Approval of 2022 Budget by Majority - a Classical Test of Constitutionalism

Folks the Majority have overturned the rejection of the 2022 budget today!

Now they basis for this overriding decision was on Order 109, rule 1 of their standing orders.

*Order 109(1) No question for decision in the house shall be proposed for determination unless there are present in the house not less than one-half of members of Parliament...*

In all there are 275 members of Parliament, two of whom are deputy speakers.
Any of them presides in the absence of the Speaker who is not a member of Parliament.

The Speaker of Parliament is not a member of the house, he has neither an Orignal vote nor a casting vote.
This means that the two characteristics of any person who is not a member of the house but can do business with the house is the lack of original and casting vote.

So for example Ministers, the President and State Officials who go to Parliament to do business cannot take part in any decision of the house because they are not members of the house.

Now here is where it gets interesting...

Order 109 rule 3 gives a very interesting perspective of Deputy Speakers when they are presiding, it says...

*109(3) A Deputy Speaker or any other Member presiding shall not retain his Orignal vote whiles presiding*

You see the law is very interesting, Order 109 rule 3, explicitly takes away the most important right of a member of Parliament away from a Deputy Speaker who is presiding and that is the right to vote.

Now the question is, When the voting rights of a member is taken away, is he still a member of Parliament?

Because the only thing that distinguishes Members of Parliament from non-members of Parliament in the house is the right to vote!!

So when Order 109 rule 3 took away the voting rights of Joe Osei Wusu when he was presiding today, the law assumed that he is not a member of Parliament because members of Parliament have voting rights, non members do not.

What this means is that, with the exclusion of Joe Osei Wusu who was presiding as Speaker today, there were only 137 member of Parliament in the chamber when the question for approval of the budget was posed clearly in violation of Order 109 rule 1.

The other issue is on what Orders or Law did the presiding Speaker rely on to declare the proceedings of last Friday void?

Now when you declare an earlier proceedings of the house void, what are the processes that must be followed in accordance with law and the standing orders?

Can a Deputy Speaker override a decision of the Speaker in the house without the Speaker’s consent?

Assuming without admitting that the Speaker erred last Friday, shouldn't his deputy speaker be in consultation with his boss and the leadership of Parliament to address it in conclave before trying to address it on the floor?
What happens when the Speaker returns?

Couldn't all this have been avoided by building consensus instead and making compromises rather than escalating this impasse which would prove very problematic for Parliament and the executive??

Would this action by the Majority open up the Government for several class actions suits when the tenets of the budget is implemented next year?

Was this the best option available to Government to address this impasse, especially when it would need the Minority’s support on several other things it would take to house later?
Or anytime they take a motion, agreement or budget to the floor and it's rejected, are they going to set up their own Parliamentary sitting to overturn it??

Was this really the best option...think about it!!

Mensah Thompson
Executive Director, ASEPA