The Caucus for Democratic Governance, Ghana (CDG-GH) has said the ruling of the Supreme Court that a Deputy Speaker of Parliament has the right to vote is not only reckless but irresponsible.
A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, unanimously held that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 103 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution, a Deputy Speaker who happens to be a Member of Parliament does not lose his right to take part in decision making in Parliament when sitting in for the Speaker of the House.
With a keen interest in the conversations that have followed, CDG-GH has consulted its lawyers on the matter.
In a press release after the consultation, the group says it finds the apex court ruling unreasonable, foolish, and ridiculous.
“The Caucus for Democratic Governance (CDG-GH) after discussions with its lawyers has come to the conclusion that the Supreme Court ruling on the voting right of the Deputy Speaker is reckless, absurd, and irresponsible.
“Reckless because the ruling did not consider the logical impact. Absurd, because it is unreasonable, foolish and ridiculous for a team of officiating referees to score for one team against the other. Irresponsible because the impression created seeks to suggest that the Judiciary is an appendage of the Executive,” parts of a press release from CDG-GH signed by its Executive Director Dr. E.K Hayford has said.
In the view of the Caucus for Democratic Governance, just as the Speaker does not vote, his Deputies should not vote in deliberation when presiding.
Below is the full press release from CDG-GH:
PRESS RELEASE 14TH MARCH 2022
SUPREME COURT RULING IS RECKLESS, ABSURD AND IRRESPONSIBLE
The Caucus for Democratic Governance (CDG-GH) after discussions with its lawyers has come to the conclusion that the Supreme Court ruling on the voting right of the Deputy Speaker is reckless, absurd and irresponsible. Reckless because the ruling did not consider the logical impact. Absurd, because it is unreasonable, foolish and ridiculous for a team of officiating referees to score for one team against the other. Irresponsible because the impression created seeks to suggest that the Judiciary is an appendage of the Executive.
It is important to note that our definite type of democracy governed by our Constitution, is different from the British (West Minister) type. Voting right does not reside in the Speakership. The Speakership consist of the Speaker and his two Deputies. Just as the Speaker does not vote, so his Deputies do not vote in a deliberation when presiding. Besides, Parliament is a deliberating forum where deliberations are sorted out, and decisions arrived at, with the Speaker or Deputy Speaker as a presiding referee. This is similar to a football march where we have two teams and an officiating referee. It will be reckless, absurd and irresponsible and stupid for the officiating referee at his convenience to score for one team against the other.
According to Rt Hon Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, I quote : “The President`s comment (on Supreme Court decision) is myopic and unfortunate. It only goes to worsen the schism between the Executive and Parliament. The Supreme Court decision, is to say the least, not only an absurdity but a reckless incursion into the remit of Parliament”. unquote. The trend of unanimity which such decisions can bring is equally troubling and does not help to explore and expand our legal jurisprudence.
The Executive, Parliament and Judiciary are three arms of Government which function within the control system of the Constitution. Any attempt to subvert the interpretation of the Constitution can have damaging consequences. Similarly any attempt by the Judiciary to be subservient to the Executive- its appointing organ, can also provoke tragic consequences. Indeed it is prudent to leave the remit of Parliament to the Legislators.
Dr E. K. Hayfod Executive Director
Caucus for Democratic Governance (CDG-GH)