Member of Parliament for Bongo, Edward Bawa has said that Parliament is waiting for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to inform them about the new date to deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Mr Bawa stated that the President has not communicated to them again since he last wrote to the House that he could not address them on March 3 due to proximity of the independence day celebration on March 6.
“A date was fixed, that is March 3rd, for the president to come and and address us. Suddenly, we got a letter from the president indicating that the time was very close because he was going to address the nation through that particular ceremony on the 6th of March, the 3rd was too close.
“We are still waiting for Mr President to give us the new proposed date. Usually, the convention is that the president declarers his availability, giving us the period and on the basis of that we then fix the date for him to come and talk to us. Since the letter that he brought to us on the 3rd of March he has not written to us on when he wants to address the nation.”
He said it is the duty of the Speaker of Parliament and Leadership in the House to agree on a date and communicate same to the President.
That agreement has not been reached for it to be communicated to the President, he said on the Floor of the House on Friday March 18.
This was after Member of Parliament for Adaklu Kwame Agbodza had raised concerns regarding the delay in addressing the nation.
Mr Agbodza had described the situation as unprecedented in the history of the Fourth Republic.
“This is an unprecedented territory. We have never seen a president who is unable to tell us the state of the nation this long. We think that we need a definite date,” he said.
But responding to him, Mr Afenyo-Markin who is also lawmaker for Effutu said “On the statement by honorable Kwame Agbodza to the effect that Mr President had delayed in coming. At the risk of being repetitive and for emphasis, it isn't Mr President who has delayed in coming. It is the duty of the Speaker and leadership to agree on a date and communicate same to Mr President . That is what is pending and so don't say that Mr President has delayed.”
No date has been fixed after two scheduled dates – Thursday, February 24 and Thursday, March 3 – have been cancelled.
Reading the agenda for the business week ending Friday, March 11, Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin said the House is being put in order before programming the President to appear.
He insisted that the president is not out of time and will deliver the address as per Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution.
“The President is not out of time,” the Effutu Member of Parliament pointed out.
“He is within time required to come, so we are putting our House in order as a House.
“We will programme Mr President to come.”
But this did not go down well with some Minority MPs, who think there is something fishy ongoing.
“If we have to arrange, is it that the House don't care. We care to know about the real state of affairs [at the presidency],” stated Buem MP Kofi Iddi Adams.
On his part, Sefwi Juaboso MP Kwabena Mintah Akandoh said President Akufo-Addo is being dodgy because he has no good news for the nation.
“Next week is the seventh week,” he stated. “Mr Speaker, as I speak to you now we don't even know when the president will be in the House.
“Because it has never happened before except that he has no good news for the nation.”
Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak Mohammed was alarmed, drawing the attention of the House that this is the first time in the Fourth Republic that such an address has gone into March.
“Deputy Majority Leader, we have been ready since February 24 so don't put the blame at our doorstep and remember that we have gone more than halfway through this Meeting.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana