‘I changed how Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu dresses’ – Bagbin
Alban Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament, has recounted how he influenced the way his colleague, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu appears in the House.
According to him, his former colleague, who is now the Majority Leader, at the time he entered the House in 1997, understudied how he does his things both on the floor and at committee levels and eventually adopted his [Bagbin] fashion style when he became the Minority Leader in Parliament.
Addressing the Parliamentary press corps on Friday, October 28, 2022, Bagbin recalled that the Majority Leader arrived in Parliament always in suits but that he started blending with traditional attire after taking a cue from Bagbin’s style.
“…my very good friend Majority Leader, he came in 1997 at that time I was the Chairman of the Committee of Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; the current President was my ranking member from 1997 to 2000; he [Majority Leader] was just a beginner.
“So, he was lucky by his stature that he got deputy whip when I was Minority Leader. So, from time to time he followed my delegations.
“Most of the areas that he is now, I was there before him; I was in leadership and so he understudied very well. He succeeded me and I even changed his code of dressing – he used to be in suit always – when he became the Minority Leader, I had worn the traditional dressers throughout so, he changed…”
Addressing recent instances of legislative spats between the two of them, Bagbin said, even though he is sometimes uncomfortable about his interjections on the floor of the House, he welcomes every input that Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu makes regarding some of his decisions.
Bagbin told the Parliamentary Press Corps that it is in the nature of the proceedings of the House for members to agree to disagree on some of the decisions taken therefore, he usually does not comment on disagreements when it happens.
“I don’t usually want to comment on the disagreements because we are entitled to agree to disagree and so I usually welcome disagreement and then we can test them upwards. Even in the Supreme Court itself, there is always serious disagreement there and even sometimes, a decision can be unanimous but after a month they will see that they erred…
“We are human, we can err and so when someone says I disagree with you, don’t hurt because his perspective might be different from yours…,” he explained.
“I always welcome his disagreement even though I always feel uncomfortable about it. Any disagreement is welcome,” Alban Bagbin stressed.
On Wednesday, Speaker Alban Bagbin ruled that the Privileges Committee’s report on the fate of Dome-Kwabenya legislator, Sarah Adwoa Safo, is not final.
The Committee in its report on the absenteeism of Adwoa Safo from parliamentary meetings recommended that her seat be declared vacant for failing to provide an explanation for her absence.
But delivering the much-anticipated ruling, the Speaker noted that the report of the Committee must be tabled before the whole House for a decision to be made.
“It is for the House that will go through it because the mandate given to an MP, representation is so crucial that it cannot be left to the subjective view of any person or group of people but the whole house”, Speaker Bagbin said on the floor on Wednesday.
However, this did not go down well with the Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu. The Majority Leader who doubles as the Suame MP said the ruling is “unfortunate.”
“I am expressing my discomfort with this unfortunate ruling that you have made. I totally disagree. I think it doesn’t sit with the Constitution and with your own earlier statements that you made in this House relating to those same things. Very inconsistent,” he retorted.
This reaction caused another clash between himself and the Speaker who did not take the comment lightly.
Alban Bagbin demanded a retraction to which the MP reluctantly obliged.
In a subsequent press conference, the Suame MP added that “the Speaker is totally wrong in his understanding of the Constitution”.
He said the Speaker’s ruling flouts Article 97 of the law which the Speaker quoted as the justification for his ruling.