Politics

Muntaka insists 2 MPs, 13 staff tested positive for COVID-19

Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Asawase Constituency in the Ashanti Region has revealed that two of his colleagues have indeed tested positive for Coronavirus. 

According to the Minority Chief Whip, denials by Parliament that no MP or staff had tested positive  for the respiratory disease had smeared the institution of Parliament as an untruthful one. 

Parliament, through its Director of Public Affairs, Madam Kate Addo, in Accra on Tuesday dismissed media reports that two lawmakers and 13 Parliamentary Service staff had tested positive for the virus. 

“Parliament would like to state categorically that the results of the tests are not yet known and so the report is not true,” Ms Kate Addo said in a statement issued.

But speaking with the media in Parliament yesterday, Alhaji Muntaka said the reports are a true reflection of the situation in the House.

According to him, the test results for Wednesday May 20, 2020 indicated that one MP and a parliamentary staff tested positive and the next day, one other MP and 12 staff also tested positive.  

“Some of us called for this mass testing for Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive to deal with stigma for people to see that “someone like Muntaka has tested [positive] and is going through the protocol so going through the protocol is not hell. 

“To conceal this is an abominable offense because it is not in the national interest. 

“If you do that, you will be endangering the lives of other Members of Parliament and staff. You must tell the truth and tell people what steps are being taken to address it,” Alhaji Muntaka said. 

The leadership of Parliament, he said was aware of the situation and that was why Speaker Aaron Mike Oquaye had to repeat the need for the testing and making it compulsory for that matter. 

“To lie to the public to me is most unfortunate. Parliament should be the last to be doing this especially when it is in the national interest for people to know,” the Asawase MP stated. 

Those who have tested positive, he said had been isolated and tracing of their contacts was underway.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, Mike Aaron Oquaye,  on the floor of the House has cautioned MP and Ghanaians in general against declaring the coronavirus status of others. 

“You cannot unilaterally put into the public realm that a person is positive. Let every person know this in this republic. It is only for an individual to voluntarily put it in the public realm. 

“We should show that we are not in a hurry to disclose

worthy of a headline. Such sensationalism which is going on must stop because they rather encourage stigmatisation. 

“When you sensationalise news, you encourage stigmatisation,” Speaker Oquaye said in a closing remark on a statement made on the floor by Dr Mark Kurk Nawane, MP for Nabdam, who decried the stigmatisation of coronavirus patients. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

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