General News of Monday, 20 February 2017
A statement made on Friday by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Sagnarigu in the Northern Region, ABA Fuseini, and a counter-statement by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member for Nhyiaeso in the Ashanti Region, Kennedy Kankam, generated a huge furore on the floor.
The NDC MP had commented on acts of violence by political thugs and the NPP legislator expressed concern about the seizure of public facilities in the aftermath of elections.
Minority NDC members were very incensed that Speaker Prof Mike Oquaye had admitted the statement made by the NPP MP who was seen as castigating the previous NDC government for allowing its activists to seize state properties in a ‘Hollywood’ fashion and visiting mayhem on innocent NPP supporters across the country in 2009.
Mr ABA Fuseini had also condemned acts of violence perpetrated by what he termed a ‘bunch of hoodlums’ in the Tamale metropolis, who seized the offices of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and brutally assaulted workers of these institutions.
But Mr Kennedy Kankam, in a counter claim, also said that after the 2008 general election, the current national chairman of the NDC, Kofi Portuphy, led NDC foot soldiers and hoodlums to physically take over the headquarters of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and imposed himself as the new national coordinator until former President John Evans Atta Mills officially confirmed him as the new coordinator.
NDC MPs in the House started drumming on their desks to express their displeasure with the association of their chairman with violence.
The NDC MP for Builsa North and former deputy minister for the Interior, James Agalga, was so agitated that he said the speaker should not have allowed the statement made by the MP for Nhyiaeso. He believed it was tainted with biases and equalization, stressing that it was unfortunate that even at the Flagstaff House – the seat of government – the NPP would allow its security outfit – Invisible Forces – to brutalise some policemen on duty on January 9 after the NPP had taken over power.
Mr James Agalga said the same NPP thugs invaded the premises of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GHPA) to take over state property there.
He said it was important for the NPP to bring its followers to order because such attacks could undermine the peace of the country.
The NPP MP for Manhyia North, Collins Owusu Amankwah, said it was important that the Presidential Transition Act be looked at again to make room for discussions and engagements and the outcome of such transitional engagements be discussed at the district assembly level for the ordinary Ghanaian to be educated on the details.
He said it was also important for the National Commission for Civic Edudation (NCCE) to be tasked with the responsibility to educate the youth of all political parties on the need to avoid such unwarranted attacks on political opponents.
The minority chief whip, Mubarak Muntaka, said he was very much disappointed that the speaker could allow such a statement delivered by Kennedy Kankam which he said cast a lot of insinuations on the leadership of the NDC.
He said now NDC members are on the receiving end of brutal attacks by political thugs and therefore the government and the security agencies must take steps to stop these attacks.
The majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said that such attacks are very regrettable but the NDC must not behave like the ostrich since worse things happened when it took over from the NPP government in 2009.
According to him, NDC supporters brutally attacked NPP supporters at Agbogbloshie in Accra where many of them were maimed and some even died from that attack.
“Just after the 2008 elections our supporters were butchered. I was in parliament when seven of our supporters who had been butchered with deep wounds and blood all over their bodies ran to me to seek refuge in my office,” he recalled, stressing that he was forced to send the injured supporters to the Ridge Hospital for treatment.
He said that these attacks must be condemned by all political leaders and all the security steps taken to avoid similar occurrences in the future.