Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs has disclosed the cause of his stand-off with Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
The two men, believed to be very good friends, exchanged heated words as they both tried to establish their authority and assert themselves.
Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament sought to put Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu in his place by reminding him that he is the third in command in the country.
“Honourable Majority Leader, the business of government is led by you in this House. You don’t lead parliament, you lead the business of the House, you lead the Majority, and you lead government business. As to the role of the Speaker, you haven’t reached there yet, when you get there, you do so. Please, you’ve been my very good friend for all these years until I became Speaker and everybody in Ghana is doubting whether you are really my friend. I’ve received a lot of calls about that, and I said you are my friend, and you are still my friend but people are doubting it. Please don’t give credence to that doubt.”
The Majority Leader retorted, “Mr Speaker, respectfully, I have been your friend until you became the Speaker. You and I know that we are still friends but we agree to disagree…Mr Speaker, Majority Leaders don’t always act as leaders of the majority caucus and also when their party is in power as leaders of government business, but a majority leader is a leader of the House.”
This showdown generated interesting debates on mainstream and social media platforms and Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has moved to establish why he challenged Alban Bagbin’s ruling on the petition filed by owners of the defunct UT Bank and Unibank.
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu conceded that though the hearing and acceptance of petitions are part of the legislative works, it should not be a duty of the Speaker to accept such petitions.
He feared that by accepting the petition, Bagbin is setting a precedent that could be inimical to the Speakership position in the long term.
“The Speaker says that, as a Speaker, there is nowhere in the Constitution or standing orders, debarring him from admitting petitions. So he is open to every petition and I can’t believe that.
“This is because the House will then be inundated with petitions from left, right and centre if the Speakership is to be reduced to a mere conveyer belt. So I disagree with the Speaker,” he told Joy.
He furthered that “I expressed my opinion, I said to the Speaker that I disagree with the recourse that he is resorting to because a matter is before the Court. The Court has not exhausted the processes and the cases are being heard by the Court and from the Court, the two people run to Parliament to seek cover and petition Parliament.”
What is the petition about
The petition which was filed by Kwabena Duffour and Kofi Amoabeng, CEOs of the defunct Unibank and UT Bank respectively seeks to pray Parliament to investigate the revocation of their licences by the Bank of Ghana.
The petition also prayed Parliament to after their investigations, restore their revoked licences.
With the Speaker ruling on the matter, a committee will now be set-up to probe the collapse of the banks and consider the request subsequently.