Censure Motion: Bagbin Was Fair – Minority

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Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin
Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament has lauded Speaker Alban Bagbin for the wise way he handled the Censure Motion against Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, in his remarks after the Speaker’s declaration of the results of the ballot on the motion, said the Speaker had guided the House so well as a novelty in the exercise of Parliamentary oversight.

“Mr Speaker, history will remember you that this was your contribution to the exercise of Parliamentary oversight – to hold the Executive accountable,” he said.

The Minority Leaders said despite the failed attempt to censure Mr Ofori-Atta, those in authority would know that Parliament could hold them accountable and, hence, live up to their responsibilities.

The Censure Motion was moved by Mr Iddrisu and seconded by Mr Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, the Minority Chief Whip, against the finance minister, for alleged mismanagement of Ghana’s economy on seven grounds.

Mr Iddrisu said his side brought the vote of censure motion because Ghanaians were facing too much economic hardship.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Majority Leader, during the debate, said the Censure motion was filed out of bad faith, which only sought to embarrass the Minister, adding that the Majority would not be part of a process that was “baseless and politically motivated.”

At the end of the debate, the Majority Leader declared that his side was washing their hands off the Censure Motion.

“Mr Speaker, like Pontius Pilate, we wash our hands. We will not be part of this,” he said.

As he demonstrated the washing of his hands, his Deputy, Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, sprayed his (Kyei-Mensah Bonsu’s) hands with sanitizer.

The Majority Leader then led his side out of the Chamber, just before voting started.

The 136 Minority Members voted En bloc in a secret ballot to censure the finance minister, but this failed to meet the constitutional threshold of two-thirds (183) of the 275 Member Parliament.

Article 82 (1) of the 1992 Constitution states that Parliament may, supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members of Parliament, pass a vote of censure on a minister of state.

“Following the terms of Article 82 (1) the vote is accordingly lost,” Speaker Bagbin said.

Mr Iddrisu said if the Majority had not walked out and honoured their earlier promise, they would have saved the country from the current economic hardship.

He said Ghanaians were in support of the Censure Motion and they would know those who proved strong and stood with them in their times of need, adding: “If the President does not want to do a reshuffle, we will do it on his behalf.”

He said the report the House adopted failed to make a finding of facts and any recommendations, adding that going forward, in the interest of accountability, a committee of the stature of an Ad Hoc Committee must be able to relate the words of those alleging against those who want proof, to make a finding of facts and make the appropriate recommendations.

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