Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, Wednesday led his Caucus to walk out of the Chamber of Parliament during the approval stages of the 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
Their walk out was in protest of Speaker Alban Sumana Bagbin’s ruling that a head count be conducted after a voice vote was challenged by the Minority.
When the Speaker put the question for the 2024 Budget approval by a voice vote on two occasions, he expressed his opinion that; “I think the ayes have it.”
That brought Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, the Deputy Minority Leader, to his feet to challenge the Speaker’s decision.
He, then went further to request for a head count.
“..Thank you Right Honourable Speaker, respectfully, I rise on Order 113(2) to call for a head count to challenge your ruling”.
This request was objected to by the Majority Leader and his Deputy, Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, who then reiterated the need for a challenge to the Speaker’s ruling to be raised first before a call could be made for a head count.
The Speaker then explained that he had not given a ruling on the matter and that he only expressed his opinion.
Ghana’ Parliament currently is a hung one, with the ruling NPP having 137 seats in addition to one independent, making a total of 138; while the opposition National Democratic Congress has 137 seats.
The Speaker granted the request of the Deputy Minority Leader for the head count to be carried out.
He further ruled that in conducting the head count, each MP’s name would be mentioned and the fellow would have to stand to be counted.
The Majority side did not agree with this ruling, hence their decision to walk out of the Chamber.
Subsequently, the Speaker suspended the House for about 15 minutes and later returned to adjourn sitting to Thursday, November 30, at 1000 hours.