First meeting of 8th Parliament was turbulent

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has described the first meeting of the 8th Parliament as turbulent and near-riotous.

“Turbulence and near-riots that characterised election of a Speaker, approval of ministers, as well as brouhaha surrounding passing of 2021 budget were embarrassing,” he conceded.

Mr Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu, who is Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame in the Ashanti Region, bemoaned several attempts by the Minority in Parliament to stampede government’s policies, programmes and social interventions.

He decried that the equal number of MPs belonging to Majority and Minority Caucuses meant the President must keepconsulting with Parliament but unfortunately, National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs in the House have demonstrated otherwise.

“What I didn’t anticipate was mere riot we witnessed in Parliament. I don’t want to believe we are going to see an obstructionist opposition party. So far, you are not too sure of how to read the weather.However, the first meeting of 8th Parliament has been eventful with the Minority, on several occasions, attempting to put the government and its policies in check,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted.

To begin with, the Minority MPs on the Appointments Committee vehemently rejected three ministerial nominees, including Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Dr Afriyie Akoto and Hawa Koomson, but failed to marshal enough numbers at the Plenary to get their decision through.

The Minority Caucus also raised concerns over imposition of new taxes, including COVID-19 Health Levy, Sanitation and Pollution Levy and review of road tolls, which NDC MPs believe are contractionary policies that will impoverish Ghanaians and kill businesses.

But the Majority Leader disagreed with the stance of Minority Caucus in subjecting every decision to vote by secret ballot and pointed out that, “I have been telling them if you want your position to be registered in the Hansard for posterity, what you have to do, as I have been doing, will be to get up and state,“Mr Speaker, as matter of policy, we in NDC collectively oppose the issues.

“We are not able to go along with the government on certain issues and let them be registered in the Hansard and we move on.That is how parliamentary practice is done but if you say everything be put to headcount, you’ll be seen as mere obstructionist and that is not good for a party that wants to be recognised as government in waiting,”MrKyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.–

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