Bagbin’s ruling on Adwoa Safo unfortunate, we’ll challenge it – Majority Leader

Source The Ghana Report

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has registered his disagreement with the Speaker of Parliament’s decision to direct the house to debate the fate of Dome Kwabenya Member of Parliament (MP), Sarah Adwoa Safo and two other legislators over absenteeism.

According to him, the Speaker erred in referring the matter back to the house.

“I totally disagree with the ruling. It doesn’t sit with the constitution, and I must express my discomfort with this unfortunate ruling that has been made because it is very inconsistent. We will come back with a substantive motion to challenge the ruling”, Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said on the floor of the House right after the ruling.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, gave clearance for a report from the Privileges Committee on three absentee Members of Parliament to be tabled and debated in the house.

“As I have noted in this ruling, the decision as to whether or not to admit a motion is the exclusive preserve of the Speaker. In view of the foregoing, the House is well within its rights to receive and consider the report of the Committee and make a determination arising out of the recommendation.

In the circumstances, it is my ruling that the motion was rightfully admitted, and the report of the Committee is subject to the consideration of the House,” he ruled.

But addressing the press shortly after the ruling, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the decision is detrimental to parliamentary business.

He argued that the ruling of the Speaker should have been based on the report of the Privileges Committee.

“I am insisting that the Speaker is totally wrong in his understanding of the Constitution. He has taken us on an obsequious journey that is not helpful to the growth of Parliament. The matter doesn’t rest with plenary.”


The issue of absenteeism came to light after a former MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, petitioned the Speaker in March 2022.

Mr. Mubarak cited four MPs: Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo; Ayawaso Central MP, Henry Quartey; MP for Ahanta West, Ebenezer Kojo Kum; and Assin Central MP, Ken Ohene Agyapong.

He said the MPs had flouted provisions of Article 97 (1) (c) of the Constitution and Parliament’s Standing Order 16 (1), which frowns on members absenting themselves for 15 sitting days without permission from the Speaker.

Per Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution, a Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat “if he is absent, without the permission in writing of the Speaker, and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges from fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet.”

Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin subsequently referred the three MPs to the Privileges Committee.

Committee’s Report

Before going on recess in July, Mr. Bagbin deferred his ruling on whether the Dome-Kwabenya seat should be declared vacant or not following Adwoa Safo’s failure to honour an invite by the Privileges Committee on her continuous absence from Parliament.

On 13 July 2022, Parliament’s Privileges Committee, after completing its probe, decided to let the entire House determine the fate of Ms. Safo.

The Committee indicated that on three different occasions, Ms. Safo failed to honour a zoom invitation to explain her absence from Parliament.

The Majority caucus wanted her seat to be declared vacant but this was opposed by the Minority, who felt she should be heard first.

In the case of the other absentees, the Committee, by a 15-12 majority decision, determined that the excuse from Assin Central MP Kennedy Agyapong and Ayawaso Central MP Henry Quartey was tenable and, thus, they should not lose their seats.

“With Kennedy Agyapong, there were 15 votes against 12, likewise Henry Quartey. In Adwoa Safo’s case, the chair of the Committee said since she had never appeared before us, we did not vote. We have thus decided to hand her over to Parliament to determine her fate,” a member of the Committee and MP for Akwatia, Henry Boakye-Yiadom, revealed.


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