Military invasion of parliament is an assault on democracy – Rashid Pelpuo

Member of Parliament (MP) for Wa Central Rashid Pelpuo has criticized the military invasion of Parliament during the election of a Speaker of Parliament for the 8th parliament on Thursday January 7, 2020.

In an interview with Roland Walker on TV3’s News 360 Tuesday January 12, he stated that the military invasion “was an assault on our democracy, it was an offense against the state, it was an attempt to overthrow the democracy we all respect, it was a fight to take away the rights of members of parliament to regulate their own procedure and to be able to come up with some understanding.

“It was an attempt by those who did so to circumvent the rules and to use the army which is not used to coming to parliament to talk or follow our processes, to come there to stampede people into doing something that was wrong. It is an attempt to violate, and indeed it was a violation of our own standing orders” he stated.

The former Minister of Youth and Sports under the Mills’ administration further said that the Standing Orders of parliament stated that: “you cannot carry arms into the chamber, including our own security, they can’t carry arms into the chamber”.

When asked by Roland Walker if there are any exceptions in the Standing Order on the part of the Marshall of Parliament carrying weapons into the House, he answered thus, “the Marshall doesn’t carry arms into the chamber, Nobody, the army, the police should not carry arms into the chamber”.

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 “Others are of the opinion that, at the time there was no Defense Minister, they are all denying that they are not the ones who commandeered them to come, and if the soldiers on their own walked into the chamber, then it’s a terrible thing. So something has to happen to forestall any such happenings in the future” he charged.

Military men stormed the chamber following stalemate between MPs-elect for the NDC and NPP sides while they were electing a new Speaker of the House.

Some Ghanaians including former President John Dramani Mahama condemned the intervention of the military and called for a thorough investigations into the matter.

“The recent use of the military in civil democratic processes has become a major worry and gives the impression that this administration is continually seeking to resurrect the exorcised ghosts of our military past. Parliament must conduct an investigation into the two incidents and exact appropriate sanctions,” the President Candidate of the NDC in the last elections said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, the founding Director of the University of Ghana Centre for Asian Studies Dr Lloyd Amoah has said the presence of the military in the chamber of Parliament during the election of a Speaker for the 8th Parliament did not pose any danger.

Dr Lloyd Amoah in a Facebook post said “The mere use of soldiers on the floor of parliament does not by itself pose an existential danger. The army is part of the civil order. Pay attention.”

By Barima Kwabena Yeboah||Ghana