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29.01.2009 Politics

Parliament argues over leadership title of Bagbin


Parliament on Thursday argued over whether Majority Leader, Mr Alban Bagbin be allowed to assume the title “Leader of the House”.

The matter came up for debate, when the Mr. Bagbin, moved a procedural motion for the endorsement of a five-member committee to advise the Speaker, Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, on the appointment of members to the Parliamentary Service Board.

The motion had stood in the name of Mr. Bagbin, as Majority Leader and as Leader of the House, which was contested by the NPP member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah.

The member for Sekondi had questioned whether it was right for Mr Bagbin to assume the title “Leader of the House”, since the NDC, then in opposition, had always kicked against the NPP Majority Leader, describing himself as Leader of the House in the previous Parliament.

Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, however said although the NDC in opposition, had kicked against that position, yet in all civilized democracies, the practice was that the Majority Leader was also the Leader of the House and represented Parliament as a leader when the need arose.

He therefore said although the NDC had kicked against this conventional practice previously, it was okay for Mr Bagbin to now double up as Leader of the House.

Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, MP for New Juaben-North, said the NDC thought they would never move to the majority side and had in the previous Parliament kicked against this position.

He said if they had now accepted this position now that they were the Majority side, it should be put on record for a reference point for the future.

Mrs Gifty Kusi, a Minority Chief Whip, said they, as NPP members, wanted peace and were therefore giving the leadership of the house to Mr Bagbin as a gift.

The House later approved the motion for the membership of the committee to advise the Speaker to co-opt members onto the Parliamentary Service Board.

The Board, when set up, would be under the chairmanship of the Speaker and is expected to help in the effective administration of the Legislature among other duties.

Members of the Committee, include Majority Leader, Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Mr John Tia, Deputy Majority Leader and the NPP member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah.