The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has rejected the Minority’s attempt to have their names recorded as absent with permission during their most recent boycotts.
During a heated debate on the floor, the caucus requested that anytime members skipped meetings to support colleagues who were being investigated, their names must be recorded as excused whenever they skip meetings.
The North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, argued on the floor on Wednesday that in order for the absence to be accurately recorded as a boycott, it must be boycotted.
To avoid giving the appearance that the Minority is avoiding its obligations in Parliament, he claims, this is necessary.
“Mr. Speaker, we had said that we would boycott proceedings if our colleagues appeared before the courts, and as yesterday’s [Tuesday] absence was a boycott, I believed that it should be noted for the record. I rise to ask for your advice on this topic for the purpose of accuracy so that it doesn’t appear that we are just not working and absent since I recall that the vote and processes have previously documented walkouts and boycotts, he added.
Ahmed Ibrahim, the deputy minority whip, backed the request to be recorded as absent with permission because the Speaker’s approval was requested.
“Mr. Speaker, if you carefully read our Standing Orders, that position by him [the Minority Leader] must be registered in the vote and proceeding that yesterday the Minority Caucus boycotted proceedings on this floor.”Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to draw your attention to rule 34 (1), which states that a record of the members’ attendance at each sitting will be included in the minutes of the Parliament’s votes and procedures. Mr. Speaker, the Minority boycotted yesterday’s [Tuesday] sitting and we were not there, and this must be acknowledged in the vote and procedures.
He added that despite several Majority Caucus members not being present, their presence was recorded.
The request was turned down by Speaker of the House Alban Bagbin, who called it “ill-conceived.”
The table office correctly noted the NDC MPs’ absences without authorization in accordance with House regulations, according to the Speaker.
Noting that “it is what guides attendance in the House,” he continued by stating that the Speaker could only provide such approval in writing.
As a result, you have the option of attending or not. Depending on your own actions, you may be listed as absent when you decide not to attend, which might signify that you have permission to miss the meeting or that you don’t. The onus now shifts to you as a group to provide proof that my good self has given you permission to absent yourself in writing. With permission now implies that there is written evidence, not oral, that the Speaker has granted you that permission to be absent.
“We have two papers; the first is the official report, which will undoubtedly include the Minority Leader’s remarks from that day. that if one of your colleagues has a court date, you will support that colleague and be in court as well.Consequently, I believe the table office is correct in claiming that you were absent without authorization, he stated.