Akufo-Addo in responding to a ruling by the Justice Jones Dotse-led bench that affirmed that Deputy Speakers can vote while presiding dismissed opposition opinion that the apex court had overstepped its powers by interfering in the work of Parliament.

The president in his comments after the ruling stated that not even he (as leader of the Executive) was above the law and that Parliament was not also above the law for which reason dissenters must accept the ruling as handed down.

Bagbin officially responds

On March 11, 2022, Speaker Alban Bagbin issued a statement which he said was motivated strictly by Akufo-Addo’s comment on the issue.

He dismissed talk of Parliament positioning itself as above the law and stressed that nether was the Executive or the Judiciary above the law.

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“The President's comment is myopic and unfortunate. It only goes to worsen the schism between the Executive and Parliament.

“The impartiality of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker or Presiding Officer has been treasured and fought for by this country throughout our democratic development.

“Mr President, the issue being discussed is not about Parliament being above the law. Everyone knows that Parliament is not above the law. The Executive and the Judiciary are equally not above the law.

“The issue being discussed is the political question doctrine. It took centuries to detail out the strands of this doctrine and the principles are settled as to when and how this closed book could be opened,” the statement read.

What Akufo-Addo said

“All organs of the state including me [President Akufo-Addo], as the head of the executive, are subject to the constitution. There is no body or organ in the Ghanaian state that is above the laws of the land.

“To suggest that Parliament should operate without interference is to advocate for the very matter we have tried to avoid, the concentration of power. We have had that experience before and don’t want that,” the President said on Thursday, March 10, 2022.

Background

Following controversy over the rejection and later approval of the 2022 budget by one-sided Caucuses of the 8th Parliament, a private legal practitioner, Justice Abdulai, filed a case against at the Attorney General at the Supreme Court.

He prayed the Court to interpret two Articles - 102 and 104 - of the 1992 Constitution and by so doing to declare the proceedings in Parliament on November 30, 2021, which led to the passage of the 2022 Budget and Economic Policy as unconstitutional.

He specifically cited the fact that the Presiding Speaker, First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, had counted his vote despite acting as Speaker.

However, in defence of the State, the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, argued that there was no express provision in the 1992 Constitution that stops a Deputy Speaker presiding over proceedings from voting or counting himself as part of MPs present to form the right quorum.

The Minority have expressly rejected the decision with Leader Haruna Iddrisu referring to it as repugnant to the provisions in Article 102 and 104.

“The Court’s ruling aptly captures the judicial support for the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy), for a struggling economy in destress,” he said.

“The Judiciary of Ghana is also failing Ghana’s parliamentary democracy in their inability to appreciate the true meaning of Article 110 of the 1992 Constitution that Parliament shall, by Standing Orders, regulate its own proceedings.”

Read the full ruling of the Supreme Court below:

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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