Politics

Mahama urges transparency in MPs COVID-19 status

Former President John Dramani Mahama has added his voice to calls for full disclosure on the COVID-19 status of Members of Parliament.

Mr Mahama made the call via a tweet on his official Twitter page on Friday.

“Reports that the virus has spread to the Chamber and offices of Parliament is very disturbing. While it is important to give hope to citizens, it is absolutely necessary to be transparent and communicate the full picture of the extent of the disease,” he said.

The former president’s call came at a time the leadership of Parliament has been accused of being untruthful to Ghanaians following reports that two Members of Parliament and 13 parliamentary staff have been infected with COVID-19.

On the instruction of the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, mass COVID-19 testing was done in Parliament about two weeks ago for the legislators and parliamentary staff.

A week after, it was claimed that two MPs had tested positive for COVID-19 alongside 13 parliamentary staff.

The Minority Chief Whip, Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka, insisted that reports of the positive tests were true and criticised the leadership of Parliament for trying to “conceal the truth”.

The Member of Parliament for the North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa had earlier called for the full disclosure of the COVID-19 test results of Members of Parliament.

“I am totally disappointed in how the COVID-19 testing of MPs and staff of the House has been managed. There should be nothing to hide. Let us lead by example and in a way that avoids entrenching stigmatisation which is becoming a major challenge in the national coronavirus response.

Many world leaders and institutions of repute have not concealed the result of their tests, the Ghanaian Parliament should not be an unworthy exception,”Mr Ablakwa noted.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament has said making such disclosures will fuel stigmatisation.

The Speaker further described as unacceptable what he termed as the unilateral declaration of COVID-19 results of persons in public by some members of the House.

According to him, individuals including MPs should stop such acts.

“It is very clear from our discussions this morning that you cannot unilaterally put into the public realm that a person is positive.

Every person knows this in this Republic and it has been well stated in this honourable House. You cannot unilaterally put into the public realm that a person is positive.”

“It is only for an individual to voluntarily put this in the public realm and we are all learning from this as decent and honourable people and this House will follow that kind of example.

That is our public duty. We should show that we are not in a hurry to disclose names worthy of a headline and it is my view that such sensationalism which is going on must stop because they rather encourage stigmatisation.

When you sensationalise the news, you encourage stigmatisation,” the Speaker of Parliament said.

-citifmonline.com

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