Minority in Limbo as Parliament is Recalled Under Emergency
The Minority caucus of Parliament has expressed shock at the recalling of Parliament by the speaker from their ongoing recess.
Expressing their difficulty in agreeing to the urgency of the agenda for business, the Minority Chief Whip and Member for Asawase constituency, Hon Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak indicated that he even though the Speaker of the House has the mandate to recall the House under emergency, the Minority is at a loss as to how the agenda for recall could be classified as urgent.
He said this on a popular radio program ‘Eye Witness News’ on Accra based Citi FM with host Umaru Sanda that “it is a little worrying for some of us in leadership, because to recall Parliament about three weeks to Parliament itself coming back is a little worrying, and we all wanted to see what was so urgent that we could be recalled for two days, and unfortunately the only thing the Clerk had had tabled and showed to me is about the ratification by Parliament of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement; and my surprise is that if it about ratification, unless there is something super special about this that we all don’t know, I don’t really see what is urgent about ratification of a continental free trade agreement.
He said the Agreement was done just some few days back Kigali, Rwanda, and the assumption is that they could have waited, adding that “if they are saying two days, I keep asking the Clerk what other things do we have, but as far I am concerned this is so far what they have on hand”. He added that he is aware that Ghana has so many treaties on the table that has not been ratified but none has come up for consideration under such circumstances, adding that “maybe there’s something that is pushing the Executive” to have resulted in this. He said that he does not see any urgency to the agenda put up.
Kate Addo, the Acting Director of Public Affairs of Parliament on her part indicated that the recall of the House is for the urgent consideration and ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which agreement seeks to engender trade among African countries. She revealed that Ghana is fortunate to get the secretariat of the Free Trade Area, and that Parliament had to be recalled to consider and ratify same agreement “in order to set the ball rolling”.
Asked why the Agreement could not wait for three weeks, she indicated that time is of essence, and it is important to get things initiated, especially as Ghana is supposed to host the secretariat, especially as it means Ghana would become the hub of the Trade Area.
The office of the Speaker of Parliament in a correspondence recalling Parliament, dated April 23rd 2018 and titled “RECALL OF PARLIAMENT” indicated that “IN EXERCISE OF THE POWER CONFERED ON THE SPEAKER BY ORDER 42(3) OF THE STANDING ORDERS OF THE PARLIAMENT OF GHANA, I RT HON. PROFESSOR AARON MICHAEL OQUAYE, SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT, DO HEREBY DIRECT THAT PARLIAMENT SHALL NOTWITHSTANDING ANYTHING TO THE CONTRARY, BE RECALLED FROM THE RECESS TO SIT FROM THURSDAY THE 26TH DAY OF APRIL, 2018 TO FRIDAY THE 27TH DAY OF APRIL, 2018 AT TEN O’CLOCK IN THE FORENOON EACH DAY, AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE, ACCRA TO CONSIDER SOME URGENT PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS”, as same was communicated by the Parliamentary Service of the House.
By: Frederick E. Aggrey