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07.01.2005 General News

The Speaker - The first officer of Parliament

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Accra, Jan. 7, GNA - The Speaker is the first officer of the House. He is one of the three great officers of State and he ranks third in the official order of precedence after the President and Vice-President.

The office of Speaker was first created in Ghana, then the Gold Coast, in 1949 when the Governor ceased to be ex-officio President of the Legislative Council.

The creation of this office marked a significant step in the history of colonial legislature. In 1951 the legislature, under the 1950 Constitution, elected its first Ghanaian Speaker, the first African to preside over a British Colonial Legislature.

The Speaker's ruling cannot be challenged except on a substantive motion.

Behind the scenes the Speaker can exercise moderating influence on both the Majority and Minority to reach consensus in certain matters. In the heat of debates he can cool passions.

It has been said that the Speaker can encourage the downhearted Members; he can discourage the over-confident, he can offer hope - and suggest outlets - to the frustrated.

The Speaker must not display any trace of partiality; he must handle the House with tact, firmness, and fairness. He must be unusually patient even under provocation.

Two Deputies assist the Speaker.

The Speaker also has an administrative role; he is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Service Board and has the over-all responsibility for the administration and management of the Service, which is the employer of all permanent staff.

The Speaker is elected from within or outside Parliament at the beginning of a new Parliament and holds office during the life of that Parliament.

In order to ensure his independence and authority, his salary, allowances, and pension are paid from the Consolidated Fund. The following are the past Speakers of Parliament. First Republic:

Sir Emmanuel Charles Quist, Kt., OBE - Mar 1951- Dec 1957 Hon. Justice Augustus Molade Akiwumi - Feb 1958 - June 1960 Hon. Joseph Richard Asiedu - July 1960 - June 1965 Hon. Kofi Asante Ofori-Atta - June 10, 1965 - Feb 22, 1966 Second Republic

Hon. Justice Nii Amaa Ollenu - Oct 1969 - Dec 1971 Third Republic

Hon. Justice Jacob Hackenburg Griffiths-Randolph - Sept 24, 1979 - Dec. 1981

Fourth Republic

Hon. Justice Daniel Francis Annan - Jan 7, 1993 - 1996

Hon. Justice Daniel Francis Annan - re-elected in 1997 for another four years

Hon. Peter Ala Adjetey - 2001-

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