Full text: Majority’s response to the Minority on withdrawal of security detail of Speaker Alban Bagbin

full text majoritys response to the minority on withdrawal of security detail of speaker alban bagbin
Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu

The attention of the Majority Caucus has been drawn to the statement from the Minority Caucus in respect of the withdrawal of military detail from the Speaker of Parliament. We have also listened to comments on the same subject matter on various radio platforms most of which do not relate to the truth and are simply unfortunate narrations.

The matters that should be of concern to the nation are the following:

1. First, in the history of the 4th Republic all the Speakers have been provided with police protection and not military protection. It is only Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Bagbin who made a request to the Minister of Defence for Military protection and the Minister bent backwards to accommodate him. This has not been a regular feature in Parliamentary Security considerations.

2. The police protection for Rt. Hon. A.S.K. Bagbin have always been in place. He has four police officers in his known residence. He has three police officers in his secretariat and he has five other policemen in and around the Speaker’s office block any day any time. Indeed, none of the previous Speakers had half of the police cover as has been accorded Rt. Hon. Bagbin. It must be emphasised for the record that Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has been served with the largest number of security personnel for his protection that none of the previous Speakers had.

3. In the event, if the military insist on regularising his security detail how does that compromise the Speaker’s security, or put him in harm’s way as the Speaker himself has stated?

4. The statement from the Speaker’s office emphasises that the withdrawal of the military personnel is an attempt to gag Mr. Bagbin. It is difficult to comprehend the meaning of this. Speakers are supposed to be neutral umpires or referees in Parliament. They are supposed to listen to Members in silence and not participate in debates. They make rulings when called upon to do so by Members. The rulings must conform to the Rules of Procedure of the House otherwise referred to as Standing Orders. In that regard the Speakers lose their persona whilst presiding. Therefore, what voice does the Speaker have that is being muted or gagged?

5. Following from the principle of bending backwards to accommodate the Speaker, the Minister for Defence has on occasions availed Casa-Air Plane and Helicopters to carry the Speaker to his Region and home village. Again, when the Speaker was invited to Nigeria the Presidential jet was placed at his disposal. These facilities have not been accorded the previous Speakers. It does appear that the Rt. Hon. Bagbin is unappreciative of these gestures from the state.

6. The Speaker of Parliament, in terms of precedence, is the third gentleman of the land and one expects that when he is exiting the jurisdiction he must inform the presidency ahead of time since the Speaker is the person to act as the President in the absence of the President and the Vice President. In all the many travels of the Speaker in 2021 he did not find it worthy to inform the Office of the President. What is the import of that?

7. On January 7, 2021 in response to an invitation to ensure peace in Parliament the military entered the grounds of Parliament, the Minority Caucus subsequently raised issues about the intervention of the military. Whereas they had condemned the military, less than two weeks to the January 7, 2021 incident, the Speaker instructed the Clerk to write to procure the services of the military for him. The paradox is worth noting. Truth is sacrosanct.

8. Rt. Hon. Bagbin is the only Speaker who has invited serving military officers to serve in Parliament. Parliament now has a serving Colonel as the Marshal of Parliament. This has never happened in Parliament since 1957. If, in the opinion of the Speaker, the police have some deficiency, shouldn’t all of us work to cure any deficiency so detected?

9. Now the Minority Caucus’ statement states that the action by the military High Command is politically motivated. What is the proof? Or is it the case that they consider that since the Rt. Hon. Bagbin is NDC he is there to do the bidding of NDC and hence any critique of the Speaker or any action aimed at the Speaker is a critique of or action against the NDC, and therefore should be considered as being politically motivated? The people of Ghana know better and certainly can make the distinction between truth and sheer propaganda.