‘We don’t care who sits on left or right side of Mr Speaker’ – Haruna Iddrisu

The Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu has revealed that his members do not have any problem sitting on left side of the Speaker when the house house resumes sitting tomorrow.

According to him his side is open to sitting on the Minority side of the Chamber if that is what will bring peace.

Mr. Iddrisu said the House will have no difficulty “sitting to the left of the Speaker” so far as the party’s “numerical strength is respected in the composition of committees and in the determination of leadership.”

Speaking at a press conference held today, Thursday, 14th January 2021, at the Job 600 office complex, the NDC’s leader maintains that they will never compromise on their position when it comes to the composition of committees.

He explained that both NDC and NPP has equal seats thus the “composition of committees (In the August House) should reflect the character and strength of political parties and the numbers of their elected MPs.”

“The composition should reflect beyond mere numbers and include other factors including leadership of committees. As we have 137-137, who chairs and who leads,” he clarified.

Both the governing NPP and the opposition NDC have split the seats in Parliament evenly with the independent Member of Parliament for Fomena breaking the tie.

 

Below is the full statement by the NDC Caucus

PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE NDC CAUCUS IN PARLIAMENT
ADDRESS BY THE LEADER OF THE NDC CAUCUS IN PARLIAMENT, HON. HARUNA IDDRISU HELD IN PARLIAMENT HOUSE, ACCRA ON THURSDAY, 14TH JANUARY, 2021
Good Moming.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media,
First of all, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus would like to congratulate the Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin on his election as Speaker of the Eighth (8) Parliament of the Fourth (4) Republic of Ghana.

We wish to affirm our unflinching support and continuous cooperation with him to enable him succeed as Speaker. We are firmly behind him and we wish him well.
We the NDC Caucus in Parliament have invited you here to address a few issues relating to the 8th Parliament.
You would recall that a week ago, on 7 January, 2021 the Clerk to Parliament read a letter from the Electoral Commission. The said correspondence indicated that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have 137 seats, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) also have 137 seats and there is one Independent MP. Thus: NDO – 137 NPP – 137; and Independent – 1.
From that oficial correspondence from the Electoral Cunumission, clearly neither the NDC nor the NPP has majority seats in Parliament.
The Fomena Independent MP
On the issue of the Independent MP who has indicated that: “he shall for the purposes of transacting business in the house, associate with the NPP Caucus in the Eighth Parliament. For the avoidance of doubt, I do hereby affirm that
I shall cooperate and collaborate with the NPP Carteras in the Eighth Parliameni”.
I am sure he is mindful of article 97, clause (1)(h) of the 1992 Constitution which provides
that: “A member of Parliament shall vacate his sear in Parliament if he was elected a Member of Parliament as an Independent Candidate and joins a Political Parly.”
So the question is, by that declaration, has the Hon. Member for Fomena joined the NPP? It
was Nana Addo who said he could not work with an Independent MP.

It was the General-Secretary of the NPP who wrote to the former Speaker to have the then NPP-MP for Fomena expelled from  Parliament. It was former Speaker Oquaye who, on 7th November, 2020 sacked the then NPP-MP for Fomena from Parliament. Indeed, in his Statement sacking the then NPP-
MP for Fomena from Parliament, former Speaker Oquaye, among others, quizzed as follows:
“…How does an elected independent MP operates both as an eleciell Independent MP and at the same time, an NPP MP, if he should win the election?”
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have always said that consistency is important in our political discourse. Is Nana Addo now willing to work with and Independent MP? What is the position of the NPP General Secretary now? And what about the ruling of former Speaker Oquayc? I
would, therefore, call on the NPP to reconcile their conflicting positions.
The Caucuses in Parliament
Let me remind you that there is nothing like Majority Caucus or Minority Caucus in either the
Standing Orders of Parliament or in the Constitution. Indeed, official records of Parliament would simply record that NDC has 137 seats, NPP has 137 and there is I Independent MP. No matter the declaration of such an Independent MP, the records will still reflect that there is an Independent MP in the 8th Parliament.

