CSOs condemn chaos in Parliament

Fourteen Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have spoken against the violent activities, security interferences and disorder which occurred during the elections and inauguration of the eighth parliament in Accra yesterday.

In a joint statement issued and copied to the Ghanaian Times yesterday, they said, such occurrences and disturbances at the floor of parliament was a dent on the country’s developing democracy.

The statement said, “The scenes witnessed by Ghanaians, and played out before the international community betrayed our political leaders’ proclamations, and expressed commitments to democratic principles, the rule of law and the pursuit of the public interest.”

The fourteen CSOs include, the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI), Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), and Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC).

Others are, the Ark Foundation, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Citizens’ Movement against Corruption (CMAC), as well as IMANI Africa.

The remaining CSOs are, the Africa Center for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), SEND Ghana, STAR Ghana Foundation and the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI).

The Organisations have since urged that, “As a nation, we must quickly move away from this developing pattern as we move forward. Also, for a temporary period, the unruly antics of Members of Parliament-elect threatened to prolong a dangerous constitutional and governance situation, where there was no Parliament and no President to govern the country.”

Also, they have called for the sanctioning of perpetrators of the snatching of the ballot papers by the House, and a careful reflection and reform of a number of legal and constitutional matters which were, “Uncovered during the fraught process to elect the speaker.”

The non-state organisations, in their statement said the resolution achieved by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the election of the Speaker and his two deputies was a testament that the best way the eighth Parliament could succeed was to work together.

They have, therefore, advised that, “In a spirit of compromise, consensus-building, and accommodation, in the service of all Ghanaians, and in pursuit of development for the country,” the leadership of two political parties develop the habit of mediation and negotiation throughout the eighth parliament.

Activities at the floor of the house, following the dissolution of the seventh parliament was characterised by a number of dramatic scenes including the snatching of ballot papers by a member of the House, and misunderstanding over sitting arrangement which subsequently led to a scuffle between some MPs and the joint Police and Military force.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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