Ghana’s Paliament on Wednesday erupted into chaos with minority and majority members shoving and pushing each other. The heated confrontation between the two sides erupted after the Second Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu ruled to reject a motion by the minority side.
The minority had moved for a vote to overturn the approval of the 2022 budget as passed by the all-majority side of the house on Tuesday.
The house on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, voted to overturn a vote of rejection passed on the budget by the minority side on Friday, November 27, 2021, after the majority side had staged a boycott of proceedings
The majority side in the absence of the minority who stayed out of the chamber on Tuesday after overturning the rejection vote of Friday, also voted to approve the 2022 budget.
The house having reconvened on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, engaged in a heated banter over the decision by the Second Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu who sat in as acting speaker in the absence of Speaker Alban Bagbin, to count himself as part of MPs present to form a quorum on Tuesday.
However ruling on the motion by the minority to overturn the approval of the budget, the Second Deputy Speaker upheld the approval saying he is an MP and that taking up speakership duties in the absence of the speaker does not take away his position as an MP.
“I am a member of parliament, the honourable second deputy speaker is a member of parliament and our role is to assist the speaker in managing this house. Any attempt to read and interpret the constitution of Mr. Speaker to include the deputy speakers is a misreading and a misapplication of the constitution,” he stated.
Mr Osei-Owusu further stated that a member stepping in as speaker does not take away his rights as an MP and thus, he had every right to be counted as part of the quorum. He thus went ahead to rule against the motion by the minority and adjourned sitting for 30 minutes.
Incensed by the speaker’s ruling, the minority MPs flooded the floor of the house and were joined by some majority members leading to a chaotic scene with some of the MPs pushing and shoving each other.
In the heat of the moment, Ashiaman MP, Ernest Norgbey, grabbed the speaker’s chair ostensibly to register their displeasure with the second deputy speaker saying he is not a speaker.
“He said he is not a speaker, we will treat him as such,” a minority MP was heard shouting over the microphone.
The scene was later taken over with both sides singing various patriotic songs to make a point.