Parliament has lost moral right to haul people before Privileges C’ttee – Renowned Clergyman

Minority Leader (L), Speaker of Parliament (M) and Majority Leader

Ghana’s Parliament has lost the moral right to invite who speak ill about the House to appear before the Privileges Committee for contempt, Founder of the Worldwide Miracle Outreach, Dr Lawrence Tetteh, has said.

This, he said, is due to the fisticuffs that have occurred in the House among lawmakers this year.

Speaking in interview with Berla Mundi n the New Day show on TV3 Thursday December 30, he said “What is happening in Parliament, in a way, it is good for Parliament. Anybody who goes to Parliament will know that the whole world is watching you.

“Some Parliamentarian’s reputation may have been ruined because of this. Some people who we respected, look at the the crème we have in parliament, look at Alban Bagbin, look at the pedigree of Joewise, look at the pedigree of Hon Amoako, the Speaker and the deputies, solid guys. Then look at our Minority Leader and Majority Leader, I know the two of them personally.

“The way the two of them gel you don’t expect these to be happening. So this is good, it is going to be a wake up call, they are going to sit back and analyze themselves.

“Before that time, you cannot speak against Parliament the way people are speaking now but now, they have lost the moral right to even invite people to the Privileges’ Committee,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Banda, Ahmed Ibrahim, has noted that 2021 was a bad year for Parliament in terms of legislations.

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However, he said, the same year was the best when it comes to 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.

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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 .

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“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.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana