First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu has defended his decision to associate himself with the Majority side of the House prior to the approval of the 2022 Budget statement and Economic Policy of the NPP government.
The decision which led to the reversal of last Friday’s vote to reject the policy document has drawn criticism from a section of the populace.
Mr Osei-Owusu during proceedings of Tuesday, November 30, 2021, included himself in the total number of MPs present in the House before the motion for the rescission of the rejection of the 2022 Budget could be validated.
But the Minority in Parliament on Wednesday challenged that move amid claims it is in clear breach of the parliamentary standing orders.
Following an acrimonious debate that stretched for hours, the First Deputy Speaker in his ruling explained that per the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House, he together with the Second Deputy Speaker are Members of Parliament who only assist the Speaker of Parliament in the discharge of his duties when the need arises.
“I have not heard anything here today [Wednesday] which was not discussed yesterday [Tuesday]. All the arguments today were practically the arguments made yesterday [Tuesday]. There are a few matters which I wish to clarify that first, it must be clear that a Deputy Speaker is not a Speaker. Indeed, article 96(1) of the constitution says, and I quote there shall be two deputy speakers of Parliament who shall be elected from the Members of Parliament and to contrast that to Mr. Speaker is not a Member of Parliament.”
“I am a member of Parliament the Second Deputy Speaker is also an MP and our role is to assist the Speaker in managing the house. So any attempts to read and interpret the constitution to include the deputy speakers is a misreading,” he said as he threw out the motion filed by the Minority.