General News of Thursday, 27 July 2017
The Minority in Parliament has accused the Speaker, Rt. Hon Prof. Mike Oquaye, of frustrating efforts of the opposition to hold government accountable.
Minority Chief Whip and Asawase MP, Alhaji Mubarak Muntaka complained, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs have observed the Speaker sidelines key NDC MPs during debates.
He said the Minority Leader once stood up for almost 15 minutes but the Speaker refused to call him. It also happened to him on Wednesday during a debate on the procedure for laying two bills before Parliament.
“For a long time he refused to call me”, Muntaka lamented and said he later privately spoke to the Speaker about these concerns.
“In less than 24 hours, he is still repeating the same thing”, the Minority Chief Whip said.
Things got to a head at Thursday’s sitting after the Speaker denied the Minority Leader an opportunity to ask the Agricultural Minister more than one question when he appeared before the House.
Muntaka Mubarak got up to angrily, banged the table and accused the Speaker of disrespecting the Minority Leadership.
“You have to give us space! If the Speaker thinks we should not be here, we will walk out” he reacted on the floor of the house.
The caucus was in an uproar backing Muntaka’s threats to stage a walk-out over its persisting attitude to ignore the Minority.
The backbenchers pushed for a walk-out.
He said the Majority Leader on an occasion joined the Minority Leader to speak to the Speaker about his posture towards the NDC.
“How many times must we remind him?…what else should we do?”
He said for the past six months since the Speaker was elected, Rt. Hon Prof. Michael Oquaye has been “closing the space. making the space so narrow that it is difficult for the minority to even have their say.
“You can’t have your way, you can’t have your say. That is just unbearable for us”, Muntaka fumed.