The majority side in Parliament of Ghana seems to have a divided stance on whether minority members of the house who staged a walkout moments before President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s address yesterday, should be allowed to contribute to the debate in the house.
Members of Parliament as per usual, are expected to contribute to the acceptance or rejection of the president’s address from Tuesday, February 25, 2020.
After the boycott yesterday, the majority side led by Ursula Owusu-Ekuful vehemently declared their resistance against the minority MPs’ involvement in the upcoming debate.
In her opinion, they have nothing to debate and contribute to, since they decided not to listen.
While speaking in a TV interview after the State of Nation Address, she dared her colleagues on the minority side to appear in parliament for the debate.
In her words; “…What will they be debating? It is the duty of the speaker to regulate the conduct of members of parliament. You were not part of the presentation of the SONA. You didn’t deem it worth your time to sit and listen to it, what moral right you have to sit and debate. They should boycott the debate as well. They should do the noble and the honourable thing and follow through this path that they have embarked on. Our leader has made a plea to the speaker that, if they were not here, they not be allowed to debate, it is up to the speaker to determine, but if they attempt it, they will see us in the house…”
But the Leader in question, Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu from his submission in parliament today, February 21, 2020, has declined to take the side of members of his party. Arguing on the full basis of the laws of parliament, the Majority Leader said even though the minority erred by walking out in a crucial address, they cannot be denied the right to perform their functions.
He explained, “... Mr Speaker, our orders provide that at the end of a debate, a question will be put and the rules provide that members who are not in the chamber when an issue is being discussed still have the right ones they enter the chamber to participate in voting.What it means is that, if members were not in the chamber to listen to the president, they still technically, have the right to contribute to the debate. Our laws allow them to do that. The issue may be a matter of morality…but technically they cannot be faulted if they want to contribute to the debate…”
Meanwhile, the minority, on the other hand, after the president’s address held a press conference to explain why they chose to exit the chamber.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu told the media that a string of disturbing issues including the delay of their Common Fund for the third quarter of 2019 contributed to their walkout.
Haruna Iddrisu also said other reasons included the tyrannical posture assumed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in managing the affairs of the state and his refusal to implement Short Commission report months almost a year after the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence; Removal of Charlotte Osei as Electoral Commission chairperson; Compilation of new voter register; attacks on journalists and media houses; and demolition of factories at Trade Fair Centre