Parliament has passed the Legal Profession Regulations Bill amidst protests from the Minority caucus in Parliament.
The endorsement means that, the General Legal Council (GLC) would continue to conduct entrance exams at the Ghana School of Law as part of admission requirements. It however, banned the conduct of interviews as part of the admission process.
Mr Mahama Ayariga Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committees of Parliament and Mr Ben Abdallah, Chairman for the Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs respectively agreed to the request by the GLC to conduct entrance exams for law students.
The Minority, after the approval stood on their feet for several minutes as a sign of protest to the bill.
They said majority of MPs voice-voted against the bill and the Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye wrongly ruled in favour of the bill’s approval.
Despite the apparent cooperation from members of the Committee, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka, the Minority Chief Whip, expressed his opposition to the legislation.
Alhaji Muntaka continued his opposition to the bill when he requested for a head count since per Standing Order 113 of Parliament, a member has the right to challenge a vote.
However, he was left on his feet for about 20 minutes after being ignored by the Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye.
Alhaji Muntaka speaking to the media after proceedings in the House expressed his displeasure about the conduct of the Speaker describing it as shameful and comparing him to a despot.
“I keep repeating that civil society should be interested in how the Speaker is conducting himself. It is so terrible… We have rules. As for listening to us, you listen, make your ruling and if we want to challenge your ruling, we know what to do. But to deliberately and continuously do what he is doing, I think he is the biggest threat to our democracy.”
“The way he is behaving, I think that all of us need to be very concerned and very worried about the way the Speaker is conducting himself… I doubt whether even Mobutu or even Idi Ami can behave the way he did. It is so shameful that Speaker continues to do this and just disregard the rules of the House.”
Alhaji Muntaka said more MPs were against the approval of the Legal Profession Regulations.
“I am super convinced that those for ‘No’ won and we wanted to confirm that beyond any reasonable doubt by having a headcount. If you have a head count, it puts the thing beyond doubt.”
Meanwhile, Mr Ken Ador Donkor, a representative of the Concerned Law Students Association, also expressed shock at the ruling of the Speaker saying the ruling was not good for the country.
“We were all in the House, seated in the gallery when he asked for Yes and No, and the No should have had it. You cannot be ruling Ghana like this, Ghana belong to all of us. For me I don’t have any trust in our system, the system is failing us, that is the crux of it …You were in the House, how many people were in the majority”.
He said the Association would continue to fight on behalf of law students nationwide.