Member of Parliament for Akwapim South Constituency, OB Amoah says he will support an objective inquiry into the chaotic incidents that characterized the inauguration of the 8th Parliament on 7th January 2021.
He said it is important for Parliament and legislators to openly condemn the incidents to assure members of the public that Parliament as an institution, as well as its members do not support violence, neither do they condone taking the law into one’s own hands.
O.B Amoah made the comments on Citi TV‘s The Big Issue on Saturday, adding that he was personally embarrassed by the turn of events.
“We must learn lessons from this and then make sure that we do the right things next time. If we are ready to interrogate this very objectively, why not? Whoever at the point got the security services [military] into the chamber will [need to] have his side of the story. We all [must] learn from this,” he stated.
Several unexpected incidents led to chaotic scenes in Parliament during the inauguration of the 8th parliament on Thursday, January 7, 2021.
These include a confrontation between the two caucuses over seatingposition. The NDC MPs’ challenge of the manner in which the secret voting process for the Speaker of Parliament was being done; the invasion of the Parliamentary Chamber by armed soldiers ,kicking of voting booth by MP for Yapei Kusawgu Constituency, John Jinapor, , snatching of ballot box by Asawase MP, Mubarak Muntaka as well as the snatching of ballot papers by Tema West Member of Parliament, Carlos Ahenkorah.
Many have called for a thorough parliamentary probe into the incidents.
According to OB Amoah, parliamentarians did not set a good example for others through their actions on the day.
He said being lawmakers, they were expected to behave in a much better way than they did, and therefore important that the legislators recognize this and condemn it
He said parliament risks losing the respect the public has in parliamentarians if attempts are made to justify the incidents.
“If Members of Parliament can behave this way, how can you tell anybody to be disciplined? How can you tell anybody to obey the law? Because the impression we are creating is that, if you don’t take the law into your own hands you will not get justice, and we are magnifying it that this country is now lawless?”
“And this is in Parliament? We have to condemn ourselves for what happened that day. If we do not do that, and we justify everything, it means that we are ready to repeat these things and the little respect that we have will be gone,” he indicated.
In another development a leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko believes the newly-elected Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin is the best person from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to hold such a position under President Nana Akufo-Addo’s presidency.
He argued that Bagbin is experienced enough and will not unduly frustrate the work of the government.
Ghana currently has a hung Parliament and has the Speaker of Parliament emerging from the NDC.
Mr. Bagbin defeated the Speaker of the 7th Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye in an election held in Parliament on Thursday, January 7, 2021, to become the first gentleman in the 8th Parliament.
There have been concerns about how President Akufo-Addo’s working relationship with Parliament will be, especially with the historic turn of events.
But according to Otchere-Darko, President Akufo-Addo and Mr. Bagbin have always enjoyed mutual respect for each other.
“Under the circumstances, Alban Bagbin is the best person from the NDC to be Speaker under an Akufo-Addo presidency. Yes, he is true green NDC – through and through. But, if the nation must have a Speaker from the opposition who can be expected not to unduly frustrate the work of Government, then Bagbin is he.”
“He has maturity. He has experience. He does not dislike Akufo-Addo. In fact, the two have always enjoyed mutual respect for each other. He had just retired from “active” politics even though he owes his nomination to his party.”
Mr. Otchere-Darko insisted that Mr. Bagbin will not allow himself to do the bidding of his NDC party.
“I do not expect Mr. Speaker to go against the national interest in order to satisfy, say, a JM agenda. And, he can be his own man. I am inclined to believe him when he says he will serve the nation with honesty.”
“Serving the nation also means helping the party elected to implement the manifesto platform upon which it campaigned and got given the mandate of the people. The NPP remains the Majority in Parliament to drive the agenda of the Executive and requires the full, professional cooperation of the Speaker.”
The Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram Constituency, Sam Nartey George has assured Ghanaians that the NDC will not take advantage of the election of Mr. Bagbin as Speaker of Parliament to frustrate President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration.
He explained that if that’s their intention, they wouldn’t have allowed him to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Akufo-Addo the party boycotted.
“If we wanted to hold the President to ransom, the Speaker would not have been allowed to appear for the President’s swearing-in ceremony. We would have just asked the First Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Owusu to replace him. We are not that kind of party.”
“We have proven to be consensus builders, after ceding the first Deputy Speaker position to the NPP, what did we do? We nominated the independent candidate as the Second Deputy.”
“We have shown our interest in safeguarding the democracy of the country,” the Ningo Prampram legislator noted.
“We heard the Speaker himself say that he is going to discharge his duties without fear or favour. He never showed bias while Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament.”
“Ghanaians can rest assured that under no circumstance will we bring in partisan bias into the work of the House,” Sam George added.