The Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Mike Ocquaye was over the weekend a subject of intense public ridicule especially on Social media. This was after a picture of him was released on various social media platforms by Hon Dr. Mattew Opoku Prempeh, NPP MP for Menhyia South through his official facebook page.
In the said picture, the Speaker was seen at the final funeral ceremony of the late Professor Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey reading a funeral brochure turned upside-down.
Below is the said picture posted by the Menhyia South MP on his facebook page, which has since been deleted.
Ghanaians were however quick to notice the anomaly and made fun of the situation on various social media platforms.
On Friday, news about threats of impeachment of the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament by the Minority hit the news headlines. The NDC MP’s are not happy with the Rt. Hon. Prof Mike Ocquaye for what they considered gross disrespect and bias towards them.
Influential MP for Asawase and Minority Chief Whip, Hon Muntaka Mubarak was quoted as saying “the battle lines are drawn” and if the speaker doesn’t shed his extreme partisan position, they will be left with no option than to trigger the processes to impeach him.
Further, outspoken MP for Sagnarigu and the Ranking Member for Parliament’s Communication Committee, Hon A.B.A Fuseini reiterated the intentions of the Minority in an interview with the media.
“We are going to be forced to take maybe an unprecedented action that has never happened in the annals of our fourth republic. …We are very close and there are number of options available to us as Minority to exploit including the impeachment of the Speaker. … [Impeachment] is an option available to us to exercise and when we deem it fit, we are going to exercise it if things don’t change,” Mr Fusieni had said.
In the light of the developments, this writer checks whether the threats of the Haruna Iddrissu led Minority can be successful, even if they decide to take that action.
In accordance with Article 95 (2) (d) of the 1992 Constitution and Parliament’s Standing Orders 106, impeachment is indeed an option of removing the Speaker of Parliament from office. However, the process involves provisions that the Minority will not have the numerical strength to carry their threats to the latter even if they desire to do so.
To begin, Article 106 (1) (a) of the Standing Orders requires the Minority to give a seven-day notice, signed by one-third of all Members of Parliament. By their current numerical strength of 106, the Minority has more than enough members to kick-start the process to impeach the Speaker. They require only 92 MPs. And indeed, that is all it is required for Minority to bring the motion of impeachment to Parliament for debate. Parliament will be bound to debate this within 14 days of receiving the notice.
After the debate, which will be presided by a Deputy Speaker in accordance with Standing Order 106 (2), the motion to impeach will require votes, cast in a secret ballot of three -quarters of all Members of Parliament to go through – and that is where the Minority will be found wanting. With a membership of 106, the Minority will need 100 more members from the Majority side to carry though their threats.
Ghana’s Parliament is notorious for voting along political considerations and it will be more unlikely for 100 NPP MPs to team up with NDC MPs to impeach Speaker Mike Ocquaye, an NPP stalwart. The motion will effectively be abrupted at this stage. The impeachment will fail!
But the Minority will end up as winners. In the history of Ghana’s Parliament, no Speaker of Parliament has been an issue of impeachment to the extent of it ending up on the floor of the august House. Should the Minority carry through their threats, it will be unprecedented and a huge wake up call to the Speaker and the leadership in Parliament.
Can the Minority take the bull by the horn and trigger the processes to impeach the Speaker? I cannot see that happening, but with this current Minority MPs, one can never rule out anything completely. Maybe it is about time the leadership of Parliament met with the Minority to iron out their differences, peace must prevail.
What do you think? Leave a comment and let’s get t he discussion going.