We Will Teach You to Respect Article 106 – Haruna Idrissu to Majority Leader
The Minority Leader of Parliament, Haruna Idrissu has expressed the disappointment of his side about how the Majority Leadership of the House handled the details of the Business of the day, demanding that the Majority side respects the tenets of Article 106 of the constitution.
He indicated that the Majority Leader added the Report of the joint Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Communications on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill, 2018, without proper communication and access to the report.
He said subsequent to the laying of the Report of the Committee, members of the House did not have sufficient copies of the Report, and “this does not help our work”, he added; indicating that the Minority side will take their counterparts though the rudiments of Article 106 of the constitution at all times.
He indicated that Article 106 of the constitution demands that any bill being introduced to the House must satisfy the basic minimum constitutional requirements. He further explained that at the time of laying the RTI bill, there was enormous public interest in the legislation, and that it could not be considered as an urgent bill, since there should have been serious consultations with Ghanaians and all stakeholders.
He said the Bill is of serious importance since it would enhance accountability and transparency, hence should not be hurriedly pushed through without the needed attention.
He however pledged the support of the House to the African Free Trade Area Agreement since he sees it as a great breakthrough for Africa, indicating that the first President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah would be smiling in his grave wherever he is, since it was his dream to have a united Africa with intra-trading bond.
On his part, the Majority Leader and Leader of government Business of the House, who also doubles as the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs rebutted the assertion by the Minority Leader by indicating that when a bill is presented to a committee of the House under certificate of urgency, it does not necessarily mean that the business of the day must be concluded in one day, backing it with Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House. Order 119 states that “Where it is determined and certified by the appropriate committee appointed by the House that a particular bill is of urgent nature, the bill may be introduced without application, and copies of the bill shall be distributed to Members and MAY be taken through all the stages in one day”.
He said since the Order did not say SHALL be taken through one day, there is not restriction on the number of days it can be used, hence the two day emergency sitting.
Welcoming Members to the House, the Speaker of Parliament indicated that the Agreement because of which the House was recalled was of great importance to the development of the country, and that time was of essence also.
By: Frederick E. Aggrey