Constitution is clear on Deputy Speaker’s right to vote – President Akufo-Addo

The President's comments are a reaction to a Supreme Court ruling on the matter of Deputy Speakers having the right to vote while presiding in Parliament.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

The President, Nana Akufo-Addo has said Ghana’s constitutional structure is clear on the issue of the Deputy Speaker’s vote being counted when presiding in Parliament.

Reacting to a recent Supreme Court ruling on the matter, President Akufo-Addo said articles 102, 104 are absolutely clear on the participation of the Deputy Speakers on voting in Parliament when they are presiding.

He stated that the same was practiced in other jurisdictions, particularly citing the US, and Britain. 

“I’m astonished about how much public energy has been ‘wasted’, saying so with greatest of respect, been wasted in an area, on an issue, where there has been so much clarity. And I’m happy that the Court, so as you are aware, the Supreme Court when it has, declaring the meaning of the constitution, and it does so unanimously, that is the most emphatic way, in which the court can pronounce,” he said during an interaction with Charles Takyi Boadu of the Daily Guide Newspaper, on the sidelines of the Dubai Expo 2020.

He also mentioned that the reason for the drafting of the 1992 Constitution, was to avoid the concentration of unregulated power in the state and thus indicating that Parliament and other state agencies are subject to the provisions of the constitution.

“We are being told that the decision of the Court amounts to judicial interference in the work of Parliament. I'm not quite sure that the people who are saying this have taken the time to read the Constitution of our country. It says so in black and white. The legislative power that is vested in Parliament is subject to the provisions of the constitution."

The Supreme Court yesterday, March 9, 2022, unanimously okayed the decision by the 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament to participate in Parliamentary voting and to be counted in forming a quorum for deliberations.

A seven-member panel presided over by Justice Jones Dotse unanimously declared that the two Deputy Speakers of Parliament are members of Parliament thus can be counted as present for the purposes of making decisions in Parliament when presiding thereby dismissing an application by a private Legal practitioner and lecturer of UPSA Law School Justice Abdullai, which sought the constitutionality of the same.

The applicant went to seek the interpretation of Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution in order to declare a November 30, 2021 decision of the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu as unconstitutional.

The Minority Leader of Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, reacting to the ruling yesterday, described it as ‘Judicial interference’ of  Parliamentary convention.

According to him, it is the practice in developed democracies for the votes of presiding officers to be discounted.

“Our attention has been drawn to a very disappointing ruling by the Supreme Court of Ghana will more or less, amount to Judicial Interference in time-tested Parliamentary practice and established convention.”

“Everywhere in the world, in civilized democracies including the United Kingdom, the presiding officer’s vote is discounted so it is not for nothing that article 102 provides that a person presiding shall have no original nor casting vote,” he told the press.