The aura of drama surfaced when the first legislator-to-be stepped onto the floor.
The Members of Parliament elected from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had occupied seats on the majority side in parliament ahead of the dissolution of the 7th Parliament Wednesday night.
The reason for their uncharacteristic punctuality would be clear later but the NDC MPs were seen taking the names of the NPP MPs, who initially occupied that side, off the desks.
For about 20 minutes, Adansi Asokwa MP-elect, K.T. Hammond and Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery and the Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul tried, though unsuccessfully to convince the minority to move back to their seats.
At about 11:20 pm, personalities from both sides were seen in a standoff on the floor. The group included Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, A.B.A Fuseini, John Jinapor, among others.
In what looked like musical chairs-gone bad, the Ablekuma West MP prior to the heated altercation had occupied her seat despite the takeover of the majority side of the aisle by the NDC.
She insisted to sit in the area despite calls by the NDC MPs for her to vacate her seat and join her colleagues at the Minority side of the house causing a melee in the process.
At a point, she was seen sitting on the laps of Kwabena Mintah Akandoh who has been explaining the rationale behind the move.
“We sat at the majority side, the right-hand side of where the speaker sits. So when they came in, all of them moved to the minority, the left side and sat down. Ursula refused to go to that side,” he said.
He told JoyNews “…when she came back [from what he believes may have been the washroom], she sat on my lap. She just sat on my lap. I didn’t want to touch her.”
The House was once again thrown into disarray after the legitimacy of the Assin North MP-elect, James Gyakye Quayson was called into question by Effutu MP, Alexander Afenyo Markin.
He was present in the House despite an injunction preventing him from participating in Thursday morning’s proceedings.
Mr Markins’ concern drew another roar from the NDC MPs who flared up in fury as their NPP colleagues rebutted angrily.
The Clerk of Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah said, “I was duly served, and I am therefore unable to recognize James Quayson as MP-elect for the purposes of the election of Speaker. I will therefore accordingly proceed in the conduct of this election.”
But the National Democratic Congress (NDC) side of the House, on whose ticket Mr Quayson contested the election, said it was not in the place of the Clerk, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, who serves as Chair until a Speaker is elected, to serve the MP-elect in Parliament.
Haruna Iddrisu who leads the NDC MPs argued that Mr Gyakye Quayson is yet to be served with the injunction order and so nothing bars him from going ahead to represent his constituents.
The Clerk was given a run for his money as he was heckled verbally – almost physically at a point.
To avoid further escalation, he gave in and permitted the Assin North MP to vote and bear any consequences therein.
Political Scientist, Ransford Gyampoh described the Clerk’s composure as seeming unprepared for the task adding that he should have anticipated some of these things and deliberated with the leaders to forestall the development.
Another round of chaos erupted on the floor.
It was initially unclear what triggered it but MP-elect for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak was seen shoving another MP in the chamber while moving towards the bench of the clerk where the ballot box has been placed.
Parliamentary marshals were assaulted near the ballot box by MPs-elect with some MPs kicking down the voting booths in the process.
It was another period of uncontrollable chaos which triggered near-brawls and the surprising appearance of a military team, a development the NDC MPs see as an abuse of state security.
Even that, did not quench the flames of emotions which were blazing high. They were eventually hooted at by the NDC MPs and moved out.
As the dust settled on this, the protest was found to be against the NPP MP’s decision to make members display their ballot to affirm their vote for Prof Mike Oquaye before dropping the sheet in the box.
Just when Ghanaians though they had seen enough, the icing on the cake was delivered by Tema West MP-elect, Carlos Ahenkorah.
Viewers were baffled by his singular debilitating act of malice as this individual who secured his mandate through a ballot box, attempted to snatch another set of papers which was supposed to see the democratic selection of Speaker.
All this unfolded in the glare of the public, a move which would leave the crafters of the constitution questioning the misplaced jealousy with which the Tema West MP bolted with ballot sheets through the door leaving democracy almost in shambles.
The Rambo-style development has been widely condemned as childish and infantile.
However, the night that was characterized by fisticuffs and ended in what has been unanimously deemed a shameful day was crowned by the election of NDC-nominee Alban Kingsford Bagbin by sunrise, giving rise to a dawn of the 8th Parliament.
A new era that was hard-fought for, literally.