Clerk of Parliament kicks out Assin North MP-elect

After almost an hour and a half of dramatic debate on the court order that restrains Assin North MP-elect James Quayson from being sworn-in, the Clerk of Parliament withdrew his recognition for the new legislator.

The Clerk, Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, said that he had been duly served an injunction by the Cape Coast High Court which restrains the MP-elect from holding himself as a parliamentarian.

Challenged by the NDC members of parliament led by Haruna Iddrisu, to produce evidence of the injunction, the Clerk read out a court order signed by Justice Kwadwo Boakye Tawiah on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

According to him, he had received service of the order at 4:55 pm and was bound to carry out the directive.

He stated, “Given the court order, I am unable to recognise James Quayson as the MP-elect” even though his name has been publicised.

This drew wild applause from the NPP side but boos and jeers from the NDC caucus.

But before the Clerk’s decision, the legal brains of the two sides had locked horns over whether an injunction had been served on parliament and the right of Mr. Quayson to be in the House.

The MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, first raised a point of inquiry seeking to know if the Clerk had received the injunction.

But MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak, was quick to his feet insisting that the issue on the Floor was the nomination of persons to be voted as Speaker for which Mr Iddrisu had nominated Alban Bagbin a former MP for Nadowli Kaleo as Speaker.

This degenerated into a verbal brawl between the two sides as they kept shouting at each other, drawing “order, order” from the Clerk.

When he rose to his feet again, the Asawase MP quoted Article 95 of the 1992 Constitution which defines the election of a Speaker from among the members of parliament or from persons who are qualified to be members of parliament.

But Mr. Afenyo-Markin discredited the interpretation and said Mr. Quayson was yet to be sworn-in and therefore not an MP.

MP for Bolgatanga East Dominic Ayine also quoted a provision that stated that an MP, Speaker, or Clerk of Parliament could not be served any court order whiles on their way to Parliament, in Parliament or performing Parliamentary duty.

But again, the Effutu MP Afenyo-Markin, insisted that the constitutional provision has been misinterpreted as it applied to persons (MP, Speaker or Clerk of Parliament) who are directly involved in the court action.

After the back and forth, the Clerk concluded that he needed to abide by the court order hence Mr. Quayson could not be allowed to vote for a Speaker nor be sworn-in.

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