First, I must state that these are my views and my personal understanding of the situation before Parliament. I shall be readily accommodating to learn of anything contrary views:
1. On the face value, Madam Adwoa Sarfo has been off the House of Parliament for many months, raising concerns.
2. Her absence from the House, from the face of it, has crossed the constitutionally allowed period after which she is expected to lose her seat.
3. Just as we have Acts promulgated, they require regulations to provide the very details that would make the Act of Parliament functionally sensible. As a result, even though Adwoa, on the face of it, may be guilty of the offences of absence ‘without permission’, she must be brought before a committee for proper investigations. This would effort her fair hearing.
3. The investigations would provide: what do the records of attendance say? Did she consistently miss Parliament on the stipulated maximum number of days she was allowed to be absent without any interference? Here, interference means, was there a time that before the expiration of the said maximum days, she sought permission from the Speaker? The records must be interrogated to establish that.
4. Then she must be offered an opportunity to be heard and to provide the said committee clothed with the powers to look into the matter, why, if she was guilty of the initial inquiries, she must not suffer the consequences of her conduct.
5. So, upon the face value, the Speaker referred her case, in addition to Henry Quartey and Kennedy Agyapong to the Privileges Committee of Parliament for a probe and a report to be presented to the House.
6. Remember, the Privileges Committee, is a Standing Committee of the House of Parliament, and works on behalf of the House, but, does not represent the House.
7. The Committee sat, and concluded their investigations. What remains in contention now, is how the report should be treated.
8. This is where the Minority side is seen to be defending Adwoa Sarfo while the Majority side is demanding that she be declared to have lost her seat.
9. The matter in contention currently, is on whether or not, the Privileges Committee Report by its self, suo motu, must represent the finality of her case and those of the two others.
10. The contention, and disagreement from the side of the Minority which was advanced by Hon. Muntaka was that, if the said procedure that is being pushed by the Majority side is allowed to stand, it would spell doom for the House such that one day, a Speaker could connive with the Majority side to remove MPs from Parliament because he doesn’t like the MPs.
11. It is important to recall that, based on the composition of the House, based on the even figures of the NDC and the NPP in Parliament, the numbers on the Privileges Committee are even, and only separated by the Chairman of the Committee who has a voting right, and who could exercise the right when there is a tie on decisions at the committee level.
12. In this specific matter, Mrs. Adwoa Sarfo is a member of the Majority group. They want her out. Which means that if the NDC side votes her to stay, and the entire NPP side on the Committee votes for her expulsion, the Chairman who is a member of the Majority side, would add his vote to the NPP side and Adwoa, at the Committee level, would lose her seat.
13. It is important to state that, the House of Parliament has many committees. Committees in the House, are either Standing Committees of Ad hoc committees. Standing Committees are those stipulated in the Standing Orders which are constituted based on dictates, considering the composition of the House. Ad hoc committees are those that are set up temporarily to look into specific matters and upon completion of their work, they are dissolved. The House has other Committees such as Finance Committee, Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Business Committee, among others.
14. Even the work of the Business Committee, a committee which is Headed by the Speaker, is brought before the House for decision and adoption. The Finance Committee, on countless occasions, have laid their reports which were considered at Committee level for the House to debate and Pass.
15. One then wonders, why, suddenly, report from the Privileges Committee is supposed to take effect by itself without being debated. From the position of the Majority, as soon as the report is brought before the House, that means the report is effected without any further decision by the House. In this case, they are making the Privileges Committee assume the responsibility of representing the House and having the power of the House as a whole.
16. This move was what the Speaker ruled on. In the Supreme wisdom of the Speaker, the Privileges Committee only has such powers assigned it by the House and does not represent the House in decision making. The Speaker therefore holds that whatever the reports contain in the matter of Henry Quartey, Kennedy Agyapong and Adwoa Sarfo, it must be laid on the Floor, and be treated like any other committee report before it and after it. To him, the content of the report from the committee, must be laid and members allowed to debate it and a decision taken by the general House.
17. Per this, after the debate, the Speaker would then put the question, “as many as are in favour, say aye, as many as are against, say nay”. After the Speaker’s decision as to whether the “ayes have it” or “the nos/nays have it”, any member who disagrees with the voice decision can call for a head count and subsequently, vote by secret ballot. This is the process.
18. Question then is, what would be the implication and the fate of Adwoa Sarfo if the NPP as a political party decides to sack her from the party? Would she continue to hold on her seat after losing status from the party on whose ticket she contested to come to Parliament? If she would lose her seat by that singular act of the party to sack her, why are they now making things complex for Parliament and engaging in these gymnastics instead of going straight to sack her to end all these drama?
My little take!