In voting to elect a Speaker of Parliament, James Gyakye Quayson, the MP for Assin North despite a court injunction barring him from holding himself out as a legislator and subjecting himself to be sworn-in as the representative of the people of Assin North took part in the process.
Earlier, the Clerk of Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, has ruled that he will not recognise the MP-elect in the election of the Speaker because of the High Court injunction.
He said, “I was duly served, and I am therefore unable to recognize James Quayson as MP-elect for the purposes of the election of Speaker. I will therefore accordingly proceed in the conduct of this election.”
This decision was however challenged by the NDC leadership of the House with some accusing the Clerk of being bias.
The NDC leadership insisted that because the MP-elect had not been served with the injunction documents, the Clerk should allow him to take part in the voting process.
Haruna Iddrisu had argued that Quayson is yet to be served the writ of injunction from the court thus should be allowed to participate in the proceedings of the house till he’s formally served.
“Mr. Chairman, courts don’t determine an elected person in Ghana. The court has the mandate to adjudicate on matters brought before it but the election of Member of Parliament is vested in Ghanaian citizens. We are aware that James Gyakye Quayson of Assin North was duly elected. As far as we know, no court processes have been served on him personally. That is why he is here having registered and having been recognized as a member of the 275 MPs”, leader of the NDC in Parliament said.
This request was turned down after a heated debate but was later granted with the Clerk warning that Parliament cannot be held responsible for the consequences that may arise from its decision to vote in the process.
But does James Gyakye Quayson’s action violate the letter and spirit of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana?
Article 105 of the Constitution states that: “A person who sits or votes in Parliament knowing or having reasonable grounds for knowing that he is not entitled so to do commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction, to such penalty as shall be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament.”