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‘Boxing’ MPs put Ghana’s constitution through severe stress – Otumfuo




Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has chastised Members of Parliament who engaged in fights in the House during a sitting last year.

In his view, the lawmakers put aside their debating skills to exhibit their punching prowess in the House.

Speaking at the National Media Capacity Enhancement programme on Monday, January 10 at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, a programme designed to provide training for some 250 journalists annually across the country, he said

“We had just come through a year which our constitutional order was put through severe stress. The commencement of work of the 8th Parliament of the 4th republic had not been the most edifying tradition.

“But no one could have expected the year would conclude with an honorable House degenerated into a brawl with very honourable members putting aside their debating skills in order to exhibit their punching prowess.”

Deputy Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Banda, Ahmed Ibrahim, had also noted that 2021 was a bad year for Parliament in terms of legislation.

However, he said, the same year was the best when it comes to an oversight in the House.

He said this assessment was based on his personal observations and experience during the past thirteen years that he has stayed in Parliament as a lawmaker

Speaking in an interview with TV3, he said “The year started badly and has also ended badly. In my thirteen-year stay in Parliament, this has been the worst year in terms of legislation. But in terms of oversight, it has been the best of all the oversights that we have been doing in this parliament.

“It depends on the Kind of speaker that you have. The year 2017 to 2021 was a very bad administration era for Ghana simply because checks and balances were all broken.”

Ghana’s Parliament witnessed chaotic scenes on two separate major occasions during the year 2021.

The first was during the election of the Speaker for the 8th Parliament on January 6 when there was confusion in the House during the vote counting.

Tema West Lawmaker Mr. Carlos Ahenkorah allegedly snatched ballot papers and was accosted by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Mr. Ahenkorah has since apologised for his action.

The second situation was on Monday December 20 when MPs could not hold their emotions as some exchanged brawls in the House just before the final vote on the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, also known as e-levy.

The sit-in Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, had announced that a division would be followed to approve the Bill, presented under a certificate of urgency, and he was going to vote as well in his capacity as a Member of Parliament.

That appeared to have provoked the National Democratic Congress (NDC) members, who questioned his decision to vote after presiding over the night’s proceedings.

They moved to the front of the dais, issuing threats at the Bekwai MP.

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu criticized the Minority for the fight.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday December 21, he said “Why the injection of violence with the Minority moving from their place to come and physically prevent the deputy speaker from assuming the chair. Why? In Parliament we debate issues with brain power not brawl , with brain power not brawl .

“So if you disagree with me , I was telling the Minority Leader yesterday , whenever the Minority Leader is speaking, we always want to listen to him. Whenever any member from the Majority we want to listen. Where form that ? “

Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah also condemned the Minority over the disturbances that occurred in Parliament.

He described the chaotic scenes in Parliament on Monday December 20 as unacceptable and uncalled for.

Speaking on the mid day news on TV3 Tuesday December 21, the Ofoase Ayirebi lawmaker said “The first thing we need to is that, we need to deal with the growing conduct of some Members of Parliament that whenever they do not agree with with something, whether it is the Speaker’s rule or a position of the executive or a position of Member of parliament, they resort to violence and physical attacks in the chamber.

“That is the reason for which we have had to adjourn today because today, Mr Speaker is still not in the House, we are not able to proceed with business without rancor because what it would mean is that the First Deputy Speaker or the Second Deputy Speaker would have to take the Chair. Under the circumstances if a matter comes up to a vote and he chooses to exercise his casting votes which he is entitled to, our colleagues on the other side will resort to violence .

“Everybody now sees it clearly, so what next is that the Republic of Ghana needs to address this situation where some Members of Parliament resort to violence as a way of expressing their displeasure. It is totally unacceptable, totally uncalled for.

“The Marshals department under the leadership the Speaker has to have a handle of this because it doesn’t matter that today, it is e-levy, tomorrow it could be anything and when some particular member of Parliament is not happy with it then there will be a resort to violence and fisticuffs, that is what next to be dealt with.”


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