The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, has thrown out a motion by the Minority requesting for the approval of the 2022 budget on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, to be set aside.
The request was made by Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, a day after they boycotted proceedings.
He insisted that the processes used for approving the budget on Tuesday were a betrayal of the Standing Orders of Parliament and the 1992 Constitution.
“Mr. Speaker, yesterday [Tuesday], as reported by the votes and proceedings which has been adopted, I’m begging to move that the decision which was taken yesterday [Tuesday] in adopting purportedly a budget statement subject to concessions was unconstitutional and a betrayal of our rules and standing orders and a betrayal of the 1992 constitution.”
But after a lengthy debate on the motion on Wednesday, the First Speaker in his ruling explained that per the Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House, he together with the Second Deputy Speaker are members of Parliament but only assist the Speaker of Parliament when the need arises.
He insisted that he was therefore not wrong in associating himself with the Majority side to approve the 2022 budget.
“I have not heard anything here today [Wednesday] which was not discussed yesterday [Tuesday]. All the arguments today were practically the arguments made yesterday [Tuesday]. There are a few matters which I wish to clarify that first, it must be clear that a Deputy Speaker is not a Speaker. Indeed, article 96(1) of the constitution says, and I quote there shall be two deputy speakers of Parliament who shall be elected from the Members of Parliament and to contrast that to Mr. Speaker is not a Member of Parliament.”
“I am a member of Parliament and the Second Deputy Speaker is a member of Parliament, and our role is to assist the Speaker in managing the house. So any attempts to read and interpret the constitution to include the deputy speakers is a misreading” he said.
But the Minority in parliament disagreed with the Speaker because, according to them, the First Deputy Speaker should have put their motion to a vote instead of passing a ruling himself.
As a result of a heated debate that nearly ended in fisticuffs in the chamber, the Speaker suspended sitting for an hour.
There were minutes of heckling, shoving, and shouting from both sides of the chamber.