MEMBERS of Parliament, yesterday, uncharacteristically departed from the usual heckling, excessive jeers and cheers that have characterised the presentation of budget statements and State of the Nation Addresses.
This was evident by the ‘reasonable’ decorum and silence that swept through the chamber of Parliament as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo presented his address on the state of the nation on the floor of Parliament in Accra.
Though the address was dispersed with periodic jeers from the Minority caucus on matters they disagreed with and cheers from the Majority side of the House, it is incomparable to past addresses where placards were bandied about to either approve or disapprove of a government’s performance.
Ghanaians had complained about the conduct of the lawmakers over the years, which they say, made it difficult for them to follow the presentation of the President or the Finance Minister.
With the departure from the decades long heckling, President Akufo-Addo could clearly be heard in the chamber, unlike past address deliveries, as the lawmakers substituted their heckling to taking notes as the President delivered the address.
Though it is unclear what might have informed the decision of the lawmakers to depart from the usual ‘noise making’, it came in the wake of the display of placards with the inscription “Bloody Widow” by Minority members at the swearing-in of the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Lydia Seyram Alhassan.
That incident infuriated the Ghanaian citizenry who condemned the Minority for the action, they said demonised widowhood.
The address which started at 10:20am and ended at 12pm, had Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, former Presidents John Rawlings and John Mahama in attendance.
Others in attendance were Justices of the Superior Courts of judicature, security capos, the diplomatic corps, traditional rulers, political party leaders, ministers of state, the clergy, among other dignitaries.
The parlour of Parliament, meanwhile, was the battle ground for broadcast media outlets who had pitched camp there to broadcast the address.
Dressed in black suit and tie, with a white shirt to match, President Akufo-Addo was escorted to the chamber by Speaker Aaron Mike Oquaye, the Majority and Minority Leaders, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu respectively.
Arriving to the tunes blaring from the fontonfrom drum, President Akufo-Addo walked into the chamber appearing grinningly cheerful to deliver the address; the third since his election as president of the republic.
In his address, President Akufo-Addo among other things touted the performance of his government in enhancing the economy of the country.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “the economy is at the heart of all we seek to do, it is the success of the economy that will guarantee an improvement in the quality of the life of our people”.
He recommitted his government’s resolve to quality education, health, a robust tourism sector, effective transportation, a clean Ghana, uninterrupted power supply, amongst others.
BY YAW KYEI & JULIUS YAO PETETSI