Speaker of Parliament challenges presidential authority on Anti-Gay Bill following

Ezekiel Nsoh
Ezekiel Nsoh
5 Min Read

The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Alban Bagbin has unequivocally asserted the constitutional imperative for the President to accept the transmission of the Anti-gay bill.

His statement was in response to H. E President of the Republic, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akuffo Addo’s letter to parliament which demanded that the pending Anti-Gay bill which was passed in parliament would not be sent to his office for approval until lawsuits involving the bill’s transmission are fully resolved. The letter, which was written to the House by the President’s Secretary Nana Bediatuo Asante, explained that the decision to not progress the bill’s future was based on counsel from the Attorney-General.

Speaking on the floor of parliament on March 20, 2024, Hon. Bagbin emphasized the crucial role of Parliament in upholding democratic principles while responding to the letter asking the Clerk of Parliament not to remit the Anti-gay bill to the president.

Whilst underscoring the grave consequences of executive overreach and its threats to democratic checks and balances, he condemned the disregard for legislative processes, which undermines both the legislature’s integrity and the citizens’ representation.

“The implications of such executive actions extend far beyond the immediate legislative items at hand. They erode the foundational checks and balances that our forbearers painstakingly established to ensure a vibrant and functioning democracy. When important legislative work, the product of rigorous debates and consensus building within this House, is disregarded without just cause, it not only disrespects the legislative branch but also disenfranchises the citizens that we are sworn to serve.”

“This blatant disregard for legislative processes and constitutional mandates risks setting a perilous precedent that could weaken the very fabric of our governance structure honourable members, on the 19th of March, 2024, my attention was drawn to a letter issued by the executive secretary to the president, Nana Asante, the Nana Asante Bediatuo, addressed the Clark to Parliament, which letter is clearly, in my opinion, contemptuous of Parliament.”

The Speaker emphasized the critical importance of adhering to constitutional and legal frameworks in democratic governance noting that the President’s refusal to accept a bill contradicts constitutional and statutory provisions governing the legislative process.

“The Constitution clearly delineates the steps to be followed once a bill has been passed by Parliament, mandating the transmission of the bill to the President for assent or rejection. Therefore, the refusal to even accept the bill for consideration falls outside the legal bounds established by our constitutional framework. It is incumbent upon the President to accept the bill and take the necessary action within the prescribed constitutional limits, whether that action is assent, refusal, or referral to the Council of State for advice.”

Hon. Bagbin further stressed the President’s obligation to follow lawful procedures by accepting the bill’s transmission calling for collective commitment to upholding the constitution and strengthening democratic practices. He emphasized the impasse as a chance to reaffirm respect for democracy, hence affirming Parliament’s adherence to the legal framework and rejection of attempts to influence its proceedings.

The controversial Anti-LGBT bill, which was first presented in parliament first in 2021, was finally passed few weeks ago in parliament, with its transmission still in the works , due to the delay on the part of the president’s office.

Meanwhile, the Speaker also halted the vetting of about 21 nominees to ministerial and deputy ministerial posts, including two for the finance ministry. According to the speaker, the vetting of the minister and deputy minister designates will only resume once the Anti-LGBT bill has been approved.

Story by: Nsoh Ezekiel | univers.ug.edu.gh

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