The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has stated that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) cannot remove Sarah Adwoa Safo, a Dome-Kwabenya MP, from parliament without going through parliament.
He stated at an Editors’ roundtable that political parties do not have the authority to remove their members of parliament.
According to Mr. Bagbin, parliament has its own internal procedures for removing legislators, and the constitutional basis for such measures is explicitly defined.
“When I hear my NPP colleagues declare they have removed Adwoa Safo, I wonder if they have that power. You can utilize your party to kick her out as a member, which could have some constitutional ramifications.
“However, you can’t just sit down and say you’ve removed her because only the Speaker has the authority to declare the position empty,” he explained.
Since the current Parliament began sitting, the Dome-Kwabenya MP has been chastised by some of her colleagues for being missing from Parliament.
They accuse her of keeping the Majority Caucus hostage, citing the required votes to enact the contentious E-levy law.
Adwoa Safo is accused of wanting to be appointed Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, a post she held in the last Parliament, and then refusing to attend since her request was denied.
Some NPP leaders have asked for Adwoa Safo’s expulsion from parliament, but Alban Bagbin says that while the troubled legislator may be dismissed from her political party, they do not have the ability to remove her from parliament.
Members of Parliament who skip 15 or more legislative sittings in a meeting without the Speaker’s written authorization are required to quit their seats, according to Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution.
According to Bagbin, Adwoa Safo or any other member who is found to have broken the constitution in this regard will be brought before the Privileges Committee and forced to explain why they have been absent for so long.
Our constitution does not mention it being consecutive, but I have received reports from civil society calculating it on a session and just adding your days of absence and claiming you should have relinquished your position. However, when I read a lot of cases in other jurisdictions, they said that if a member misses fifteen consecutive sitting days in a meeting, the Speaker will be called upon to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee, which will invite the member to come and explain why he or she missed the meeting without the Speaker’s permission.”
“If a reasonable cause is offered, the person will not be required to leave his or her seat.” It occurs when the committee makes a decision