Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye on Saturday, April 4, 2020, indefinitely suspended parliamentary sittings instead of the house’s periodic break.
According to Professor Mike Oquaye, that decision was necessary in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic ‘as the country is not in normal times.’
The speaker in suspending sittings told Members of the House that “we cannot go on holidays because we are not in normal times” hence justifying his decision.
He explained that his indefinite suspension of parliament instead of their routine break implies that the house can be reconvened within a short notice when the need arises.
“If we should rise, then under any emergency when our intervention is required, we will need two weeks’ notice, according to the Constitution and the Standing Orders. Once sitting is suspended, we can ask the House to proceed to work in a day or two’s notice or within hours as the circumstances may demand,” Professor Mike Oquaye told the house.
However, in the wake of the Speaker’s decision, the minority has registered their displeasure with the decision. According to Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the decision of the speaker is dictatorial and a breach of parliamentary democracy.
“What he has done remains the gravest ever threat to parliamentary democracy in Ghana and an assault on the minority in parliament. He simply doesn’t respect due process. He simply doesn’t respect rule of law,” the minority leader told members of the parliamentary press corps on Saturday, April 4, 2020.
He further revealed that the minority is considering a suit against the speaker at the Supreme Court to seek redress.
“We will consider measuring his [Prof. Oquaye’s] conduct and questioning his conduct by the standing orders [of parliament] and in the superior courts of Ghana,” Haruna Iddrisu noted.