Time: 10 am: Thursday September 1,2016
Venue: Parliament House:
Agenda: Recall to consider motion to set up bi-partisan committee to investigate President Mahama for accepting a gift from a Burkinabe businessman.
Photo: A well-attended sitting of Parliament
Some two hours before the Speaker of Parliament would walk in, opposition politician Ablekuma West MP Ursula Owusu and President Mahama’s campaign spokesperson Joyce Bawa-Mogtari chatted away like girl-girls.
Daytime friends, parliament time rivals.
Their hearty interactions were one of the many bi-partisan friendships dotted all over the floor of parliament Thursday morning.
Photo: [L-R] Majority leader Alban Bagbin, Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Minority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu
If we can be bi-partisan friends, can we please escalate this into a bi-partisan committee to investigate the President for accepting a Ford Expedition from a Burkinabe businessman? The Minority’s whole point summarized.
They were soon to find out if they could go on a parliamentary expedition into Mahama’s 2010 Ford Expedition gift.
Of the many conversations going on the floor, Chiana-Paga MP Abuga Pele cut an utterly isolated figure. He appeared to have banished himself permanently into his own seat. A sort of self-imposed ostracisation. He was a man of few friends in parliament or so he looked.
Photo: Abuga Pele looked on disinterested
He sat in his seat like it was a docket he stood in during his trial for causing financial loss to the state. Abuga Pele, an NDC MP is pondering going independent and sitting here he really looked independent. Very few MPs passed by him to say ‘hi Pele’.
The Minority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu sat silent, flipping through books and a pocket-size constitution, mentally rehearsing his arguments, very well aware of the weight of expectation.
His petition to the Speaker signed by 104 MPs was the reason why all 275 MPs were summoned to hear a motion that promises to provoke emotions today.
To the condescending-looking Majority, this whole motion is an expensive mischief.
But we will get to that later, now let’s chat away and socialise like a re-opening day. It could be the last day in parliament for many MPs. They hugged humanly, laughed ludicrously, 'hi-fived' fiercely.
‘Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all’ Hannah Tetteh, the Foreign Minister walked across the floor to take her seat.
Photo: Hannah Tetteh flips through a magazine
National Democratic Congress (NDC) General Secretary Johnson Aseidu Nketia; Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah and a host of Executive presence were there to ensure that 'no weapon formed against the president shall prosper'.
Aseidu Nketia picked his spot at the top most left of the public gallery. It was an eagle-eyed position where he looked down at his NDC MPs.
Photo: Johnson Aseidu Nketia, a former MP, enjoyed a return to Parliament as he waved in acknowledgement of his colleagues.
The Majority looked happy, chatty and judging by their impressive attendance, they looked terribly whipped.
Joy News’ Elton John Brobbey explained this is a three-line whip – the presidency represented by Julius Debrah, the party represented by ‘General Mosquito’ and the Majority caucus’ own whips. All to exert presssure on their MPs to do the 'right' thing.
Photo: Chief of Staff Julius Debrah walks over to shake the hands of the Minority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu
Could the Minority stand a dog’s chance today?
Wearing an inquisitive look, ET Mensah, a former Sports Minister grabbed the current Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye and sat him on the platform for the Clerks where they both traded talks about the latest football controversy.
The Black Stars have had to pay their own ticket for an AFCON 2017 game against Rwanda because Mr. Vanderpuye is adamant that government has no money.
The signal of the Speaker entering the Chamber broke up all conversations and the MPs stood to acknowledge the umpire, the arbiter, the judge, the referee.
Let’s get ready to rumble…
A stern look froze on Majority leader Alban Bagbin's face. Backed by his belligerent-looking Majority, they readied to crash a dodged-looking Minority. This one is for the President, they would be thinking.
After explaining the rationale for calling the MPs, Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Edward, Doe Adjaho, began reading what looked like a judgement. The MPs were waiting for the ball to be dropped to their court. But the referee began dribbling.
The request for a Special Committee of Parliament is “no different in material particulars” from the investigations already being conducted by CHRAJ, an anti-corruption state organ, he argued.
“And so?” some Minority MPs jabbed. Edward Doe Adjaho was unperturbed with the ball at his feet.
“I am of the firm conviction that constitutional bodies, must respect each other,” he intoned. The Minority looked on quizzically.
"Is the man doing the debate himself with himself or he is going to leave the argument to us," they wondered.
“….I am therefore unable to admit the motion. I hereby direct the clerk to return the motion to the member in whose name it stands…”, Edward Doe Adjaho finished the game and dismissed the motion to the stunned look of a ball-watching Minority.
Photo: Minority look despondent and disappointed
The Majority MPs lifted up an A4 sheets inscribed ‘one suspect, one police’ suggesting that Mahama cannot be investigated by two state institutions. It was an inscription that humourised and ridiculed NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo’s manifesto promises.
If he is promising one factory, one district; one village, one dam and one constituency, one million dollars, then Mahama is ‘one suspect’, who only needs ‘one police’ they laughed.
Photo: A satisfied Majority prepare to walk off with the spoils of victory
Without firing a single shot from the Majority, the red army of the governing party MPs stood up and walked off with a triumphant look, sneering at the Minority which appeared to be still processing the shock in their seats.
Alban Bagbin walked away with victory peering at the Minority leader with a satisfied air of a man whose anger had been appeased.
They, the NDC MPs, had just scored a victory for the President and walked off to score another victory for themselves in the constituencies where they had a parliamentary election coming up in December. This one is for the President.
It is said that in parliament, the Minority has its say but the Majority will have their way.
But not today, the NPP MPs would feel. Today, the Speaker had his say and had his way, leaving the Minority rooted, stunned and shocked in their seats.
The 'expensive mischief' had been killed in 10minutes.
[L] Mahama's 2016 campaign spokesperson, Joyce Bawa-Mogtari, former NDC minister Totobi Kwakyi, Communications minister Omane Boamah and his deputy, Felix Kwakye Ofosu.
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