Declaring Dome-Kwabenya seat vacant is constitutional – Osei-Owusu …but Rickets-Hagan disagrees

Joseph Osei- Owusu, the Chairman of the Privileges Committee of Parliament, has maintained that it is a constitutional imperative for the seat of the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency in the Greater Accra Region to be declared vacant once the Member of Parliament (MP) failed to appear before the committee.

“The vacancy is automatic since Adwoa Safo, the MP for the constituency, despite several opportunities afforded her, failed to appear before the committee to explain why she was absent for more than 15 consecutive sittings,” he contended.

Earlier on why she had left her parliamentary and ministerial duties, she explained that her son was unwell and would return when his condition becomes stable and Ms Safo, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection is currently in the United States.

Mr Osei-Owusu, who is the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, indicated that the words of the Constitution were clear on MPs who absented themselves for 15 sittings, and did not seek permission from the Speaker of Parliament to be absent. Such MPs were to vacate their seat unless they give an explanation to the Privileges Committee to their satisfaction and explanation reasonable.

But Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, Ranking Member of the Privileges Committee, insisted that the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency seat had not been declared vacant contrary to assertions in public domain because Ms Safo failed to appear before the Privileges Committee and members of the committee agreed not to take decision on whether she had good reason to be absent from the House.

However, Mr Osei-Owusu, the MP for Bekwai Constituency in the Ashanti Region, noted that “it cannot be argued the Ms Safo was not heard when they offered her all the opportunities to offer an explanation and the onus is on her to avail herself not the committee to chase her.

“We used all the rules, procedures and went beyond all the procedures which Parliament stated we should use to reach her but we went beyond that and advertised at places where we know she is active on social media so, whatever effort the House ought to make to offer her facility to explain herself has been done.

“It is her choice whether to discharge that responsibility placed on her to offer reasonable explanation or not and if she chooses not to offer any explanation, then the law should apply,” Mr Osei-Owusu pointed out.

Mr Ricketts-Hagan stated that publications Dome-Kwabenya seat was vacant could not be true because only the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, could declare seats in the House and in the case of Ms Safo, the committee were unable to meet her, they agreed not to make any decision on her and to refer the issue to the Speaker.

Show More
Back to top button