In recent past, Parliament has resorted to determining the composition of Committees by using the numeric strengths of what wc term as Majority Side and Minority Side. Hence, elected MPs from “smaller parties as Independent
MPs were required to choose which Side they wanted to add to associate with or transact business with for purposes of determining which Side could have more members on each
Committee of the House.

So, we saw how PNC, CPP and Independent MPs were treated in
previous Parliaments Composition of Committees of Parliament
Ladies and Gentlemen, article 103, clause 5 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 154 of the Standing Orders of Parliament provide that:
“The composition of the Committees shall, as much as possible, reflect the different shades of opinion in Parliament
Is Parliament limiting different shades of opinion” to only numerical strengths? We do not
think so. It is on this score that the NDC Caucus will insist that the composition of committees
of this 8th Parliament should reflect its very current nature.

The composition should reflect
beyond mere numbers and cover other factors including leadership of committees.
We  know that besides the Committee on Selection, which is chaired by the Spcaker, the
Standing Orders of Parliament provides for 11 Standing Committees and 16 Select
Committees. Out of the 11 Standing Committees, the chairmanship of 7 are pre-determined by the Standing Orders.

The Rt. Hon Speaker chairs the Committee on Selection (Order 151) and the Standing Orders Committee (Order 157). The Appointments Committee and the Committee
on Privileges are chaired by the First Deputy Speaker. The Second Deputy Speaker chairs the
Committee on Members Holding Office of Profit. The Majority Lcader chairs both the Business Committee (per Order 160) and the House Committee (per Order 168). Per Order 168, the Public Accounts Committee should be chaired by a Member whose side does not
control the Executive branch of Government.
The Standing Orders does not pre-determine the leadership of the remaining 4 Standing Committees, namely: Finance Committee, Committee on Gender and Children, Committee on Government Assurance and the Subsidiary Legislation Committee. Similarly, the leadership of the 16 Select-Committees are not pre-determined by the Standing Orders.
The NDC Caucus shall therefore insist that in line with Order 154 of the Standing Orders of Parliament and article 103 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, the composition of committees should reflect the nature and character of this very 8 Parliament.

The practice of making one side of
the House chair all Select Committees is no longer tenable in current dispensation. Given the current numbers, there must be strict sharing of the leadership of the Select Committees by the two sides of the House. Out of the 16 Select Committees, the NDC should chair 8 while the NPP would also chair 8. This would be a true reflection of the different shades of opinion in the current Parliament as envisaged in the 1992 Constitution under article 103 (5) and Order 154 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Indeed, regarding the other factors on reflecting the different shades of opinion in Parliament” we would implore on the leadership of both Sides to endeavour to nominate qualified persons to serve on the committees while considering gender, age distribution, experience, regional
balance, among other factors.
Major Reforms:- New Standing Orders – An Imperative
Ghana has never experienced a Parliament with equal number of seats on both sides. There is,
Therefore, the need for the House to adopt new Standing Orders that will address the current nature and character of these 8th Parliament.

There is some work ongoing in that regard.

The House has no choice than to work with the current Standing Orders albeit with its deficiencies.

Conclusion
Ladies and Gentlemen, without prejudice to the court cases that the NDC has commenced to
reclaim the stolen parliamentary scals, particularly that of Techiman South, let us appreciate that the good people of Ghana voted for a particular nature of Parliament That Parliament has produced 137 seats each for both the NDC and the NPP and I independent MP. We the NDC Caucus shall endeavour to do our best by providing the best of representation that reflects the
sovereign will of our people.
It is a new dawn in parliamentary democracy in Ghana, therefore, we the elected representatives
cannot afford to fail our people.
Long Live the great NDC!
Long Live parliamentary democracy!
Long Lived Ghana

Thank you for coming.

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

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