Attempts to illicit an apology from the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) group in the Parliament of Ghana ended in a deadlock as the Minority sought to challenge the ruling of the presiding Speaker which sought to force it out of them.
However, upon his reflections and the Minority’s position on the matter, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, who was then presiding over the House decided to revise his ruling to rather hold into account individual members of the Minority at the Privileges committee for wielding placards against the newly elected Member of Parliament for the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, Lydia Seyram Alhassan who has succeeded the father of her five children.
The Speaker’s earlier ruling was to the effect that the leadership of the Minority should apologize on behalf of the Minority group for their action.
The Minority NDC group has remained adamant amidst political pressure from their opponents, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to render an apology to the new Member of Parliament for labeling her “Bloody Widow” on the floor of Parliament just before her swearing in on Tuesday, 5th February 2019.
Just before she took and subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of a Member of Parliament, some Members of Parliament from the Minority side of the House were seen wielding placards bearing the inscription, “Bloody Widow” to protest and to draw public attention to the violence which heralded the by-election in the constituency in question where some members of the public including a sitting MP were attacked by some masked and well-built men alleged to be associated with the NPP.
The Minority further upped their protest by staging a walkout by staying outside the chamber for the rest of the day’s sittings to put pressure on the government to institute investigations into the alleged violent incident and to bring the perpetrators to book.
However, the debate on the matter took a new twist on the Floor of the House on Wednesday, February 06, 2019 when the Second Deputy Majority Whip, Matthew Nyindam, raised the issue and demanded that the Minority be made to apologize for ridiculing and denigrating the image of a fellow Member of Parliament and for exhibiting acts of insensitivity to the plight of a woman mourning the death of the father of her children.
Some other members on the Majority side of the House including the Women Caucus of the Majority wing also supported the view for the Minority to apologize to the new MP and by extension, to all women and widows for the negative influence of their actions on women empowerment and widowhood.
On their part, the Minority side of the House, led by the Deputy Minority Leader, James Kludze Avedzi, with the support of the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak and others, refused to offer any apology to that effect while they drew the House’s attention to what they believed was an injustice to the people who sustained various forms of injuries including gunshot wounds as a result of the attacks.
At the end of what become a very emotional debate and banter of words between the two sides of the House who had taken entrenched positions on the matter, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, gave a ruling for the Leadership of the Minority to apologize to the new MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Lydia Seyram Alhasan on behalf of the minority group.
The Leadership of the Minority declined the invitation of the Deputy Speaker and served notice to contest the decision because they held the view that the Speaker’s ruling was not grounded in the Standing Orders of Parliament.
Based on their position, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, revised his ruling and directed that the audiovisual department should furnish him with the footage of proceedings for the day the action took place in order to identify the individual MPs who were wielding the placards. This will then inform their referral to the Privileges Committee.
Source: Clement Akoloh||Africanewsradio.com