Parliament adjourns, reconvenes in October

Prof Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament

Prof Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament

Parliament adjourned sine dine last Wednesday, with both sides of the House committing to better collaboration to make the legislature more effective when they reconvene in October.

The adjournment has brought to an end the second meeting of the first session of the seventh Parliament of the fourth Republic.

The House has been extremely active in the past few days over the Minority’s opposition to some procedural decisions being introduced by the majority which they said were alien to the House and accusations of bias against the Speaker, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye.

Things reached its pinnacle on Tuesday when the Minority staged a walkout in its display of discontentment.

The Majority and the Speaker have both denied the claims.

In his closing remarks after a marathon of activities in the House preceding the adjournment, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu said the Minority will continue to act as a responsible and constructive opposition by supporting government policies that would ensure the peace of the country.

In spite of this, Mr Iddrisu, who is also the MP for Tamale South said “we will remain a firm Minority and we will continue to discharge our duties without fear or favour. We will not be intimidated in the pursuit of that endeavour, for we shall employ all available parliamentary and constitutional means towards the realisation of that goal.”

He said Ghanaians expect the Minority to keep an eye on public concerns and matters of public interest, a commitment he said there were committed to.

Referencing the latest developments in the House that have become a matter of public concern, Mr Iddrisu reaffirmed his side’s support for the Speaker to maintain order, but indicated that “our right of say must be safeguarded by you as chair of this House.”

But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said in as much as his side recognised the right of the Minority to have its say, “it must be situated within the confines of our standing orders and the constitution.”

He was of the view that “the Speaker who is the umpire [referee] in this political game strives to show accommodation and tolerance, whiles reminding that rights are never absolute and unfetted.”

He acknowledged that opposition was needed to keep government on its toes but said “the opposition must always act responsibly” and added that “let us all learn to play by the rules of the House otherwise, heat may dominate coolness and that cannot be good for this country.”

The Suame MP urged his colleagues to use the recess period to do serious introspection, reflect and return more sober to continue the service of the country.”

The Speaker, Prof. Oquaye, in his closing statement said Parliament being a human institution with varying political ideologies, values, attitudes, was bound to be confronted with unfortunate incidents “some of which marred our record in the last days of this sitting.”

As far as Prof. Oquaye was concerned, it is the right of one to have his or her say “but there is a way of talking in the church, which is different from the Makola market and I will like to say that the way you say a thing, where you say it, how you say it, should be part of parliamentary etiquette.”

“Your right to have a say, of course, does not include unbridled gesticulations” he said, and called on members to “place the national interest first” in the discharge of their duties when they return.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

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