Parliament’s clerk allows Assin North MP-elect to participate in proceedings despite injunction

The clerk of Ghana’s parliament allowed the Assin-North constituency in the central region to participate in the proceedings of the house after he had presented himself to be sworn in alongside his colleague MPs-elect on Thursday, January 7, 2021.

Parliament’s clerk allows Assin North MP-elect to participate in proceedings despite injunction

This was preceded by a heated dramatic debate from both the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party caucuses about his eligibility to be in their midst as an MP-elect in the first place, let alone be sworn in.

A Cape Coast High Court had granted an injunction suit filed by a private citizen against James Gyakye Quayson challenging his election on the basis that he was a dual citizen of both Canada and Ghana at the time of filing his nomination with the electoral commission to contest the December 7 last year’s parliamentary election.

The court order had been served on the clerk of parliament who was administering the proceedings to get a speaker elected who would then swear in the MPs-elect.

However, Mr. Quayson appeared in the house because he had not been personally served with the injunction order.

The NDC caucus demanded proof of the order of the court having been duly served on the clerk, which was done amidst chaotic and cacophonous heckling.

The NDC caucus led by its leader Haruna Iddrisu asked the clerk to allow Mr. Quayson to participate in the proceedings and later deal with the substantive matter of his dual citizenship which is still pending in the High Court.

Both sides of the house nominated candidates for the speakership and the clerk as per the standing orders called for secret balloting to determine the winner.

While the NDC side was the first to nominate ex-member and second deputy speaker of the 7th parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin, the NPP side nominated the house’s immediate past speaker, professor Aaron Mike Oquaye for re-election for the speakership.

After more than three hours of back and forth, the clerk eventually gave Mr. Quayson the green light to participate in the secret voting to elect a speaker after having read to him and the house the legal consequences of the MP-elect disregarding the injunction to take part in the voting.

The process was hostile with the lawmakers-elect seen in near-fisticuff in confrontations over the voting process and the secrecy of the ballots.


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