Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye, has called off planned recess for Members of Parliament, telling them; “we cannot go on holidays because we are not in normal times.”
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, in response described the move as shocking and dictatorial, insisting his side of the House will not accept it because the Speaker has no power to do so.
The First Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament was expected to adjourn indefinitely on Saturday, April 4, 2020, so the House can rise and go on recess.
MPs were expected to return in about two months, for the Second Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament.
But Prof. Mike Oquaye told MPs on Saturday evening, he would rather suspend sitting indefinitely because Ghana is not in normal times (in reference to the Covid-19 pandemic).
He chastised Ningo Prampram MP, Samuel George, for writing a letter to him indicating he will no longer participate in proceedings in the house at a time Covid–19 is spreading because the House was not dealing with emergency issues. He went on to lay out a tall list of businesses the House dealt with which he said was crucial to the nation’s development.
Per the standing orders which guide the work of Parliament, if the Speaker adjourns sitting, he will have to give a 14-day notice to Members of Parliament before the House can be recalled.
But in deciding to extend the first meeting of the fourth session, the MPs can take their break but the Speaker can recall them on any day he chooses to, without the 14-day notice.
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, told the House he was “shell shocked” by the action of the Speaker because he has no power to extend sitting. He criticised the Speaker for lack of consultation on the decision.
Some Minority MPs were almost walking out of the chamber after the Minority Leader challenged the Speaker but resumed their seats to allow for the Majority Leader to comment on the Speaker’s decision.
Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu told MPs the Majority Caucus has decided to donate GH¢100,000 to government to support the fight against Coronavirus.
Prof. Mike Oquaye in the course of his address disclosed to MPs he had taken the Covid-19 test about three days ago and it turned out negative.
Prof Mike Oquaye has gone ahead to suspend sitting indefinitely instead of adjourning indefinitely.