Speaker under fire over controversial Israel comment

General News of Monday, 11 December 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com


Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye

The Minority in Parliament has heavily descended on the Speaker of Parliament for backing the decision by the US to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Clement Apaak, who is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said since Professor Mike Oquaye’s motivation for the comments is not known, it is prudent he explains that to Parliament.

“To say the least, it is to some extent even embarrassing to say that the Speaker has made a statement which has been contradicted by government. It does not augur well for our international image and reputation.

Prof. Mike Oquaye is reported to have said that Ghana will back Israel and the US if the former decides to move its capital to Jerusalem.

This statement then triggered a response from government because it had not made any official declaration since the discussion to move the capital started. Government distanced itself from statement explaining that it was the Speaker’s personal position.

The controversy is thickening as it appears the Speaker did not speak to any of the leadership in Parliament before declaring his stance on the matter.

Although the minority caucus has not met to take a decision on the issue, he said they will stand by the country’s foreign policy to remain “positively neutral.”

“On that grounds, we can positively associate ourselves with the rest of the world, which has certainly disagreed with the position which Donald Trump has taken,” he said.

He said given that government has come out to distance itself from the Speakers’ comment, Prof Mike Ocquaye owes Parliament an explanation.

“This is because he puts us in a rather unpleasant political situation which seeks to suggest that there is no consultation between the executive and the legislative arms of government,” he added.

According to Mr Apaak, considering that at some point the Speaker can assume the office of the President, such a sensitive Foreign Policy gaffe should not allowed to go without explanation.

Commenting on the issue, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Frank Annor Dompreh suggested the Speaker was only making a personal comment.

“I mean there are people who occupy top positions who share the same view as that of the Speaker, but for the fact that he occupies that important position, it is difficult for anybody to distinguish the individual position.

“And in this context, I can deduce he was making an individual comment…be that it may I will look at it in a positive angle,” he said.

According to the Nsawam Adoagri MP, considering that government has come out with its position, the Speaker’s “unfortunate comments” must be dealt with in a matured way.

International Relations expert Vladimir Antwi Danso also insisted the Speaker was only making a personal comment.

“I won’t fault him because he is an intellectual and I strongly suspect that most intellectuals don’t care where they say what and personally that is what he believes in.

“What is important is that he was not speaking as the chair of the House and calling on the House to deliberate on that and come out with an act or a bill,” he said.

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