Do not hold me accountable for MP’s decisions – Bagbin
Mr Alban S.K Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament, has asked Ghanaians not to hold him accountable for decisions made by Members of Parliament in the House.
He explained that he presided over the House and was not involved in decision-making and, therefore, not responsible for the decisions Parliamentarians took.
Mr Bagbin said this on Monday at the swearing-in of new executives of the Parliamentary Press Corps in Accra.
The seven-member Parliamentary Press Corps Executives were Mr Simon Agianab, Dean; Mr Stephen Odoi-Larbi, Vice-Dean; Mr Kwaku Sakyi-Danso, Secretary; Mr Francis Ekow Annan, Deputy Secretary; Ms Yesmeen Abubakar Tetteh, Treasurer; Ms Deborah Dzievenu, Deputy Treasurer and Mr Ibrahim Alhassan, Organising Secretary.
They were led by the Speaker to take their oath of office.
Mr Bagbin’s comments were necessitated after being criticized for allowing a one-sided Majority House to approve the contentious E-levy last week after the Minority Group walked out to challenge the passage of the bill.
But the Speaker argued that the Constitution bars him from participating in debates on the floor and, therefore, should not be blamed.
He said: “When it comes to shove and pull, push and pull, members are equally matched, and I am not a Member of Parliament. When you look at Article 9, I am not defined as part of Parliament.
“You understand, so sometimes, don’t hold me responsible for decisions that are taken by the House when I am not part of the decision-making process; I just preside,” he said.
According to the Speaker, the rules at Parliament were structured for a majority system; therefore, it ought to be reviewed since Parliament was currently experiencing a new form of Parliament, that was a hung Parliament.
“So, we are now trying to tweet the draft that we had earlier to incorporate some rules that can assist us in managing the situation,” he said.
The Speaker also mentioned the challenges he had to endure with using the majority system to rule in the present hung system.
“In trying to use these old rules to manage this new creature has not been easy, and that should be expected, but the people don’t understand.
“Why this behaviour? The behaviour of the current Parliament is different from the previous ones because this current Parliament is not the same as the previous, and I think that not all of us anticipated that this would happen to us,” he said.
Mr Bagbin urged the executives to work with principles that would leave legacies, conduct themselves in a manner worthy of emulation, be self-empowered, commit to and focus on members adhering to values that would impact society as well-trained journalists.
Mr Agianab, Dean, Parliamentary Press Corps, expressing his gratitude to the Speaker for the various opportunities accorded the members in the flow of their assignments, also lauded the Clerk for a continuous fruitful engagement that had birthed a capacity-building workshop scheduled for Journalists.
He said such timely engagements would help the journalists to be abreast with the standing orders and parliamentary proceedings.
“Such capacity building is very opportune and timely for the journalists in Parliament to have first-hand information to interpret proceedings as they mirror Parliament through their report,” he said.
Mr Agianab pledged that the new executives would put in their best to ensure the Corps distinguished themselves creditably in the discharge of their duties from their predecessors.
Madam Kate Addo, Director of Public Affairs, Parliament House, congratulated the executives and encouraged the Press Corps to focus on human interest stories and features in Parliament.
She said that though the political stories were good, the in-depth work of Journalists projected their by-lines.
“There is nothing like having a by-line that is strong enough to fetch you your daily bread to the extent that you don’t need an MPs GH¢50 or a GH¢100,” she said.
Madam Addo also urged the group to educate the public on some of the positive practices, conducts and doctrines in the chamber and why such actions happened during proceedings.
She, therefore, reaffirmed the Public Affairs Directorate’s commitment to the Press Corps in the delivery of their duties through dignity.
On February 25, the Parliamentary Press Corps held an election to elect new members to steer the affairs of the group in Parliament House for the next three years.