No one ever dreamt or predicted that the Ghanaian voters whether coincidentally or planned will leave the Ghanaian parliament the way it is today with this split number of 137 on both sides of the divide on what used to be majority and minority . Likewise the good framers of the constitution and the parliamentary standing orders may have missed that probability as well, otherwise one would say there should have been guidelines to guide the situation of a hanged parliament which is novel to everyone. That would have avoided the unexpected occurrences with its negative effects on government businesses in this challenging times.
The recent judgement by the supreme court is very well precise and fair based on the available documents which was placed before them reference to article 102 and 104 but this issue paves a way to relook at that position of “a deputy speaker” whether it should be an independent position of neutrality like that of the Speaker so that the deputy speaker can perfectly fill the space of the Speaker during his absence.
There are two ways with which the issue can be approached
One is that there should be a constitutional amendment to elect a second deputy speaker who will be independent in other words who will not belong to any party but will see to the affairs of Parliament when the Speaker of Parliament is indisposed or has traveled on some official assignment to ensure continuity of government business. This will eliminate the matter of controversy of whether or not the deputy speaker should be part of the quorum.
Otherwise our alternative will be to say the speaker of Parliament must not travel in any circumstance so that parliamentary proceedings can continue which to say the least is impossible or if that he is unavailable then suggestively means every proceedings should be put on hold to await his return. This method though not the best would have avoided the impasse between the majority and minority since both sides of the divide is keenly competing for numbers for decision taking.
I can argue from this angle which I seem to agree with the court that if Hon. Joe wise is disenfranchised to vote during decision making at the Parliament during the time he is acting as the speaker then it is a deservice to the people of his constituency who voted for his representation and conversely an advantage to his opponent anytime the speaker is absent.
But respectively I also disagrees on the decision on the grounds that a referee permit me to use a scenario of a football match will need to maintain his neutrality in the whole 90 minutes of play irrespective of his affiliation to a particular team and at no point aid the scoring of a goal to a team by hitting the ball into the goal post because it was nearly missed. Similarly, Hon. Joe wise’ position changes to be that neutral referee the moment he assumes the position of the speaker from the lay man’s point of view.
In drawing summary of this commentary, the point of emphasis is to suggest to our able bodies (Parliament, Judiciary etc) and the Ghanaian populace to massage the possibility of appointing a deputy speaker who will also act as a referee like the Speaker and will not be part of voting on decisions.
Thanks for reading.