‘I’ve not said in any interview that I gave Adwoa Safo permission on health grounds’ – Alban Bagbin
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin, has denied saying during any interview, that he gave permission to the Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, to absent herself from the House, on health grounds.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, he stressed that such reports are false, and urged the public to dismiss them accordingly.
According to him, Parliament has its own mechanisms to determine whether an MP is present or absent; which doesn’t fall under his jurisdiction. He therefore indicated his readiness to address the issue of MPs absenteeism in subsequent sittings.
“It’s important I diffuse some fake news, which is being circulated that I granted an interview to say that Honorable Adwoa Safo received permission from me to absent herself from Parliament on health grounds. I want it to be known by all; that I have not granted any such interview anywhere. I’ve not said anything like that anywhere.
And the votes and proceedings of the House are so loud that if she’s absent without permission for all those days, that’s on the votes and proceedings of the House.
It’s not the Speaker who determines who’s present and who’s absent. No. The votes and proceedings will capture those who’re present, those who’re absent and those who’re absent with permission. And so please; I’ve received a lot of calls from a number of media men on that issue. And that’s why I don’t want to delay in letting the world know that I have not said any such thing anywhere. Please. And tomorrow, I’m going to address the issue of absentee MPs very very clearly for everybody to understand”, Alban Bagbin emphasised.
The clarification by the Speaker was in connection with a series of developments, surrounding the Dome Kwabenya MP, who was last seen in Parliament on December 1, 2021.
Since then, some of her colleague MPs have accused her of deliberately absenting herself to sabotage the Majority in Parliament. According to them, Adwoa Safo is making some outrageous demands from government before she appears in Parliament to support the conduct of government business.
Meanwhile, a former Chief of Staff and leading member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, has also expressed concerns over the alleged acts of sabotage by the Dome Kwabenya MP.
Speaking in an interview with Raymond Acquah on UpFront on Wednesday, Mr. Mpiani reiterated that, Adwoa Safo’s continued absence from Parliament does not augur well for the party.
Reacting to allegations that, Adwoa Safo is asking to be made the Deputy Majority Leader before she resumes duty, the veteran politician questioned her sense of entitlement in that regard.
“It’s the side that decides who to be the leader, who should be the deputy leader. So if the Majority side, I believe in consultation with the general party, has decided that somebody should be a deputy leader, no member of the House can say, ‘give me this position’. On what basis are you asking that, that position is given to you?
Because that’s the decision of the Majority in consultation with the party. So if they’ve taken the decision, why should they remove the person who’s there and give his position to you? What special qualification do you have so that you think you must be made the deputy leader. I don’t know if it’s true, but I hope it’s not true”, he stated.
He also added that “She was the deputy because the Majority and party at that time decided that she should be the deputy. With this new Parliament, they say no, you can’t be the deputy. Fortunately for you, the President has made you a Minister of State. So how can you say that give this position to me by all means?
Is there any special reason why she should be made the deputy leader. I don’t know. I don’t even see a way in entertaining something like that. If that’s what she’s asking for, me I don’t know”.
Mr. Mpiani however stated that since he is not fully aware of the circumstances of Adwoa Sarfo’s absence from Parliament, his comments on the MP’s alleged demands cannot be conclusive.
He therefore urged the Majority in Parliament, and the leadership of the New Patriotic Party, to delve into the root of the problem, and deal with the issues decisively.
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