An overview of the 1st Meeting of the 4th Session of the 8th Parliament


By the Media Relations Department, Parliament

The 1st Meeting of the 4th Session of the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana was a significant period in the country’s political scenery, characterised by various key occurrences and highlights that shaped the direction of governance.

The period witnessed remarkable events that molded the country’s legislative landscape. From engaging in legislative debates to the successful passage of crucial bills, Parliament played a pivotal role in addressing pressing national challenges and fostering progress. The meeting began on a historic note with the implementation of new Standing Orders (written rules regulating parliamentary proceedings), the previous one having undergone significant revisions, after serving Parliament for almost thirty years.

The revised Standing Orders introduced innovative practices and procedures including a roll call, the recital of the National Anthem and the National Pledge. Other provisions of the new Standing Orders include, the conduct of parliamentary business through virtual platforms, as well as open committee sittings, and a clear delineation of the hierarchy of Parliament’s leadership.

The provisions in the new Standing Orders are aimed at addressing the evolving needs of Ghana’s dynamic and hybrid parliamentary democracy and to enhance the effectiveness of parliamentary processes and procedures, in response to the changing landscape of Ghana’s political system.

Parliament has subsequently trained members and staff, Civil Society players and the Parliamentary Press Corps on the new Standing Orders.

The exiting of the Black Stars from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations at the group stage propelled the organizers of the “Save Ghana Football” demonstrators to present a 15-point petition to the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, which was received by Leadership of the House.

The petition elicited a passionate debate on the floor of Parliament. The petition was referred to the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture for investigation and report to the House.

This meeting recorded a novelty when a member presided over proceedings, in the absence of the Speaker and his two deputies. the Clerk to Parliament, pursuant to Standing Order 12(4), invited nominations from the House for a member to preside over the sitting as the Member Presiding. The MP for Sunyani East, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, was elected to chair proceedings for the day.

In subsequent days, the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, and Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond also took the Chair as Member Presiding due to the absence of the Speaker and his two deputies.

The long serving leader of the Majority Caucus was replaced by his Deputy as Majority Leader, following his announcement on the Floor of his resignation. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu made a statement in which he informed the House of his voluntary resignation as the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business.

The MP for Effutu, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin was selected as his replacement. As well, the nomination of the First Deputy Majority Whip, Lydia Seyram Alhassan as the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources necessitated further changes in the Leadership of the Majority Caucus as follows:

  1. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin- Majority Leader
  2. Patricia Appiagyei – Deputy Majority Leader
  • Frank Annoh-Dompreh- Majority Chief Whip –
  1. Habib Iddrisu- First Deputy Majority Whip
  2. Alex Tetteh Djornobuah- lSecond Deputy Majority Whip

Another notable event during this Meeting was the delivery of the Message on the State of the Nation by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution. The details of the President’s speech gave insights into the county’s development trajectory, challenges, and vision.

The meeting witnessed the introduction of some notable bills and legislative proposals aimed at addressing key issues facing the country.

These issues ranged from economic development to social welfare and governance reforms. Parliament passed significant Bills, including the Death Penalty Bill, Witchcraft Bill, Ghana Anti-doping Bill and the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill. The Bills received support from a coalition of Christian, Muslim, and Ghanaian traditional leaders, and backing among Members of Parliament.

Some of the bills are yet to be assented to by the President who, in various communications signed by his secretary to the Clerk to Parliament, assigned reasons including citing two pending legal actions at the Supreme Court, as reasons for his not being able to assent to the Bills.

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Bagbin described one of the letters as contemptuous of Parliament, the wrong application of dangerous legal principle of interim injunction and an affront to the tenets of democracy.

Speaker Bagbin in the same vain, brought to the attention of the House, the receipt of a process from the Court which sought to restrain the Speaker from proceeding with the vetting and approval of the names of the persons submitted by the President until the provisions of the Constitution are satisfied.

Applying the same principle, the Speaker stated that the House was unable to continue to consider the nominations of the President in the “spirit of upholding the rule of law “until after the determination of the application for an interlocutory injunction by the Supreme Court”.  A quotation he borrowed from the letter of the Secretary to the President.

There were somber and melancholic moments during the Meeting. The passing of Member for Ejisu and Deputy Minister for Finance, John Ampontuah Kumah on Thursday, 7th March 2024 was one such occasion.

The 1st Meeting of the 4th Session of the 8th Parliament of Ghana was marked by significant acts, critical to legislative and political development. The role of the Speaker of Parliament was crucial in facilitating productive debates and maintaining order in the Legislative Chamber.

He was instrumental in ensuring the smooth functioning of Parliament and upholding democratic principles. Parliament has since gone on recess and is expected to commence the Second Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament soon.

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