The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has stated that he has demonstrated over the years, fairness and firmness as much as possible in handling parliamentary business.
“But I can tell you and I think I have demonstrated over the years that I am overly cautious and I try as much as possible to be fair and firm in managing the House anytime I am in charge of managing the House,” he stressed. He noted that persons claiming he had been partisan in managing the House were rather being partisan, saying “the persons claiming I was partisan are in fact being partisan of their evaluation of my ruling or my conduct of the House”.
Mr Osei-Owusu, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bekwai in the Ashanti Region, insisted that he is always fair and firm when he is presiding over proceedings and thus rejected the allegation of bias against him over his recent ruling overturned the Minority’s motion to have the approval of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy rescinded.
According to him, he always tried as much as possible to be fair and firm in managing the House anytime he is presiding, and maintained that those suggesting that he had been partisan were rather being partisan in their actions.
Mr Osei-Owusu pointed out that whereas the events of the day were regrettable, it was imperative to point out recalcitrant MPs and not paint all of them with the same brush, associated with apology issued by the Public Affairs Directorate on behalf of Parliament as an institution.
He explained that all of the chaotic scenes happened behind him because after he left, there were near scuffles on the floor as a group of MPs attempted to snatch the mace and chair of the Speaker, adding that “on December 2, 2021, I called a meeting with leadership to discuss what I had seen on videos after I left the chamber.
“When they came, they informed me a committee had been set up by the two sides because I wanted to understand what happened after I left the chamber. After the discussion, we agreed we will not do any serious business for that morning, it was because of the agreement that it will be low workday; I did not preside over the House on Thursday. “
It was Mr Osei-Owusu’s pronouncement that he was not the Speaker, in justifying his decision to count himself in determining quorum for decision making, that triggered protests from the Minority side of the House and he subsequently suspended sitting and left the Chamber.
His ruling on the motion led to the chaotic scenes that characterised proceedings on December 1, 2021. He literally abandoned the chairing of proceedings in Parliament after he had suspended sitting for an hour, following a confusion that erupted after he ruled against a motion by the Minority Caucus.
They, thus, expressed their disgust about his ruling and vowed not to cooperate with him any time he mounted the chair to preside over proceedings in the House.
SOURCE: Nii Otu Dadeban Ankrah