Blows in Parliament

General News of Friday, 11 December 2015

Source: Daily Guide

New ParliamentGhana’s Parliament

The climax of the debate on the 2016 budget statement was characterised by chaotic scenes, verbal abuses, name calling, wild gesticulations and almost fisticuffs, when the Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin, referred to some members of the Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) as ‘hotheads.’ He anger stemmed from being heckled during his contribution, which was to round off the debate.

The majority leader had said that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is not as vindictive as the NPP government and that during the NPP era, the government was selling state properties arbitrarily and was also ejecting previous government officials from state bungalows without compassion, to the extent that he (Bagbin) as the then minority leader was also ejected from his official bungalow without any reason. He said under the current NDC regime, leaders of the Minority NPP had been enjoying the same privileges as their NDC counterparts in government.

The Minority members thought that Bagbin had veered off the main debate on the budget and was doing ‘politics’ and so some Minority members started heckling him, causing the majority leader to refer to those heckling him as ‘hotheads.’

Mr Bagbin looked at the Minority side and pinpointed the MP for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, as one of those heckling him and said he was one of the hotheads.

This infuriated Mr Asiamah, who shot up angrily from his seat, trying to catch the attention of the speaker and also gesticulating angrily to find out why the majority leader should single him out as one of the hotheads, inciting the Majority members to back their leader.

The Majority members started attacking the Minority members verbally and they also retaliated in same manner, thereby creating a chaotic situation in the House.

The MP for Odododiodoo, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye; MP for Tano South, Hannah Bissiw; Bodi, Sampson Ahi and Bortianor/Ngleshie/Amanfrom, Bright Demordzi, led the charge from the Majority side with Nii Lantey Vanderpuye and Hannah Bissiw sometimes charging from their seats towards the Minority side, shouting on top of their voices.

The NPP MP for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu and Yagaba/Kubori, Ussif Mustapha, also led the charge from the Minority side.

There was total pandemonium as both leaderships of the two major parties got involved in the exchanges.

The confusion was such that the Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, had to scream on top of his voice for order to be restored.

After the speaker had struggled to cool down tempers, he said, “Hon members, the whole world is watching us and we don’t have to do things that will bring the reputation of this institution into disrepute. I have seen a lot of you shouting, screaming and throwing your hands about and if you don’t stop that I will call names and ask the Marshall to march you out of the chamber. You cannot continue this way

“I have seen a number of people misbehaving but I thought the majority leader will draw my attention and refer the behaviour of those members to me so that I take the appropriate action instead of calling colleagues ‘hotheads.’

“I have seen a number of members putting up disorderly behaviour and thought the majority leader, who was then on the floor, would refer them to me.”

Mr Adjaho later asked the majority leader to withdraw the description since it was offensive; and he (majority leader) did before the budget was eventually approved.

The MP for Atwima Mponua later told this paper that it was unfortunate that Alban Bagbin could descend so low because as a leader he should lead by example.

“For the speaker to ask a whole majority leader to withdraw a statement made against a colleague shows that the leader had erred so badly and even disgraced the whole house,” he said, adding that if he were the majority leader he would resign from his position.