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Bagbin is not a king in parliament – Kwasi Pratt

Alban Bagbin and Kwesi Pratt



Alban Bagbin appeared in Parliament in a traditional wear

He was seen dressed as a chief from the Volta region

But Kwesi Pratt says he was worried because he is not a king

Kwesi Pratt Jnr, the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, has expressed shock at the Speaker of ParliamentAlban Bagbin, for ditching his official outfit for a traditional outfit on the first day of the second session of the 8th Parliament.

According to him, the Speaker of Parliament presiding over proceedings of the House on Tuesday, dressed like a chief from the Volta region, intended to distract from the important and major issues of the day.

He described the event of Tuesday, January 25, as a “complete spectacle” whilst making a submission on Metro TV’s ‘Good Morning Ghana’ programme on Wednesday, January 26, 2022.

“I was really shocked when I saw the footage from Parliament; I was completely shocked,” Kwesi Pratt Jnr told the host, Randy Abbey.

“What happened in Parliament yesterday [Tuesday] was a spectacle, complete spectacle and intended to distract from the important and major issues of the day,” he added.

Pratt noted that, the Speaker’s welcome address was quite witty but “all of that was crowded with his rather interesting appearance.”

He indicated that, he has over the years advocated for a change in dress code for Parliamentarians because Parliamentarians over the years used to turn out people wearing what is described as “Ghanaian attire”.

He noted that, the symbolism of the Speaker’s outfit to Parliament has nothing to do with promoting Republicanism, nor promoting the equality of citizens but has everything to do with promoting systems of governance.

Pratt explained that the dress code of the Speaker of Parliament does not promote modesty of public officials because public officials must appear in public very modestly.

“The Speaker is not the king of Parliament, he is the umpire in Parliament. The Speaker is not king, he is an umpire,” Kwesi Pratt Jnr stressed.

But why did the Speaker of Parliament decide to ditch his official outfit for a traditional outfit?

In an interview late last year with the state broadcaster, GTV, the Speaker announced that he would only be using the Speaker’s cloak for ceremonial occasions this year as part of his commitment to change the dress code and code of conduct of MPs.

In his official welcome to the House, Alban Bagbin urged the MPs to take a cue from his outfit and dress in traditional wear just like the first President of the nation, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

1He explained that, his rich traditional outfit worn on the first day of the second session of Parliament is to set in motion the agenda that, the Parliament of Ghana is “a unique made in Ghana product and we must showcase and market it to the world as a brand. We must create a unique set of values and norms that will give a unique character to our Parliament to set it apart from the colonial legacies of the British system. My outfit today, as the Speaker presiding, is to set in motion that agenda.”

Bagbin noted, “the practice of MPs decently dressed in traditional attire led by the Speaker is long overdue. Ghanaians accept representation of the people to include representation of the full identity of the Ghanaian – i. e. culture, tradition, and more importantly their dress code.

“I am glad that this decision accords with some of the propositions of the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and the other founding members of the Parliament of the First Republic. The dominant dress code of members of the National Assemblies of independent Ghana was a native costume. The Speaker of the first Parliament of the First Republic of the Country – 1960 to 1965 – Rt Hon Joseph Richard Asiedu appreciated and practiced it.”

He explained further that his usual Speaker’s cloak constitutes the ceremonial dress of the Speaker whereby when it is worn, it distinguishes the Speaker from the MPs to reflect the pomp and pageantry of special national occasions, hence, it will be worn only on special occasions.

“Hon Members, the robe, i. e the long garment, the headgear, and bib, constitute the ceremonial dress of the Speaker. This ceremonial dress is worn to distinguish the Speaker from members and to reflect the pomp and pageantry of special national occasions. It was therefore meant to be worn on only those special occasions. The ceremonial dress is not meant to be a daily apparel of the Speaker. Even the British has long abandoned this dress code. Ghana has long abandoned only the headgear and the bib.

“Hon Members, I assure you, we are not on a walk in the park in this journey of renaissance and transformation. We will not walk alone in this matter. We have a lot of followers and supporters. It is with this, I happily invite all of you to wear Ghana, grow Ghana, eat Ghana, brand Ghana, and transform Ghana. From now I want to see more Members appear in Parliament decently adorned in traditional dress,” Alban Bagbin said.

“Hon Members I call on you to dig deep into the wealth of your innate wisdom and let us do this together in peace, joy, love, and respect for the diversity of cultures, traditions, and ways of dressing in the country. All what leaders, particularly the Whip and myself must ensure is to enforce the rule of prim, prompt, and decent dressing in the House,” he stressed.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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