The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, has accused the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye of being a threat to Ghana’s democracy saying “Mobutu [Sese Seko] or even Idi Amin will not behave the way he is doing.”
According to Muntaka, the Speaker has on several occasions refused to give the Minority the opportunity to make their views on some issues that come up for discussion on the floor, although they have such rights.
Muntaka made the remark in a Citi News interview today [Friday], March 2, 2018, after the House approved the controversial Legal Profession Regulations 2017 L.I. through a voice vote.
Among notable changes, the Subsidiary Legislation Committee recommended that the Ghana Legal Council should not be allowed to conduct interviews for entrants into the Ghana School of Law.
The Committee, however, said the entrance examinations for admission into the school would continue.
Muntaka had insisted that the House should have done division voting where every Member of Parliament (MP) is given the opportunity to vote the way they wanted, but claims that he was completely ignored by the Speaker.
The LI was drawn up and laid in Parliament on December 22, 2017, in response to the Supreme Court order directing a parliamentary approval for the admission process into the Ghana School of Law and to the Ghana Bar.
Some concerned law students had earlier put pressure on Parliament not to pass the L.I. claiming it was not in the best interest of LLB students and potential lawyers in the country.
The Asawase MP had also opposed the entrance exams as a prerequisite for entry into the Ghana School of Law as captured in the L.I.
Muntaka according to Citi News’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Duke Mensah Opoku, stood on his feet for close to 20 minutes trying to catch the attention of the Speaker to make his point after the approval of the L.I, but was ignored.
According to Duke, Muntaka had wanted to challenge the vote and ask for a procedure of division on the voting of the L.I. but he was not given the opportunity.
Minority members who were also not happy with the issue hooted at the Speaker and chanted loudly in Parliament.
Muntaka in a Citi News interview expressed disappointment in the Speaker, and called on civil society groups to speak against Professor Oquaye’s actions.
“Civil society should be concerned about how the Speaker is conducting himself, it is so terrible. As for listening to us, you have to listen to us and make your ruling. If we want to challenge your ruling we know what to do, but to deliberately, continuously do what he is doing, I think he is a biggest threat to our democracy.”
Muntaka insisted that per Parliament’s Standing Orders “a member has the right to challenge the vote and ask that you [Speaker] should do either a head count or to go for division.”
“It is not for nothing that when we were voting from four years back to three years [SHS system], Paapa Owusu Ankomah knew that they did not have the numbers in the House, but he wanted it to be on the record that when this thing came to the House, this is what happened. That is why sometimes we call for the votes, but the Speaker deliberately just refused to see any of us.”
“The way he is behaving, I think all of us need to be concerned and be very worried about because it is too much unbecoming of the Speaker. As somebody who has written so many books on theory, now he has the opportunity to turn the theory into practical, and he is completely messing up. I doubt whether Mobutu [Sese Seko] or even Iddi Amin will be behaving the way he is doing. It is too shameful that the Speaker continues to do this and disregard the rules of the house,” the Asawase MP added.
I will disrespect you if you dare me – Haruna threatens Speaker
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, had expressed similar sentiments against the Speaker whom he said ignored him when he wanted to make a comment on the Floor of the House.
Haruna Iddrisu threatened to disregard the authority of the Speaker of Parliament if such actions persist.
This followed what he describes as the Speaker’s failure to recognize him when he wanted to make an intervention during the debate on the Special Petroleum Tax last month, February 2018.
“I am sad at the way you have treated me as Minority Leader. I stood up before the Majority Leader. You owe me that courtesy and that respect. Mr. Speaker, even after hearing him [Majority Leader], you have still not decided whether to hear me or not,” he said.