The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye has summoned the Dean of the Parliamentary press corps and the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament over the conduct of journalists at yesterday’s [Tuesday] sitting.
This follows a complaint from the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to the effect that journalists abandoned proceedings in the house and gave audience to the Member of Parliament for Ellembele, Emmanuel Armah Buah who had concerns about the Energy Sector component of the State of the Nation Address.
Delivering his ruling, the Speaker indicated that he would not hesitate to declare journalists as strangers to Parliament if due coverage is not given to the proceedings of plenary.
“It is forbidden. If they have any doubt to abandon the permission given them to cover proceedings in this House and go outside the Chamber itself and do some other work…I want to let the media know. If that which is reported to have happened should happen again, I have reminded you of the fact that you are here as guests by my permission. Because of the importance this House attaches to the inking profession, any such humiliation will make you an unwelcome guest and your welcome will be duly withdrawn.”
MPs abstain from #SOTN debate
Even though the Minority MPs were present in the Chamber of Parliament on Tuesday, Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, told the House, they had waived their right to second the motion for the debate and to participate fully.
“Our principle is that we are not participating in this. We will not be speaking to this,” Mr. Mubarak said on the floor.
Addressing the press last week, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the opposition to this protest was informed by the government’s refusal to implement all the recommendations made by the Emile Short Commission on the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence, alleged interference in the activities of the Electoral Commission in the compilation of a new voters’ register and the perceived attack of businesses owned by National Democratic Congress members.
He also said the boycott of the address itself was to resist “the fascist and authoritarian tendencies” of the Akufo-Addo government.
However, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu last week said the Minority’s actions had no basis.
“It is their party’s position. It is their right to attend or not except that on this matter, there is absolutely no basis for this conduct,” the Majority Leader said.
Majority Leader blasts Minority for abstaining from #SOTN debate
Mr. Mensah-Bonsu on Tuesday also expressed his displeasure with the Minority in Parliament’s failure to officially inform the leadership of the House about its decision to abstain from the debate on the State of the Nation Address.
Mr. Mensah-Bonsu said the Minority failed to show courtesy by deciding not to let the House in on their planned abstinence.
“The discourtesy in it [abstinence] is that whereas I approached them formally to inquire whether they will debate and they had assured that they will debate when they elected not to debate, they failed to even formally communicate to me and that is the tragedy.”
He was however quick to add that the Minority’s abstinence will in no way affect the relationship between leaders of the Majority and Minority in Parliament.
“I think one episode should not mar relationship and do not forget you are the leader and you should play the role of a mother. You should be fatherly and be accommodating of everybody so yes, I was a bit ruffled by that but I am not rattled and I am not shattered by what behaviour they put up. We continue to reach out to them. We remain one house. We remain one Parliament. The fact that one person has gone errant on one occasion does not mean we should sever relation with the person.”