“When institutions of democracy go too far, it weakens our respect for judicial institutions.”
These are the words of Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He served as the 50th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999.
The quote above is attributed to him in reaction to a stalemate in Congress over the 1999 budget surplus.
Several decades after Gingrich’s famous intervention in Congress, Rt. Honourable Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Alban Bagbin failed to lead in the manner in a manner that epitomizes integrity and respect for the institutions of democracy.
Fixing the country Movement deems Bagbin’s extraordinary claim of parliamentary privilege as a speaker, to covertly attempt to engage in constitutional coup d’etat with the connivance of the minority caucus during the passage of the 2022 Budget statement, not only as a disagree to the institution of parliament but sees it as an affront to due process.
Let’s face it, Bagbin has belligerently defied the law and thrust aside the Constitution in an attempt to assault the Akufo-Addo presidency in a fashion akin to coup d’etat.
The Speaker violated Article 104 of the constitution and Order 109 of the standing orders of Parliament.
Indeed his troubling departure from conventions and laid down due process must be a matter of concern to us all.
Parliament House was designed as a classical House consecrated to democracy, which is why the speaker’s unprecedented assault on our democracy ought to be investigated and if possible remove from office.
Most legislatures all over the world have a way of dealing with the Bagbin- like a situation that we find ourselves in. They have established procedures to investigate and, if necessary, remove undesired speakers from the office. In 1695, the British House of Commons empanelled a committee to investigate Speaker Sir John Trevor; in 1989 the US House of Representatives empanelled the Ethics Committee to investigate Speaker Jim Wright. The same thing occurred in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago in 1995. Speaker Seapaul was eventually removed from office.
Ghana needs to follow suit and deal with Bagbin ruthlessly. Every true defender of democracy ought to stand up and be counted. The horrific assault on our democracy by the speaker must not go unchallenged.
We must collectively show to the country and the world that we would not be diverted from our duty to invalidate the speaker’s actions.
And despite the desecration of our democracy by the speaker, Parliament must uphold its responsibility to the Constitution and the Ghanaian people.
Long live Ghana!!
Ernest Kofi Owusu Bempah Bonsu, Political Strategist /Convener- Fixing The Country Movement