Reporters reaching Daily Guide indicate that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has nominated the People’s National Congress (PNC) lone ranger in Parliament, Alhassan Azong, for the position of Second Deputy Speaker.
Joe Ghartey has been nominated by the Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) for that position at the party’s caucus meeting on Wednesday, but the NDC members said they were not going with that selection and rather announced all the three slots with Edward Doe Adjaho as Speaker and Mohammed Mumuni as First Deputy Speaker.
NPP Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who indicated his side had not received any official notification to that effect, told Daily Guide they were unperturbed by such a threat if indeed it was true.
“If it is true and if they think they have the numbers in Parliament, let them go ahead. We are not worried about what NDC intends to do,” Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu pointed out, insisting the NPP would always do what it felt was right.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP-elect for North Tongu in the Volta Region, first dropped the hints of NDC’s decision to block Joe Ghartey’s selection as second Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
According to Mr. Ablakwa, a deputy Minister of Information, a deputy Minister of Information, “the NPP’s complacent disposition towards the election of John Mahama as President automatically makes them an enemy to the state.”
By Convention, the Majority side normally nominated the Speaker and his First Deputy whilst the minority caucus proposes the Second Deputy for election by every new Parliament to chair the affairs of the House.
But the governing NDC said it was going to nominate the PNC Member of Parliament for Builsa North and Minister of State at the Presidency, Alhassan Azong, as the Second Deputy Speaker in addition to the Speaker and the First Deputy Speaker.
The PNC member is the Minister of State in charge of Public Sector Reforms.
This move, according to government spokespersons, was to deny the NPP the third highest position of Legislature because of its refusal to participate in the inauguration of President Mahama on Monday January 7, 2013.
The NPP is challenging the election of President Mahama at the December 7, 2012 poll at the Supreme Court.
NDC’s decision could be a replay of the Fourth Parliament of the Fifth Republic in 2005 when it nominated Peter Ala Adjatey as its preferred candidate for speakership as against the then Majority NPP’s choice of Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes.
In that specific instance, the Majority NPP thought NDC’s proposal was a betrayal of faith that was also against conventional wisdom.
In a swift response, the Majority NPP voted against the choices of NDC for speakership and the Second Deputy Speaker, Ken Dzirasah.
According to Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, MP for Suame, “It has always been that the Majority party will nominate somebody for the position of Speaker and without debate we endorse in spite of the fact that the person may come with his own negatives.”
However, he explained that in 2005, there was a different scenario and “the agreement was broken when they (NDC) felt they did not benefit in any way from second deputy speakership of Honourable Ken Dzirasah and therefore did not care and went ahead to do what they did.
“I think thereafter we have moved on. If they want to bring us back to the dark days, that’s their cup of tea even though I don’t think that is the best in our democratic experiment. Parliament has always worked with consensus and that is the path I think we have to take.
“I have not had any formal communication to what NDC is reportedly proposing but let’s see what coming events would unfold in the next few days. Who knows this may be a mere threat,” the Minority Leader said.
Source: Awudu Mahama/Daily Guide
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