14 July 2017

Drag Casely-Hayford for contempt – Mubarak tells Parliament

The coming days may not be too palatable for a leading member of Occupy-Ghana, Sydney Casely-Hayford, as he is likely to be hauled before the Privileges Committee of Parliament to answer to some contempt charges that may be brought against him by the Legislature.

His fate would be determined by the outcome of a case filed on the floor of Parliament by the lawmaker for Kumbungu constituency, Ras Mubarak, of which has been referred to the leadership of the House.

The Kumbungu lawmaker, Thursday, drew the House’s attention to a mews item which was published on www.ghanaweb.com on July 9, 2017, with the caption ‘Ghanaian MPs only make stupid decisions and pass stupid laws’ which was attributed to Mr. Casely-Hayford.

The said story, he added, was accompanied by a video where Mr. Casely-Hayford was allegedly seen making certain comments which the MP considers affront the dignity of the House.

“Mr. Speaker, not only his comment is an attack on the integrity of all Members of Parliament, past and present, but if one were to stretch it, it even bothers on promoting hatred and vandalism when he talks about bringing down Parliament.

“Mr. Speaker, We have the duty to defend and honour the integrity of this House. You are a Member of this House in good standing, you’ve paid your dues, we’ve had in this House the current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, we’ve had in this House, President John Dramani Mahama, we’ve had in this House Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho, Hon. Bagbin, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni among others – past and present who spent their lives and continue to spend their time and energies working and fighting the best interest of Ghana.”

“Mr. Speaker, if this nation cannot honour Members of Parliament, people like yourself, then we must not sit down for people to abuse past and present Members of Parliament who have and or are working tirelessly or striving for the best interest of the ordinary Ghanaian.”

“The gentleman has indicted all of us here and those before us. Mr. Speaker it will take a whole session of Parliament to go through the litany of progressive legislation that have been passed from this House, decisions that have brought significant changes and make positive impacts on the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian,” he noted.

What is so disturbing about the utterances of Mr. Casely-Hayford, he noted, was his (Casely-Hayford’s) decision to unjustifiably incite the people against Members of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, if I may quote, he says: “These people are sitting there, spending money like crazy, making stupid decisions, and passing stupid laws. All they can think of is, let’s pass this thing quickly, let’s go to Senchi Royal, let’s go and sit there and chill and come back and that’s the pattern. They don’t read the papers that they are given, they don’t think through what the challenges are. The first thing I will do if I had the opportunity is to break down parliament. We don’t need it.”

Ras Mubarak sees the comments of Mr. Casely-Hayford as a serious threat to the legislature noting that “He is unjustifiably inciting people against Members of Parliament. And if his comments are allowed to pass, it will set a very bad precedent and create more room for people to impugn the reputation of Members of this House. So, Mr. Speaker, I wish therefore to call on Members of this honourable House to invite the gentleman to appear before the House to answer contempt charges.”

Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi commenting on the issue told the Speaker to decide on the matter since the decision as to whether Mr. Casely-Hayford should be invited before the Privileges or not lies in his bossom. He said the House will be patiently waiting for his directive on the matter.

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on his part said judging from the comments of Mr. Casely-Hayford as read out by the NDC MP for Kumbungu, such could amount to “inflicting a mortal injury on the image of Parliament.”

Said it it important to decide on the matter given the fact that “we have a few weeks ahead of us before the House adjourns.”

The 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Joseph Osei Owusu after listening to the comments from both sides of the House referred the matter to the leadership of the House to meet and take a decision over it based on Order 31 of the Standing Orders of the House.

Order 31 states that “In all cases of proceedings where complaint is made of a breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament, Mr. Speaker may direct that the matter be referred to the Committee of Privileges.”


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