Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, the Minority Chief Whip in Parliament, has advocated biometric registration devices to be installed in Parliament to check the absenteeism of members.
He noted that the best way to handle the absenteeism of Members of Parliament (MPs) was to have a biometric registration as they entered the Chamber.
“And I don’t know how difficult this is, that we are not doing it. I can attest to the fact that for over a decade we’ve been constantly complaining about this,” Alhaji Mubarak said on the Floor on Friday during a discussion on the records of the Votes and Proceedings of the House for Thursday, March 10.
It would be recalled that on Thursday, due to the lack of quorum to conduct business, the Speaker had to adjourn sitting to Friday, March 11.
The House needed 92 members to form a quorum but only 42 were present out of the 275 membership, after a headcount announced by the Speaker.
This included the First Deputy Speaker, who was presiding as Speaker.
However, the Votes and Proceedings recorded by the House on Thursday indicated that 118 MPs were present in the Chamber, meaning names were written for people who were not in the Chamber.
Alhaji Mubarak said it did happen that sometimes Members of the House, who were in attendance, were marked absent when they were in the Chamber.
“Like yesterday, I saw the Majority Leader in the Chamber, I also saw the Minority Leader in the Chamber, yet they were marked absent”.
“Some other members that we never saw in the Chamber are marked present.”
Alhaji Mubarak, MP for Asawase, urged his colleagues to take their work very seriously.
“Mr Speaker, we sincerely have to find out those who have made it their business to contract people who would be writing their names when they are not here,” he said.
“And Mr Speaker, I think that we may now have to task the Clerk to device a means of detecting this. And I don’t want to believe that it is we the members ourselves who are doing that; because then that will be most shameful”.
“As a Member, I will sign for myself and then sign for another colleague when I know he is not here. I don’t think that will be right but we should be able to overcome this.”
He noted that the easiest way forward was to have a biometric register and “since each MP’s bios differs from the other, once I clock-in and I enter the Chamber and you also clock-in, there is no way ambiguity can arise”.
“But so long as we leave it on this sheet, and people look and stretch their necks to see who is in the Chamber or who is not, we may not have the true reflection of members present.”
“Or at the time that I am in; like the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader, yesterday; those mark the register might have even gone to the washroom, before they come, they are out, they will mark them absent.
Mr Habib Iddrisu, the Deputy Majority Chief Whip, who presented the business of the House on Thursday said he was also marked absent in the Votes and Proceedings.
Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker, presiding as Speaker, said the issue of the Majority and the Minority Leaders was admissible.
He, however, directed that the records of Votes and Proceedings be corrected to reflect the true situation as at yesterday, Thursday, March 10, 2022.
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