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Anti-gay bill: Bagbin has no authority to denigrate Nana Addo — Afenyo-Markin

The Majority in Parliament has informed Speaker Alban Bagbin that while he is free to express his views on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's actions regarding the anti-gay bill, he should refrain from denigrating the president in doing so.

Alexander Afenyo-Markin

They criticized Bagbin for the manner in which he described Nana Addo in response to a letter from the Secretary to the President regarding the bill.

Bagbin's announcement of Parliament's decision to suspend the consideration of the President's nominees came after MP Rockson-Nelson Etse K. Dafeamekpor filed an interlocutory injunction, halting the approval process.

This decision was also influenced by a directive from the presidency, citing ongoing legal proceedings at the Supreme Court.

Bagbin emphasized the importance of upholding legislative authority and democratic principles amidst these challenges, highlighting concerns over the erosion of foundational checks and balances.

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He also noted the receipt of legal documentation related to the injunction motion filed by MP Dafeamekpor.

However, Afenyo-Markin, speaking to the press after Bagbin's comments, criticized the Speaker for pronouncing judgment and using unsavory language to describe the President, stating that while disagreement is acceptable in a democracy, denigration is not.

He said "Mr Speaker went beyond expressing disagreement and rather pronounced judgment on what in his view was wrong. Mr Speaker did not only stop there, he also used very unsavory words to describe Mr. President. We believe that in a democracy, we have our right to disagree on views expressed but we do not have the right to say things to denigrate another. This we think is very unacceptable.

"Mr. Speaker said the President has undermined democracy and that he should have resorted to the Constitution in making certain communications to the House. We in the Majority beg to disagree with the position taken by Mr Speaker. If you carefully read the letter that was sent to Parliament, Mr President limited himself to the process before the court and the fact that Parliament itself has filed an affidavit in opposition and is in court. In fact, Parliament is a party to the suit, so for us, we do not see how this would have to affect the proceedings of Parliament. In any event, Mr Speaker has always deferred to the leadership of the House to guide him in the conduct of business."

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"This morning, the leadership of the House sat together to discuss the various items to be taken, we have finished some, but there were some that we were supposed to take and we were told that Mr Speaker would have to take the chair. It is very disappointing that after Mr Speaker had made known his own views about the letter sent from the presidency to the clerk he adjourned the house without giving room for the leadership of the house to even comment. This we find very strange, this is a democracy and we believe, as Mr. speaker himself said, that this ‘impasse calls for reflection’. I will play that out to Mr Speaker that we all need to reflect on the way forward as a nation," Afenyo-Markin added.

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