News Desk report with files from GNA
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, has urged parliamentarians to leave a mark that will protect the dignity of Ghana’s parliament. He has thus advised the MPs to eschew “undue interventions” of politicking that can mar the dignity of the legislative house, especially as the country prepares for the December 7 general elections.
The Speaker was speaking at the first sitting of the First Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic. The sitting will run for eight weeks before it breaks at the end of March 2020 for the Easter holidays ahead Ghana’s elections in December.
“Since we are in the election year, I will implore that we do not allow undue interventions into this House, by the politicking that sometimes go on outside…..We still want to maintain the dignity and decorum of this noble house,” Speaker Oquaye said, as he welcomed the MPs from the Christmas and New Year break.
“As members of the 7th Parliament, we need to have exceptional zeal and commitment to deliver this mandate, and leave a mark in the history of Parliament of Ghana,” he added.
He urged the MPs to continue to exhibit professionalism in the discharge of their parliamentary duties, reminding them that the meeting would be demanding and business would move on as a briskly as possible.
Speaker Ocquaye announced that the house had agreed on the principles and modalities on Private Members’ Bill, informing the MPs that there are bills which need attention. He urged members from both sides to collaborate with the leadership, clerks and the Legislative and Drafting Sections in working on them to fruition.
The Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, said the meeting would be a challenging one as essential bills are before the house for consideration.
He admonished Ministers of State to be punctual with government business, although they have to campaign for the primaries slated for April 2020.
State of the Nation Address
The Speaker reminded the House that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will deliver the State of the Nation Address during the meeting, and urged them to continue with the dignified and decorous behaviour they gave him last year.
The Majority Leader urged members to be charitable to one another, and commit to speak to issues, rather than engaging in settling personal scores.
Test of democracy
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, admitted that the year “is a critical year for us all since our democracy will be put to a test again come December 7 to elect President and Members of Parliament.”
He asked the security agencies to demonstrate neutrality this year, while reminding the Electoral Commission (EC) to organise free, fair and transparent elections.
Mr Iddrisu also entreated the media to adequately resource themselves for the coverage of the elections, and stressed the need to be circumspect in their reportage in the interest of Ghana.