General News of Saturday, 4 March 2017
Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, has described Ghana’s recent ECOWAS Parliament fiasco as an act borne out of betrayal of trust. Ghana’s delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, was left stranded outside the legislative house in Abuja, on February 10, 2017, after the speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament refused to swear in the members because the list presented was more than the number of seats available to Ghana.
The incident, which some members called an “international embarrassment to the country” resulted from the refusal of Fred Opare Ansah, Member of Parliament for Suhum, to step down as a Member of the regional legislature.
The MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, subsequently stepped down from Ghana’s delegation to save the country from further embarrassment. Commenting on the issue, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Minster for Parliamentary Affairs, said he cannot be blamed for the embarrassment and called for closer collaboration to avoid future occurrence.
“The composition of the last ECOWAS parliament was predicated on some assumption and agreement that we were going to re-constitute the entire delegation once the term of that parliament came to an end, and all those who were sent there agreed to that. It was a betrayal of trust what happened later, and then my name gets to be linked.
Nothing can be furthered away from the truth,” he insisted. Below is Kyei Mensah Bonsu’s explanation to Parliament on Friday: “Mr. Speaker it is not as if we are not aware of the protocols underpinning the ECOWAS parliament, we are aware and I will not say it was not ignorance. When the very embarrassing situation occurred the way it occurred, I have been personally linked as if it was my insistence that Parliament seated the delegation the way the delegation came to be constituted…nothing can be furthered away from this.” “I know that people who are clothed in pettiness and mischief went out there to tarnish my name that it was the Majority Leader who led Parliament to do that.
It was not the Majority Leader who led Parliament to do that. As the Minority Leader is aware, Mr. Speaker this matter came before you, we had agreed about the composition, and we had agreed to terminate membership. I think this should be clear to everyone else because I hear people amongst us saying that the decision was faulty, it wasn’t.
“The composition of the last ECOWAS parliament was predicated on some assumption and agreement that we were going to re-constitute the entire delegation once the term of that parliament came to an end and all those who sent there agreed to that. It was a betrayal of trust what happened later and then my name gets to be linked.
Nothing can be furthered away from the truth.” “I think I must forcefully register that. I’m not angry. Beyond that, there have been an attempt to engage the colleague in question unfortunately, over the past three days, he’s been coming to my office but we haven’t find time to meet because of what we have to do preparing towards the delivery of the budget statement. I believe that we can find space maybe over the weekend to engage in that and then bring this matter to a closure.”