General News of Friday, 27 February 2015
The Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has explained why members did not heckle President John Dramani Mahama as he delivered the 2015 State of the Nation address in the House Thursday morning.
Heckling, a technique of intimidating a speaker is a normal parliamentary practice used to express discontent.
The Minority MPs most often voice out expressions such as No! No!! Tweeaaa!!! amongst others whenever a State of the Nation Address is being presented. It would be recalled that in 2014, President Mahama in a jest, told heckling MPs: “Herr! Order. I’m not your co-equal” to ask them to keep quiet and listen to him whilst he delivered his second State of the Nation address.
But in a sharp contrast to what pertains in the House during such occasions, the minority MPs who wore black attire, did not raise one note of disapproval during the entire sharp on Thursday and only made various gestures once in a while.
Seconding the motion for the House to adjourn after President Mahama had ended delivering his State of the Nation Address, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said they (Minority MPs) decided to keep quiet to protect the dignity of the House.
According to him, they have realised that anytime they interject during the presentation, “business in the House degenerates”.
“Mr Speaker I think for the avoidance of doubt it is important to state for the records that we in this House have agreed to listen to the president in silence. Indeed we are all witnesses to the fact that at a point the conduct of business in this House was degenerating any moment our presidents came. So this is a self-imposition to protect the dignity of the House and of course the Presidency,” he said.
Explaining why he is in black, he said: “Mr Speaker, I am in black and majority of my compatriots are in black. The symbolism of it is that… your Excellency, the nation is in distress. This is ‘dum dum’ and there is just one ‘sor’….”
He, however, warned the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) not to think they were ‘mesmerized’ by President Mahama’s speech to the extent that they could not talk.
“Mr Speaker, let nobody, tomorrow, come to say that the President so much mesmerized the House that they couldn’t do anything but listen to him in silence.
“Mr Speaker, the President has indicated to us that, and he quoted Nelson Mandela that, “the resilience of a person lies in his rising up every time he falls. That statement is most apt, it’s most apt, except Mr Speaker, some falls are avoidable, some falls are avoidable.”
“Mr Speaker, the President told us that we have been here before. Last year he said the same thing that we have been here before as a nation. We wanted to hear from the President that we were there before, that we will put these things behind us… we have a catalog of wishes from the President.”
“But we all know that we have to expect a revised, in fact a reviewed budget. For the first time in the history of the 4th Republic, the nation is awaiting a reviewed budget, that should tell us where we are. We will deal with it,” he said.
Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu however assured that next week, the Minority will unveil the “true state of the nation” and “…we will know where we are as a nation.”