Security in Parliament: Police engages leadership to support Marshal

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Although the Ghana Police Service says the provision of security in Parliament is not its mandate under the laws, it is in touch with the Clerk, Marshal and leadership of Parliament on how they can support with security in the chamber within the confines of the law.

The Police says it cannot make any attempt to enter the House for such purposes because that will amount to a violation of the laws of the land.

A statement issued by the service on Tuesday December 21 said they can only come in when the marshal, who is in charge of security in the chamber, refers the matter to them for further investigations into the causes of the disturbances and possible prosecution if the leadership of the House so decides.

“The legal position is that the Police have no authority to enter the chamber of Parliament to undertake any law enforcement venture. Any such act will be in contravention of the laws of the country.

“Therefore, the Marshal and his team of officers have to deal with such situations in the chamber and thereafter refer the matter to the Police for investigations and possible prosecution if the leadership of the House so decides,” it said.

The statement added “We have however initiated steps to engage the Clerk , Marshal and Leadership of Leadership in Parliament to fashion out a more proactive way of supporting Parliament in this regard within the confines of the laws of the country.’

On Monday December 20 Members of Ghana’s Parliament 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.

This got the Majority MPs to also start agitations and immediately Mr Osei-Owusu handed the presiding role to the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the fight broke out.

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said the Republic of Ghana must address the situation where some lawmakers resort to violence as a way of expressing their disagreements in the House

The Ofoase Ayirebi lawmaker said violence had never been a legitimate tool to be used when there is a disagreement.

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.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana