Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the MP for Effutu, has said that the selection of a Speaker for the eighth parliament would have gone differently if the embattled member for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, had not voted.
Speaking to Kojo Mensah on The Asaase Breakfast Show, the Effutu lawmaker said the New Patriotic Party did everything it could to prevent the NDC MP from voting, contrary to assertions that it failed to stop him during the vote on Thursday (7 January).
“After opposing the court order, initially they said they had spoken to their colleague, and their colleague said he was going to bear personal liability and the consequence,” Afenyo-Markin told Asaase Radio.
“And the gentleman also said, ‘A court order has been brought to my notice, but notwithstanding I will proceed to disrespect the court order.’ ”
The NPP whip added, “Well, though the guy [Quayson] said he will be personally liable, they have achieved a bigger gain politically, because if the MP had not voted, the situation would have been different.”
Nothing to lose
He said the NPP did its best to avert the situation, contrary to the perception that it allowed the NDC MP to vote, despite an injunction from the Cape Coast high court barring Quayson from holding himself as the MP for Assin North.
“The order was against the person, not against Parliament,” Afenyo-Markin said. “It is not about NPP or the Clerk [to Parliament] not doing anything about it, but if the people were also determined to frustrate the process because they thought they had nothing to lose.”
The voting by MPs-elect led to Bagbin emerging as Speaker, winning 138 votes out of 274. One ballot was spoiled by an MP who reportedly ticked both choices of Speaker: the NPP candidate, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, and the NDC choice of Bagbin.
The ten hours of voting in the chamber of Parliament were marked by drama and disorder, with MPs from both sides snatching ballot papers and NDC members kicking over voting boots, attacking marshals and seizing the ballot box at one point.
Many members of the public have described MPs’ conduct on the night as disgraceful.
The high court in Cape Coast last week granted an injunction restraining James Gyakye Quayson from holding himself as the NDC’s MP-elect for Assin North in the Central Region, because of suspicions that he violated dual citizenship rules.
The judgment followed a petition against Quayson by Michael Ankoma-Nimfah, a mason and resident of Assin Bereku, a town in Assin North.
Quayson is accused of owing allegiance to Canada, contrary to Article 94 (1) (a) of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
According to Justice Kwadwo Boakye Tawiah, the complaints raised against the MP-elect warrant a full trial; thus, Quayson must stop describing himself as the incoming MP.