MP defends Akufo-Addo, says Bagbin is frustrating the gov’t

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The MP for Tolon, Habib Iddrisu has jumped to the defence of President Akufo-Addo in what appears to be a beef between Ghana’s Executive and Legislative arms of government. Speaker Bagbin followed Akufo-Addo’s lead to stay away from the anti-LGBTQ bill until a pending court case is resolved. Alban Bagbin said the house will not vet the President’s nominees until a case by South Dayi MP, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor is heard.

The matter started when the President through his Secretary Nana Bediatuo Asante wrote to the Clerk of Parliament asking him not to remit the anti-LGBTQ to the President due to a process currently pending at the Supreme Court. Parliament did not receive it lightly with many MPs condemning the act, saying it is a threat to democracy.

In retaliation, the Speaker has also informed the President that Parliament will not vet the ministerial nominees. The Speaker said there is a court case against the house and thus they cannot proceed with the vetting. Speaking in the chambers on Wednesday, March 20, Mr Bagbin accused the President of acting beyond what is legal.

“In alignment with our constitutional mandates and the principles of good governance, it is essential for the President to adhere to the lawful course of action by accepting the transmission of the bill. Upon receipt, the President has the constitutionally provided options to assent to the bill, refuse it, or seek further consultation, as deemed necessary. As we move forward, it is the collective responsibility of all branches of government, and indeed all citizens, to uphold the Constitution and ensure that our democratic practices are not only preserved but strengthened,” Alban Bagbin stated.

He added, “The current impasse presents an opportunity for reflection and reaffirmation of our commitment to the principles of democracy, rule of law, and the unequivocal respect for the legislative process that forms the bedrock of our nation’s governance. I reiterate that the refusal to even accept the bill for consideration falls outside the legal bounds established by our constitutional framework. It is incumbent upon the President to accept the bill and take the necessary action within the prescribed constitutional limits, whether that action is assent, refusal, or referral to the Council of State for advice.

“Article 106(7) says ‘Where a bill passed by Parliament is presented to the President for assent, he shall signify within seven days after the presentation, to the Speaker that he assets to the bill or that he refuses to assent to bill, unless the bill has been referred by the President to the Council of State under article 90 of this Constitution’. The Parliament of Ghana will comply with the existing legal framework and reject the attempts by the Executive Secretary of the President, through his contemptuous letter, to instruct the Clerk to Parliament, an Officer of Parliament whose position is recognizably under the Constitution. We shall not cease and desist!

“Be that as it may, Hon Members, I also bring to your attention, the receipt of a process from the Courts titled Rockson-Nelson Etse K. Dafeamekpor vrs. The Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney-General ( Suit no. J1/12/2024) which process was served on the 19th of March 2024 and an injunction motion on notice seeking to restrain the Speaker from proceeding with the vetting and approval of the names of the persons submitted by His Excellency the President until the provisions of the constitution are satisfied.

“Hon. Members in the light of this process, the House is unable to continue to consider the nominations of His Excellency the President in the “spirit of upholding the rule of law “ until after the determination of the application for interlocutory injunction by the Supreme Court.”

Reacting to the Speaker’s decision, the MP for Tolon said the President acted on the advice of the Attorney-General and, thus, should not be faulted by the Speaker. “The president was advised by his chief legal advisor to stay away from the bill,” Habib Iddrisu told journalists on Thursday, March 21. He accused the NDC of playing tricks with the government. According to him, it is “the NDC’s attempt to frustrate what the people of this country want. It is the NDC’s attempt to frustrate the rok of government.”

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