Alban Sumani Bagbin has been elected Speaker of the eighth parliament of the Fourth Republic. He has since been sworn in as the new Speaker.
Joe Osei-Owusu, the NPP MP for Bekwai in the Ashanti Region, and Andrew Asiamah Amoako, the independent MP for Fomena, also in the Ashanti Region, have been elected as the First and Second Deputy Speakers of the eighth parliament.
Earlier in the day (Thursday 7 January), counting of votes was suspended in the tense selection of a Speaker of Parliament when a New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP-elect, Carlos Ahenkorah, snatched the ballot papers during counting.
The MP-elect for Tema West interrupted the process when the NDC side began to jubilate, sensing that the NPP’s preferred candidate for Speaker, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, had probably lost.
It took lawmakers on the opposite side and security officials to chase Ahenkorah to retrieve the yet-to-be counted papers.
There was pandemonium in Ghana’s Parliament at dawn on Thursday as the House ushered in the eighth parliament, following the 7 December general election.
MPs-elect went berserk and held up proceedings for well over four hours before a new Speaker could be selected.
Tempers flared as the Clerk to Parliament, who was presiding over the voting exercise, initially ruled that the MP-elect for Assin North, James Gyekye Quayson (NDC), could not take part in the election, because of a court injunction.
This decision did not go down well with the National Democratic Congress MPs-elect, and pockets of shoving and pushing emerged in the chamber. The marshals of Parliament had a tough time restoring order in the House.
At one point, as the physical challenges ceased and counting of votes began, the MP-elect for Asawase in the Ashanti Region, Muntaka Mubarak (NDC), led a charge to snatch the ballot box. Other parliamentarians kicked over the voting booths. A melee ensued in the chamber, in the full glare of the public.
Armed military men had to intervene on the floor of the House to calm tempers, but this provoked the opposition MPs, who chanted patriotic songs and hooted at the security men to leave the House.
“We’ll resist oppressors’ rule … away!” the NDC MPs chanted.
After a while, the military had to leave the House. Once that was done, calm was restored.
Currently, Alban Bagbin is the longest-serving Member of Parliament, having sat in the House since 1993, when the first parliament under the Fourth Republic was inaugurated.
He has held a number of positions in Parliament since 1994 and capped his lawmaking career with the ultimate titles: Majority Leader and Leader of the House.
In the first parliament of the Fourth Republic, he was made the chairman of the parliamentary committee on subsidiary legislation and vice-chairman of the parliamentary committee on mines and energy, as well as a member of the committee on local government and rural development.
In the second parliament of the Fourth Republic, Bagbin was the chairman of the parliamentary committee on constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs, with oversight responsibilities for the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Electoral Commission, National Commission on Civic Education, Office of Parliament and Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
He was also chairman of Parliament’s public accounts committee from 2001 to 2005 and vice-chairman of the appointments committee.
He decided not to run for Parliament in the 2020 election.