You can’t say anything because you’re MP – Bagbin to lawmakers

Speaker of Parliment Alban Bagbin Speaker of Parliment Alban Bagbin

The Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has sent a stern warning to Parliamentarians over how they conduct themselves outside the House, especially on radio and television.

His caution comes after Effutu MP Alexander Afenyo-Markin questioned the basis on which Tamale North MP Alhassan Suhuyini recommended that Assin South MP Kennedy Agyapong be referred to the privileges committee of the House.

The Speaker referred Mr Agyapong for investigation on alleged threats on the life of Multimedia journalists Erastus Asare Donkor.

Addressing the House, the Speaker said "I want to emphasize that it's the House that will take the decision and not the Speaker and it's not any other person apart from the House, that it will be your collective wisdom that will come to the conclusion whether what is alleged is just a mere allegation or it's supported by facts and whether those facts really do constitute contempt of the house and abuse of privilege of members."

"It's important for me to emphasize here that the privilege and humility of free speech apply in full force in plenary sessions and committee sessions. Not when members are outside debating issues on radio or TV. "

He went on to add that "you don't have that right, that privilege, that immunity to just say anything because you are an MP. Not at all. We are not above the law."

"It's for good reason because you represent a large number of people. You should be given the full immunity to be able to say what the people say they want you to say. That is why you say it here and you are covered. That immunity doesn't extend to you in the market square. Just say anything because you think you are a member of parliament. It doesn't apply at all."

He ended "so, please the committee should go into the matter, submit the report and I want to get the House to do this as a House. It's something that affects the whole House including members and I as Speaker, the representative of the House. When it deals with the image, the majesty, the reputation of the House, I have an interest. So, please I'm happy that the committee is chaired by no less a person than the first deputy speaker, I have confidence in him, and I know he'll do the right thing."