MAJORITY OF Members of Parliament yesterday abandoned the legislature, leaving the House virtually empty at the commencement of public business.
Nine out of 228 MPs in the 230-member Parliament were present in the House as at 10:30 a.m., compelling the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho to suspend sitting for about an hour for quorum to be formed.
Only three MPs from the Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) and 40 members of the majority National Democratic Congress (NDC) were present in the House when sitting resumed at about 11:30 a.m.
Those present at the NPP side were MP for New Juaben North Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, MP for Effia Kwesimintim, Joe Baidoe-Ansah and MP for Ayawaso West Wagon, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, who represented the minority front bench.
Incidentally, these three lawmakers were not contesting in the 2012 general elections.
It was not officially explained why the MPs deserted the House, however some of the lawmakers attributed the absence of their colleagues to the exhibition of the voters' register throughout the country, especially when the Electoral Commission Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan had reportedly urged the lawmakers to actively participate in the exercise.
Most of the MPs, DAILY GUIDE was told, were in their constituencies to supervise the exhibition process as yesterday was supposed to be the last day for the exercise.
Minority NPP had last Friday pleaded with Speaker Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo to suspend sitting yesterday to allow MPs to supervise the voters' register exhibition exercise.
The Minority caucus contented that since MPs were part of the electoral process, it was important that they helped in the exercise.
However, Speaker Bamford-Addo declined the request and this might have explained why majority of the MPs from the Minority side were absent.
Parliament was recalled on September 3, 2012, for a special sitting, ostensibly to consider the controversial Constitutional Instrument (CI 78) that was supposed to give legal backing to the creation of 45 new constituencies by the Electoral Commission (EC).
The CI which had changed from CI 73, 77 to CI 78, was supposed to mature after 21 parliamentary sitting days around October 3, 2012, barely two months to the general elections.
The intended creation of the 45 new constituencies had generated heat in and outside Parliament with both Minority NPP and Majority NDC holding separate news conferences for and against the timing of the new seats.
Whilst the NPP, together with some civil society groups, Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and Trades Union Congress (TUC), were calling the Electoral Commission to postpone the creation of the new seats until the general elections because of bad timing, the NDC was fully backing the Commission to go ahead and create the new seats for the December 7 general elections.
By Awudu Mahama