…As Parliament goes on recess
…Warns: ‘We Will Never Succumb to Acts of Intimidation’
The Minority Caucus of Parliament has said they will not succumb to any campaign of calumny and intimidation launched against it by persons who do not mean well for them for holding the government accountable to the good people of Ghana.
According to the minority, the Speaker of Parliament and the majority side of the august house, has during the just-ended Second Meeting of the First Session of the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic, used the “majority powers” to exact intimidation and unwarranted discrimination against them in the chamber during proceedings.
The minority leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, made these remarks during the closing ceremony of the second meeting of the first session of the seventh parliament of the fourth republic in parliament Wednesday, this week.
The house on Wednesday officially went on recess to return in October, this year, for other activities outside the parliament house.
While commending the leadership of the house for the cordial relations exhibited during parliamentary matters, the Tamale South lawmaker also expressed grave concern about the attempt by the Speaker to intimidate them by applying unpalatable rulings against them during time for questioning ministers and other legitimate debates on floor.
He cautioned the leadership of the majority New Patriotic Party in parliament (NPP) and the Speaker to desist from acts that will mar the beauty of parliamentary democracy in the country.
Hon. Iddrissu reiterated the minority’s resolve to discharge their duties in parliament, without fear or favour, even though they remain resolute about the bias act of the Speaker in discharging his duties on the seat.
The minority leader, in his concluding remarks, told the house that they will still offer responsible and constructive opposition.
He further pointed out that irrespective of their firmness,” the minority will be magnanimous in supporting government policies for the good of the country where it is necessary, but stated clearly that they will not be intimidated in the pursuit of that endeavour.
Hon. Iddrissu, who is also a member of the business of the house, reminded the house about the recent happening which forced them to stage a walkout in the house, stressing that in democratic governance, “the right of the minority to have its say should be respected even if the majority will have its way.”
The minority leader noted that the people of Ghana expect that the minority side keeps an eye on public concerns and matters of public interest and therefore on behalf of the minority he pledged their unflinching support to the Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, as chair of the house, to maintain order.
Nonetheless, Hon. Iddrissu urged the Speaker to safeguard their right of say, as the chair of the house, stating, “It will be wrong for anybody to use the happenings of the day in parliament to measure and rule unfairness.”
He further argued that the parliamentary question-time to ministers and other relevant state institutions remains an important instrument of oversight and the Speaker must do his best to offer that opportunity to members to help enhance the country’s vibrant democracy.
In his view, persons interested in Ghana’s democracy have established that, since 1993, members of the majority (from the ruling party) seldom use the questions because they fear embarrassing government, so that weapon has always been used by the minority in exercise of oversight.
Hon. Iddrissu said, even though the minority recently expressed their disappointment in the Speaker for being bias toward them sometimes, they remain focus in helping to build the country’s parliamentary democracy.
He, however, expressed thanks to the Speaker and his two deputies, the majority, leadership, his colleagues minority leaders, the clerk of parliament and the parliamentary press corps for keeping the working relationship cordial and lovely.
The majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, also expressed gratitude to the Speaker, the two deputies and leadership of parliament and assured that the majority will forever remain resolute in the delivery of government business through the house.
Professor Mike Oquaye, in his remarks, charged the MPs to visit their constituencies and explain the parliamentary duties to them, stating “the constituents are the reason why you are in the august house.”