North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, believes all the despicable behaviours portrayed by some members of the legislature prior to the inauguration of the 8th Parliament must have consequences.
According to him, the chaos and drama that marred the ceremony and drew negative attention to the House must also not be “swept under the red carpet of the hallowed chamber when that time comes.”
His comment follows hours of uncouth displays in the house during the first proceedings of the 8th Parliament.
After the initial shock over the NDC MPs occupying the majority side of Parliament, the House was 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.
The appearance of a military team, armed to its teeth in the chamber and the decision by the Tema West MP, Carlos Ahenkorah to snatch some ballot papers led to punches being thrown, and insults hurled at each other.
In a post on Facebook, the former Deputy Education Minister said all these happenings must be investigated and persons found culpable punished.
He also used the platform to celebrate the election of the NDC’s Alban Bagbin as Speaker of Parliament; a fate he says would not have been possible without help from the NPP.
“As I greatly commend my resilient NDC colleagues and our quietly courageous allies in the NPP who all fought hard to make this historic moment possible, let us remember it is not about our personal egos – it is all about the supreme national interest. The celebrations must now give way for the actual work to begin,” he wrote.
Mr. Okidzeto Ablakwa was also optimistic the “equal numerical strength of the two leading parties” will bring about a new dawn where Parliament is better positioned to “rebuild our democracy, fight corruption head-on, confront executive impunity, reconstruct an independent and respected legislature and put the real needs of the people first.”
Below is his full post:
There must be soul searching and far-reaching consequences for the despicable scenes in Parliament over the last few hours.
Nothing must be swept under the red carpet of the hallowed chamber when that time comes. Those who viciously assault our democracy must know there’s a heavy price to pay.
For now, the epic victory of Ghana’s most decorated legislator, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin as the first Speaker of the House from a different party of the sitting President must be well and truly celebrated for the great prospect it holds for our democracy and parliamentary oversight.
Coupled with the equal numerical strength of the two leading parties (at least for now), it can be expected that the era where the executive railroads and makes the legislature its appendage will be a relic of the past.
As I greatly commend my resilient NDC colleagues and our quietly courageous allies in the NPP who all fought hard to make this historic moment possible, let us remember it is not about our personal egos – it is all about the supreme national interest. The celebrations must now give way for the actual work to begin.
This ushers a golden dawn to rebuild our democracy, fight corruption head on, confront executive impunity, reconstruct an independent and respected legislature and put the real needs of the people first.
We must be unyielding, uncompromising and dogged in the pursuit of higher principles and the national interest.
Consensus building must not be a new euphemism for cutting deals and looking the other way when injustice is perpetrated against the Ghanaian people. We are all being watched keenly by many and shall not be spared nor forgiven.
For the first time, per the combined effects of Articles 103 (5)&(6) of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Orders 154, 155 & 156, we will have equal numbers at the various Standing and Select Committees where for example we can thoroughly and competitively scrutinize and recommend for rejection when necessary the President’s nominations for ministerial and other appointments if any of them are deemed unfit after vetting.
So can the budget and other financial agreements if they are seen to undermine our collective interest be easily recommended for rejection at plenary. This obviously would not be the Parliament where deals such as Agyapa, Ameri, PDS, Oslo Chancery and others can be presented with cheeky ease.
Certainly, I will be the first to advocate that the power of the current parliamentary configuration should not make us needlessly obstructive or pompous. We have a country to build and many national challenges to address. MPs ought to be modest, magnanimous, studious, consultative and reflective in carrying out our duties in this watershed era.
Let us use this remarkable opportunity to advance the case of those of us who have always advocated for constitutional amendments to create a more potent legislative organ where majority of ministers do not have to be appointed from parliament and where parliament ceases to be subservient to the whimsical delights of the executive.
May MPs not squander this amazing opportunity and may posterity look back at the legislative business of this 8th Parliament and proclaim that this was the Ghanaian Parliament’s most treasured hour.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP, North Tongu)