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02 August 2017

The Speaker thinks we are small boys; we’ll impeach him – NDC MPs warn

The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) say they are in a position where they cannot tolerate the conduct of the Speaker of Parliament anymore.

They suspect that per the continuous biases of the Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye towards them, he [Speaker] was only brought in to frustrate them by denying them their rights to have their say on matters that are brought before the House for consideration.

The Minority NDC MPs on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, walked out of Parliament in protest over the conduct of the Speaker.

The walk out follows series of protests against the Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye over unfair treatment meted out to them over the last couple of days.

It all started when the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu rose up and sought the permission of the Speaker to raise some preliminary issues against an urgent motion that stood in the name of the honourable Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Kobina Tahir Hammond.

Hon. Hammond per the urgent motion that stood in his name had wanted the House to “rescinds its decision to approve the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group Llc (Ameri Energy) for the installation of ten (10) GE TM2,200+ aero derivative gas turbines, operate, maintain, transfer and provision of support services that the House took on March, 20, 2017, for reasons of gross misrepresentation.”

Hon. Iddrisu, holding a Supreme Court ruling of 2016 between John Ndebugri vs Attorney-General and two others reminded the House to tread cautiously over the said urgent motion since any attempt to interrogate the deal may also end up in court.

But he was interrupted on a point of order by the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who craved the indulgence of the Speaker to rule him out of order since the motion had in the first place not been moved by the lawmaker for Adansi Asokwa.

“Mr. Speaker if a motion has not been moved and seconded, there is nothing before. Mr. Speaker, we are anticipating what may be done. I don’t know under what which Orders the Minority is coming from. The Minority Leader is not competent to comment on a motion that has not been moved. We are not there yet and so you shouldn’t be in a hurry. Clearly he is out of order,” noted Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.

The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, having listened to the superior argument advanced by the Majority Leader ruled Haruna Iddrisu out of order and allowed K. T. Hammond to move the motion that stood in his name.

“Hon. Minority Leader, this is anticipation. Shall we have the motion properly before the House and then the appropriate thing is done,” he ruled.

The Speaker having listened to the motion moved by Hon. K.T. Hammond which was seconded by the deputy Majority Leader, Sarah Adwoa Safo, referred the matter to the Committee on Mines and Energy.

His reason was to enable all the parties involved in the said Ameri deal appear before the Committee on Mines and Energy to give their side of the issue.

At this juncture, the minority were left with no option than to consult the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Alban Sumana Bagbin, for advice.

After having consulted the Second Deputy Speaker, Haruna Iddrisu therefore signaled his aggrieved members to stage a walk out in protest over the conduct of the Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye.

Interacting with journalists over the action, the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka, said they are fed with the biases of the Speaker and will continue to protest in similar fashion in the coming days if the Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye does not change his ways.

“We don’t want it to look as if we are just complaining and complaining. But one thing we can assure Mr. Speaker is that we shall continue to fight until he understands that this is a House that every Member must be given space. When we were debating the Gitmo 2, Members will stand up and he will not recognize them. He was even participating in the debate which is not allowed. Even when Hon. Mahama Ayariga was reminding him that this is the only platform that ordinary citizens of this country can express themselves without being heckled, he will not listen. We are worried and we left because one he should have allowed our leader to exhaust the Supreme Court ruling he was referring to.

“We are saying that the constant neglect by the Speaker to ignore and to disrespect the Minority … yes look with the greatest of respect, you could be in the age bracket of some of our parents but remember that some of the Members behind us are older than him. So he should stop looking at us as if we are some small boys that are talking to him. With the greatest respect, both the Minority Leader and myself, we came to this House with him in 2005. He left and came back and we are still here.

“He should know that we are the official mouth piece of the minority, the opposition in this country. If we cannot have enough space to even air our views, then what business are we coming here to do. Our notice is that we shall continue to demonstrate to insist to walk out and to do whatever we can to make the Speaker understands that the Chamber of Parliament is for Members of Parliament and it is for Members of Parliament to express their views.

“The sad thing is that tomorrow we are rising. We shall continue to put our case before the general public and we will continue to do this. He shouldn’t think we will stop today or tomorrow. We will continue to put pressure on him until he changes his ways and I can bet you we will start the process to impeach him because we have realized that he is not willing to allow us to have our say,” he noted.

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