The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has said nobody is proud of the confusion and chaos that occurred in Parliament as the House was considering the E-levy proposal.
Speaking on the state broadcaster, the Ghana Television (GTV) on Thursday, December 30, the Speaker, Mr Bagbin said what transpired in the House was not something everybody is happy with.
He said “It is something that we are all not proud of. Even though we know that before you can eat the egg you have to break the shell but you don’t want to go through it yourself. You think that you have learned the lessons of those parliaments, I have a way of talking more, building consensus than exchanging fire. This is building confidence in the democratic system, it is a great achievement and I hope we will build on this.
“From 2001 up to date, I have never interfered with the functions of others, not even at the board level. But today, as I said there is change, I am prepared to accept this change, I am prepared to accept the criticisms but I want genuine criticisms. I want to be, at least, consulted before I am criticized.
“The time that I was seated there, the Majority leader only shows face and then send a text to me around 4:30 that he was now going to have a bite then come back to the House, he also whispered to my usher to inform me he was going to have a bite and come back.
“When I left he wasn’t on the floor. How can you now, lead your team to now be attacking me and say that I should lead. In fact, one of them said I should learn how to lead. It is because of the level of leadership I am at, he doesn’t understand it, that is someone who claims to be my son, the Honourable Member for Effutu, the Deputy Majority Leader, Honourable Afenyo Markin.
“You come and you personally attack me then you come to the House and you expect that we should have that sprit of consensus building. Things don’t work that way.”
Ghana’s Parliament witnessed chaotic scenes on Monday December 20 when MPs could not hold their emotions as some exchanged brawls in the House just before the final vote on the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy Bill.
The sit-in Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, had announced that a division would be followed to approve the Bill, presented under a certificate of urgency, and he was going to vote as well in his capacity as a Member of Parliament.
That appeared to have provoked the National Democratic Congress (NDC) members, who questioned his decision to vote after presiding over the night’s proceedings.
They moved to the front of the dais, issuing threats at the Bekwai MP.
The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu criticized the Minority for the fight.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, December 21, he said “Why the injection of violence with the Minority moving from their place to come and physically prevent the deputy speaker from assuming the chair. Why? In Parliament, we debate issues with brainpower not brawl, with brainpower not brawl.
“So if you disagree with me, I was telling the Minority Leader yesterday, whenever the Minority Leader is speaking, we always want to listen to him. Whenever any member from the Majority we want to listen. Where form that? “
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah also condemned the Minority over the disturbances that occurred in Parliament.
He described the chaotic scenes in Parliament on Monday, December 20 as unacceptable and uncalled for.
Speaking on the midday news on TV3 Tuesday December 21, the Ofoase Ayirebi lawmaker said “The first thing we need to is that, we need to deal with the growing conduct of some Members of Parliament that whenever they do not agree with something, whether it is the Speaker’s rule or a position of the executive or a position of Member of parliament, they resort to violence and physical attacks in the chamber.
“That is the reason for which we have had to adjourn today because today, Mr Speaker is still not in the House, we are not able to proceed with business without rancor because what it would mean is that the First Deputy Speaker or the Second Deputy Speaker would have to take the Chair. Under the circumstances if a matter comes up to a vote and he chooses to exercise his casting votes which he is entitled to, our colleagues on the other side will resort to violence .
“Everybody now sees it clearly, so what next is that the Republic of Ghana needs to address this situation where some Members of Parliament resort to violence as a way of expressing their displeasure. It is totally unacceptable, totally uncalled for.
“The Marshals department under the leadership the Speaker has to have a handle of this because it doesn’t matter that today, it is e-levy, tomorrow it could be anything and when some particular member of Parliament is not happy with it then there will be a resort to violence and fisticuffs, that is what next to be dealt with.”
Founder of the Worldwide Miracle Outreach, Dr Lawrence Tetteh, has said Parliament has lost the moral right to invite who speak ill about the House to appear before the Privileges Committee for contempt due to the fisticuffs that have occurred in the House among lawmakers this year.
Speaking in interview with Berla Mundi n the New Day show on TV3 Thursday December 30, he said “What is happening in Parliament, in a way, it is good for Parliament. Anybody who goes to Parliament will know that the whole world is watching you.
“Some Parliamentarian’s reputation may have been ruined because of this. Some people who we respected, look at the the crème we have in parliament, look at Alban Bagbin, look at the pedigree of Joewise, look at the pedigree of Hon Amoako, the Speaker and the deputies, solid guys. Then look at our Minority Leader and Majority Leader, I know the two of them personally.
“The way the two of them gel you don’t expect these to be happening. So this is good, it is going to be a wake up call, they are going to sit back and analyze themselves.
“Before that time, you cannot speak against Parliament the way people are speaking now but now, they have lost the moral right to even invite people to the Privileges’ Committee,” he said.