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SPEAKER’S FULL ADDRESS ON SECOND MEETING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE 8TH PARLIAMENT OF THE FOURTH REPUBLIC 

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ADDRESS BY THE RT. HON. ALBAN SUMANA KINGSFORD BAGBIN, SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT, AT THE OPENING OF THE SECOND MEETING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE 8TH PARLIAMENT OF THE FOURTH REPUBLIC ON TUESDAY, 6TH JUNE 2023

HON MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
I welcome you all to the Session Meeting of the Third Session of the 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic. The recess has been long and very eventful. I believe it offered you enough time and space to interact with your constituents. It also provided some of you, particularly the minority members, an opportunity to account to the sovereign people of Ghana resident in your Constituency your stewardship as their elected and legitimate representatives in government. You further sought an extension of your mandate from your party delegates at the primaries.
The Minority primaries
Let me on behalf of parliament congratulate the members who were able to make it through the constituency primaries. I have been in those shoes many times and I know how difficult the primaries can be, particularly for members from constituencies considered strongholds of your party. To those who were not successful at securing an extension or renewal of the mandate from your constituents to represent your people in the 2024 elections, I congratulate you for the healthy competition you offered, and the humility, maturity, grace and dignity exhibited in accepting defeat and committing to support the lucky ones. I assure you that the outcome of the primaries is not the end of one’s political life, no matter how unfavourable you might consider it to be. I am a firm believer in what Bob Marley, the revered Jamaican musician said, “When one door is closed, many more are opened”.
There are so many ways of serving humanity and Ghana, and parliament is just one of them. You may also take a cue from Hon. Collins Dauda, Hon. Cletus Avorka and others who have mastered the art of staging very impressive comebacks to lead and serve their constituents. For now, it is very important that you remain your honourable and patriotic selves and continue to commit yourself to the oath which you swore to your constituents and the good people of Ghana and live by it. You still have in excess of one-and-a-half years to serve as MP. Do not allow the outcome of the primaries to detract you from your focus as a member of this honorable House.

Mr. Speaker during the recess
During the recess, I led a parliamentary delegation to pay a working visit to Westminster in London where we had various meetings with members of the British Parliament from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The meetings were very fruitful and insightful. We shared perspectives on various issues as well as some best practices. There was a lot of interest in Ghana by members of both Houses. As a result, there were many other side meetings that were requested, in addition to the main programme for our visit. All the meetings turned out well.
I was also privileged to deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 2023 First Ordinary Session of Benin’s Parliament, and the swearing-in of the Rt. Hon. Louis Gbehounou Vlavonou as Speaker of the 9th Parliament of Benin. The delegation I led held private discussions with the Speaker, who was as passionate as we were to further deepen the bond of friendship between the parliaments of our two countries.
Additionally, I attended an urgent call of colleague and friend, Rt Hon Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to assume interim position of the Speaker of the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) and the African Speakers’ Debt Cancellation Campaign Initiative (DCCI). We discussed a number of issues including how to sustain parliamentary democracy in Africa and make the incidence of frequent military take-overs a thing of history. With your support, I believe I would be able to provide the right guidance to add value and to advance further the objectives of COSAP particularly to achieve debt cancellation for African countries during my tenure as the President.

