Member of Parliament for Okaikwei Central Patrick Yaw Boamah is advocating a change in Parliamentary practice where a Speaker is elected at dawn on January 7, just a couple of hours from the investiture of the President-elect.
According to him, a change in the timing has become imperative in order to spare the nation the embarrassing spectacle that occurred during the recent election of the Speaker of the 8th Parliament.
He hinted of a plan to introduce a Private Members Bill to change the day of the Speakership election to January 6, one clear day to the swearing-in of the elected President.
Mr Boamah made the suggestion in an interview in Parliament and called for careful understanding of the issues and the exigencies of the current practice.
He averred that once the sitting President delivers his final Message on the State of the Nation and Parliament is dissolved, the process for the next Parliament should start.
According to him, suspension of the House till midnight after dissolution is unconstitutional because, in reality, the mandate of the Parliament has ended, hence there is even no House to suspend.
“We don’t go back into the chamber to transact business of the old Parliament.
“When we reconvene, it is the new Members of Parliament-elect who come into the Chamber. So what is the meaning of the suspension of Parliament after the President has given his Message on the State of the Nation and the House is dissolved,” he queried?
The Okaikwei Central legislator indicated that as a matter of course the state must consider changing the status quo and as a matter of being reasonable to the times.
The Constitution, he said, does not say Parliament expires at midnight but rather a day before the swearing-in of the new Parliament.
“In this instance, the President came to the House on January 5 and life of the 7th Parliament ended on January 6 midnight.
“What stops us putting in place measures, even by constitutional amendment to say after the President’s address, the next day January 6, MPs-elect shall convene and elect a speaker.
“So the new speaker will also have the time and flexibility to preside over the swearing-in of the new members and inauguration of the President on January 7.
“We shouldn’t think we know the Constitution so well and continue to embarrass ourselves,” he added.
According to him, the state has not learned lessons from events of 2005 when a similar scenario played out during election of the Hon. Begyina Sakyi Huges and Peter Ala Adjetey.
Conducting the speakership election on January 6 forenoon, he said, will offer enough time to trash out the differences and forestall any side coming with preconceived mind to hold the process at ransom.