We support Speaker’s suspension of new ministers’ approval over anti-gay bill – Minority

The Minority in Parliament has described the presidency’s directive for the House to refrain from transmitting the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values (Anti-LGBTQ+) Bill for assent as a breach of the 1992 constitution.

On March 19, the office of the President officially requested Parliament to refrain from transmitting the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill to President Akufo-Addo for his assent.

The decision, according to Nana Bediatuo Asante, Executive Secretary to the President, stems from the acknowledgment of two pending applications for an order of interlocutory injunction before the Supreme Court.

The letter emphasised that it would be improper for Parliament to proceed with transmitting the bill to President Akufo-Addo for any action until the matters before the court are addressed.

The statement has attracted much criticism from various stakeholders, including the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin.

On March 20, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin expressed regret concerning the conduct displayed by the presidency following parliament’s successful unanimous passage of the controversial bill.

According to him, the presidency’s refusal to accept the transmission of the bill not only deviates from established democratic practices but also “undermines the spirit of cooperative governance and mutual respect for the arms of government.”

Mr Bagbin stated that the passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill is a principle that forms the cornerstone of Ghana’s political system.

According to the Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, the Speaker’s concern was legitimate, and as such, had their full backing.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to conclude by saying that, the Right Honourable Speaker has made an important call. A call for Parliament to unite against the autocratic tendencies of our President and this government.

We, in the NDC minority, are ready to protect the sanctity of the constitution of the Republic of Ghana. And we stand with the Speaker of Parliament in this. Let the President of Ghana and his government be aware that where this country is going is strange under his watch and the NDC Minority will not countenance it,” he said.

The Minority Leader was speaking at a press conference minutes after the Speaker released the March 20 letter.

Dr Forson stressed that the 1992 Constitution provides two options to the President regarding a bill, which are either to assent to the bill or not.

However, the President’s action, he interprets as “maintaining a middle ground,” hence a breach of the 1992 Constitution. This action he described as “a strange and an alien position which is unknown to the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.”

“But I want to say that it is obvious that His Excellency the President has breached the constitution and we will advise ourselves. In the coming days, don’t be surprised that we’ll begin impeachment proceedings against the President,”he said.

The Minority Leader seized the opportunity to reiterate to the President that Parliament has been enjoined, for which reason it would not be able to continue the vetting process of ministerial nominees. As such, he suggested that the President finally heed calls to downsize his government.

At this point, the President may have to be innovative, dynamic and think out of the box by downsizing his government.

“Let me say that merely piling up numbers by way of appointing ministers and deputy ministers does not signal to the people of Ghana that the President understands the seriousness of the mess that he and his government have created in our country,” he added.

Source: Connielove Mawutornyo Dzodzegbe

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