The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has advised the former Member of Parliament for the Fomena constituency in the Ashanti Region, Andrew Amoako Asiamah to contend his removal from Parliament.
Mr. Amoako Asiamah lost in the party’s primaries held in June 2020.
Being unhappy with the turnout of the election, he filed his nomination to contest as an independent candidate in the December polls.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye on Saturday, November 7, 2020, declared the Fomena seat vacant after the New Patriotic Party (NPP), wrote to him on October 13, 2020, to trigger the provisions of Article 97(1)g.
But in an interview on the Eyewitness News, Mr. Ayariga, who is also a legal practitioner said the decision of Prof. Mike Oquaye is rather unfortunate.
“If indeed the Speaker is giving a purposive interpretation of the article, he must appreciate the fact that the Constitution does not intend to give parties absolute control over their members of Parliament. People get elected to Parliament on a party’s ticket, but they must not be tied to the whims and caprices of that political party. That is exactly what the Speaker has sought to do.”
He urged Mr. Asiamah to ensure that justice is served in the matter.
“I believe that the MP should file an application in court and seek an interim injunction to restrain the Speaker from preventing him from sittings. Already, Parliament is not going to sit for a couple of weeks, so he won’t miss much. If he files tomorrow and gets the court to speak on the matter quickly, he will be allowed to sit, until the Supreme Court declares its final verdict. The Supreme Court is the final point of call when it comes to interpreting the Constitution.”
Speaker of Parliament has no right to declare Fomena seat vacant – Kwaku Azar
Meanwhile, US-based Ghanaian legal practitioner, Professor Kwazu Asare (popularly referred to as Kwaky Azar) says the Speaker of Parliament has no authority to declare the Fomena seat vacant.
According to him, only a high court has the power to do so.
Prof. Kwaku Asare contended that Mr. Asiamah is still legally a Member of Parliament.
“I choose to ride on article 99(1) of the constitution. The article says the high court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any question whether a Member of Parliament or the seat of a member has become vacant, not the Speaker of Parliament, politician, nor political parties. The question itself is a legal question, not a political one.”