The Supreme Court ruling on the Assin North Constituency.
Hon. Members, the Supreme Court has ordered Parliament to expunge the name of Hon. James Gyakye Quayson as Member of Parliament for the Assin North Constituency, after declaring his election unconstitutional and consequently the swearing-in of the member as unconditional, null and void and of no effect. According to the court, the processes leading to his election were in violation of Article 94 (2)(a) of the Constitution. It held that at the time Hon. Quayson filed his nomination to contest for the seat, he had not renounced his Canadian citizenship and thus owed allegiance to a country other than Ghana. The court faulted the Electoral Commission (EC) for permitting him to contest the election. Parliament has therefore been ordered to expunge the name of James Gyakye Quayson as member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency.
The judgement was served on Parliament through me and on your behalf I directed the Clerk to Parliament to, in accordance with the Constitution notify the Electoral Commission of the occurrence of a vacancy in the Assin North Constituency. The Clerk has since then notified the EC to take the appropriate consequential action as required by law. The rest is well known to all of you. I need not bore you with it.
Parliament will have to dispassionately consider the next course of action, I e how to comply with the order of the Supreme Court “to expunge the name of James Gyakye Quayson as a member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency.” The House is to decide on the procedure to do so and not the Speaker. I count on your good judgement in this matter. I am however enjoined by the Standing Orders of Parliament to make provision as I deem fit, since no procedure has been laid down by any rules of practice of the House to comply with this new development of an order on a declaratory judgement.
The Kumawu Bye-election
Hon Members, you recall the painful demise of our former colleague, the late Philip Basoah, the former member of Parliament for the Kumawu constituency. This created a vacancy in the Kumawu constituency and had to be filled by the conduct of a by-election. The EC proceeded, in accordance with provisions of the Constitution and enabling legislations to conduct a by-election on the 23rd of May 2023..
The outcome of the by-election as captured by the Writ of Election, produced the newest member of Parliament, in the person of Mr. Ernest Yaw Anim as Member of Parliament elect. I am informed he is available, and ready to be sworn in to assume his mandate as the legitimate and duly elected representative of the people of the Kumawu Constituency. At the conclusion of my welcome remarks, I will duly perform that duty of swearing-in the said Mr. Ernest Yaw Anim as the MP for the Kumawu Constituency.
Our current meeting
Hon. Members, may I remind you that this second meeting promises to be an activity-packed one. Before we went on recess, I informed you of a number of activities planned for the 30th-anniversary celebration of the Fourth Republican Parliament, which will commence during this meeting. It is a year long celebration and involves a number of activities such as lectures, roundtable discussions, games, public symposium and forums across the country.
I have been informed by the Planning Committee that the celebrations will commence on Thursday 15th June 2023 with smock Parliament and debate in Wa, followed by a public forum in Tamale on Friday 16th June 2023. On Saturday 17th June 2023, a peace walk and fun games involving sitting and Former Members and MMDCEs in the Region will take place at Bolgatanga. Hon members are enjoined to participate fully in these activities I will deliver the keynote address in Tamale at the public forum. I direct the Clerk to share the details of the entire program will all members and Staff.

Hon members, we also have to plan and host the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference here in Ghana. The CPA Conference is scheduled to take place from 30th September to 6th October 2023.
The nature of these events requires the involvement of every one of us and not just a committed few. I wish to urge the NCCE, members of the media, particularly the Parliamentary Press CORPS, and Civil Society organization’s to partner with the communication team of the planning committee to help promote these events, and by extension, help sustain parliamentary democracy and the image and reputation of Ghana’s Parliament. It is an opportune time to reach out to our people to explain the concept and practice of multiparty democracy especially the option we chose as a country.
In addition to the above, this meeting will consider 69 bills which are at various stages. Five of them are Private Members’ Bills. There are 56 Instruments for presentation, 165 papers to be laid, 16 Public Motions, the revised Standing Orders of Parliament readily comes up for mention. We also have to consider 13 Private Members’ Motions among many others. This meeting also has 700 questions – 11 of them are urgent questions – from Members of Parliament directed at Ministers of State and heads of state institutions. We indeed have a busy schedule on our hands.
Serving the interest of the citizens
Honourable Members, as we reconvene in the House here today, let us commit to continue to serve the people of Ghana with integrity and dedication. Parliamentary work is such that whatever decisions we take have a direct impact on the people. It is for this reason that every work we undertake, every loan we approve, and every bill we consider must be done with due care and attention and in accord with due diligence rules. And most importantly, aligned with the hopes and aspirations of our people.
It is for this reason that when the Bills are brought before the House, efforts are made to ensure that all concerns are thoroughly addressed. In fact, the committee looking at the Bill on the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values reports that over 300 memoranda were presented to the committee and hearings were given to all of them. I am encouraged by the interest this bill has generated, especially the recent pursuit of a legal course of action by a Ghanaian citizen.
Conclusion
Let us all continue to be guided by civility, decorum, and respect for one another in our conduct in the House. As representatives of the people, we must set a good example in our daily interactions with one another. We must also be reminded that in the kind of parliament that we have today, it is only through dialogue, collaboration and compromise that we can effectively address the needs of our diverse population and achieve our common goals. I am confident that with your cooperation and dedication, we can make meaningful progress toward improving upon the lives of all Ghanaians.
I wish you all a productive and successful meeting.
Thank you.

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