Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader in Parliament, has apologised to Ghanaians on behalf of Members of Parliament (MPs) for the melee that ensued on the floor of the House on Monday night during deliberations on the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, 2021.
“It is a very shameful and embarrassing moment for us in Parliament. And I think all of us must be bowing our heads down in shame for this gross deliration of responsibility and we must apologise to the people that we represent in Parliament,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated at a press briefing on Tuesday in Accra.
He, however, expressed his disapproval over the way the First Deputy Speaker Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu was unceremoniously called upon to preside even though he was not feeling well, adding that, “it was the reason why he sat in briefly and he had to excuse himself”.
Giving his rendition of accounts that led to the fisticuffs, he said the First Deputy speaker assumed the chair upon resumption from a break and during a vote by division had wanted to go take his medication, to the distaste of the minority.
“I don’t know of any constitutional provision or any standing orders that prohibit a Deputy Speaker, presiding from participating in the vote. There is no such provision” he said.
He urged members of Parliament to resist the urge of always getting physical and should rather have the emotional intelligence to deliberate on issues.
He also explained that proceedings on Monday which were supposed to start at 1000 hours was delayed, “as the Finance Committee was programmed to have a meeting at 1000 hours for us to be able to have a sitting at about 1200 hours.
“Subsequently, we got to know that the Minority was having a meeting and so the finance committee then elected to have their meeting at 1200 hours” he said.
Based on the happenings, he said he engaged the Speaker to have the Committee sit and finalise its work and have it printed and distributed to members with the proceedings proposed to start at 1500 hours.
“But when we went for the meeting, the meeting lasted from 1200 hours to beyond 1600 hours,” he added. Touching on the E-Levy Bill, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the adjournment of the House to January 18, 2021 was necessary to enable the Finance Minister to hold further consultations with stakeholders.
“If we take an adjournment, it would allow cooler heads to come back to this House and we can then come back to continue the transaction of business in a much more civil environment.”