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14.12.2005 Politics

Speaker of Parliament has endeared himself - Bagbin

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Accra, Dec. 14, GNA - Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader on Wednesday, said the Speaker of Parliament has learned very fast and endeared himself to Members of Parliament with his good human relations. "He has managed a better understanding with members creditably and does not disrupt debates on the floor of the House." Mr Bagbin was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on his assessment of Parliament during its First Session of the Fourth Parliament. He said there had been a smooth co-operation between both sides of the House, which augured well for the growth of parliamentary democracy.

"I am happy that he appreciates the fact that interruptions are meant to unsettle the one speaking on the floor." On the quality of debates and absenteeism, the Minority Leader said the House had always been filled with Minority Members, adding, "as for the Majority most of them do not come." He, however, said the attendance was very encouraging as compared to the previous Parliament. He said the Majority backbenchers had taken over the job of the Minority as they engaged in rabble-rousing. "It has not been good at all, you see this in the House everyday. This is not democracy, it is a sham." Mr Bagbin said the quality of debates in the House had dipped both in the use of language and logic.

Mr Jonathan Tackie-Komme, NDC-Odododiodoo said the Speaker is very moderate and listens to both sides very well during heated debates, which is healthy. He said there was more room for improvement in the House and assured Ghanaians that the "Minority would always keep the Majority on their toes." On the walkout, Mr Tackie-Komme said the Minority was not against accommodating the President but the time was not yet right for such extravagances at a time other pressing issues had to be tackled. "The Majority is not a listening group because anytime we caution them they still go ahead with what they intend to do." "The IFC loan and the NHIS are some of the issues we cautioned them against but at last we have been vindicated."

He said the Minority always supported the Majority when the need arose, "for example, we approved the 2006 budget even though we debated it thoroughly and seriously and we would continue supporting the good programmes and resist the bad ones." Mr Tackie-Komme, who was the last member to join the House through a bye-election, this year, said he was learning the rules and ethics of Parliament very fast, adding that his former experience as an Assemblyman had helped him immensely.

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