Nkrumah ouster raises Parliament’s tempo

Accra, Feb 25, GNA – Parliament on Tuesday became almost chaotic, when discussion on the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1966 resulted in bi-partisan tantrums, as sharp divisions arose from both sides of the House, on the life, times and ideology of Ghana’s First President.

As the issue degenerated, with legislators yelling and registering their displeasure at opposing views, the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Ebo-Barton Odro, had to stop the discussions, as the matter strayed from the ouster of Nkrumah, to the National Democratic Congress metamorphosing from the Provisional National Defence Council that truncated Ghana’s democratic process by staging the 1981 coup d’etat that brought it to power.

The discussions were a result of a statement made by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta, Mr Richard Mawuli Quarshigah, to mark the 49th anniversary of the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah.

Mr Quarshigah said Dr Nkrumah’s achievements were unparallel in the history of Africa, and of any government in the country, and that Nkrumah’s successes were still evident, as they continued to be the fulcrum around which Ghana’s current development drive revolves.

He said Osagyefo was a man full of commitment to the well-being of the masses, and urged Ghanaians to reflect on the ideas and contributions of Nkrumah, and forge a united front to build a better Ghana.

But when members had the opportunity to contribute to the statement, some Minority members digressed from the issue, and accused the majority of inconsistency in their statements on coup d’etats.

Mr Dominic Nitiwul, Deputy Minority Leader and MP for Bimbilla said the Majority was quick to condemn the coup that ousted Nkrumah from power, but found nothing wrong in celebrating the 1972 and 1981 coups which overthrew the Busia and Liman governments.

He wondered how the Majority had forgotten that their party, the National Democratic Congress, had come out of the 1981 coup d’état by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), that had truncated a democratic process.

This statement infuriated the Majority, who registered their displeasure at the submission, asking the First Deputy Speaker to order Mr Nitiwul to withdraw the statement.

Adamant Mr Nitiwul infuriated the Majority the more, when he rhetorically asked if the statement he made was not true.

This resulted in shouting bouts, accusations and counter-accusations, and names-calling across the House.

The MP for Ablekuma, Mr Fritz Baffour whose voice thundered above that of everyone, demanded that the members discussed the issue dispassionately, and that it was very unnecessary for partisan considerations to be given to a discussion on the life and achievements of Nkrumah.

Mr Barton Odro had to truncate the discussions before it degenerated, considering the highly charged environment with some Minority backbenchers hooting at an enraged Majority, and shouting ‘coup makers, coup makers’.

Even after the Speaker had brought the public business to a close, the legislators threw verbal salvos at each other.


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