Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has attributed his lack of support for the indefinite suspension of Parliamentary proceedings on Saturday to his desire to uphold the democracy of Parliament as an institution.
According to the Tamale South MP, the House a week ago agreed to adjourn proceedings on April 4, 2020, and without a motion to change that position, it is illegal for the Speaker, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye to with his authority suspend sitting using COVID-19 as an excuse.
The two sides of Parliament, on Saturday, April 4, 2020, were divided after the Speaker announced the suspension of the House, even though he was supposed to adjourn it.
While the Minority vehemently disagreed with the speaker’s action, the Majority maintained that under the circumstances of the outbreak of COVID-19, the Speaker has the discretion to do so.
Speaking in an interview with Accra-based Joy News on Sunday, the Minority leader insisted that although the country is in extraordinary times, the Speaker must respect due processes of the House.
He explained that they as members of Parliament are aware of their exceptional responsibility that they must avail themselves at all times during the season but that does not give credence to the Speaker to suspend the House instead of adjourning.
“All I’m doing is in defense of Parliamentary democracy. All I’m doing is respect for due process and the rule of law. We adopted a business statement on the 27th of March that the House will adjourn ‘sine die’ on the 4th of April. No one came by motion to change that position. When Parliament is suspended per order 46 of our standing orders, the mace is not carried away as we witnessed yesterday and that is why I described the speaker as a ‘walking illegality’ with the mace and a walking illegality with the procedure of Parliament.”
“Don’t forget, the President himself in his address to the nation had indicated that Parliament is exempt. Yes, we are in extraordinary times but the speaker must respect due process. The COVID-19 situation in Ghana is non-comparable to Spain or Italy. Yes, we all pray that we don’t get there but our institutions must work. We owe it to the Ghanaian people, not to the Speaker and to the Majority leader and the NPP, but to the Ghanaian people……and then to paint the Minority as if we are not cooperative? No,” he indicated.