Former Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Rachel Appoh, has jumped to the defence of Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, who has been absent from Parliament for weeks.
Reports suggest that Ms Safo’s last appearance in the Chamber was in December 2021 during the vote by majority MPs to overturn an earlier rejection of the 2022 budget.
Efforts to get her to return to the House for another crucial vote to approve the 1.75% Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) Bill also proved futile.
Her absence has triggered rumours that she is sabotaging the governing party.
Consequently, there are ongoing moves by the governing NPP party and the majority in parliament to trigger processes for her seat to be pronounced vacant.
However, the former MP for Gomoa Central believes that singling out Adwoa Safo is unfair when most NPP MPs are not always in the chamber.
“Is she the only MP who has not been regular in parliament? I don’t think so. It is not easy being a young politician in Ghana. A similar thing was done to me. So, instead of chastising her, let us pray for her because it is not easy,” she said in a viral video.
Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 17 of the Standing Orders of Parliament state emphatically: “A Member shall not absent himself during a meeting for more than fifteen sittings without the permission in writing of the Speaker. Any member infringing this Order shall have his conduct referred to the Privileges Committee.”
According to reports from the House, the Gender Minister has exceeded the 15-day rule.
Her colleague MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, alleged that she was refusing to return to parliament because the party is yet to meet her demand of giving her the deputy majority leader position.
Explaining the long absence of the lawmaker, Mr Blay said: “I know that she asked for a period off to take care of some health issues and so let’s not make any hasty decisions. We must appreciate the situation she also finds herself in,” he said.