The Minority says it will not allow the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye to gag them in the performance of their duties.
The comments come as Parliament reconvenes for the second meeting of this session.
[contextly_sidebar id=”JwUDJJnLSwIdkC7q8Fcb6erg8ZpxA3xd”]There have been several moments of tension between Prof. Oquaye and the Minority over some of the Speaker’s rulings.
The Minority in most instances have accused the Speaker of bias against them.
Speaking to Citi News, however, Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak said the Minority is willing to cooperate if the Speaker operates fairly and without any prejudice.
“Some of the challenges that we have had with the Speaker have to do with him trying to ignore the rules and do it his own way. He is a fatherly figure for us, and we want to always be with the Speaker. It is our hope that if we adhere to the rules, he will give us space as much as possible.
“The only thing we have is our say so once our say is taken from us, we have no option than to fight. We do not like it. I hate it because when you get people talking to you to be patient and all, it is worrying because it looks like you are the difficult person but if we sit in this house and we do not allow the rules to operate what happens is that we the Minority become completely useless.”
The Minority has expressed their displeasure about the Speaker’s alleged bias on many occasions.
In some instances, the Minority have either boycotted or refused to comment on business in the House in protest of the situation.
‘Mike Oquaye the worst Speaker’
Deputy Minority Leader, Jame Klutse Avedzi, had earlier described Mike Oquaye as the worst Speaker of the Fourth Republic, insisting that his actions were unfortunate, despite him being ‘a Reverend’.
He said that it was important that Ghanaians see how the Minority was being treated in Parliament even though they were only acting in the interest of the country.
“We have always been responsible as a Minority. In fact, Ghanaians should know that the NDC Minority is responsible. We want the Ghanaian people to be the judges; they should see what is happening,” he told journalists.
“We have had a number of Speakers in this country. We’ve had DF Annan, Peter Ala Adjetey, Sekyi Huges, Bamford Addo, Doe Adjaho and now we have a Reverend Speaker, and this is the way he’s behaving. If you want to rank him among the six so far, he’s the worst.”
‘Threat to democracy’
Mr Mubarak earlier in March also accused the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye of being a threat to Ghana’s democracy saying “Mobutu [Sese Seko] or even Idi Amin will not behave the way he is doing.”
According to Muntaka, the Speaker has on several occasions refused to give the Minority the opportunity to make their views on some issues that come up for discussion on the floor, although they have such rights.
Muntaka felt that he had been ignored by the Speaker despite wanted to suggest that every Member of Parliament (MP) is given the opportunity to vote the way they wanted on the controversial Law School Regulations.
Minority members who were also not happy with the issue hooted at the Speaker and chanted loudly in Parliament.
‘I will disrespect you if you dare me.’
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, had expressed similar sentiments against the Speaker whom he said ignored him when he wanted to comment on the Floor of the House.
Haruna Iddrisu threatened to disregard the authority of the Speaker of Parliament if such actions persist.
He criticised the Speaker’s failure to allow him to contribute to the debate on the Special Petroleum Tax last month, February 2018.
“I am sad at the way you have treated me as Minority Leader. I stood up before the Majority Leader. You owe me that courtesy and that respect. Mr Speaker, even after hearing him [Majority Leader], you have still not decided whether to hear me or not,” he said.
By: Marian Ansah & Duke Mensah Opoku/citinewsroom.com/Ghana