General News of 2014-02-24

State of the Nation: MPs reject leadership’s ‘gagging order'

Some Members of Parliament have kicked against the decision by the leadership of the house to allow them five minutes to contribute to the forthcoming State of the Nation Address.
According to them, any intention to prevent them from expressing their views on the floor of the House would be an affront to free speech.
President Mahama is expected to present the State of the Nation to Parliament on Tuesday, 25th February 2014.
The address which is delivered at the opening of every parliamentary session in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, usually covers the economic, social and financial state of the country.
The Majority and Minority Leaders of the House will have 20 minutes to contribute to the president's address.
Deputy Majority Leader Alfred Agbesi who read the business statement explained that the decision was taken to allow as many MPs as possible to make contributions.
But the MP for Manhyia South, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, said the move will deny members the opportunity to make informed contributions.
According to him, as representatives of the people, MPs must be allowed to express their opinions in the interest of their constituents.
Mathew Opoku Prempeh urged the Business Committee of Parliament to reconsider the decision in the interest of the state.
On his part, MP for Tafo Pankrono, Anthony Osei Akoto, proposed that both Majority and Minority leaders be allotted 15 minutes and MPs 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, Majority leader, Benjamin Kunbuor has assured the rules will be amended if necessary.