The never ending acrimony between the Minority in Parliament and the Speaker Mike Oquaye continues to exacerbate as the two clashed again Wednesday.
The recent fracas has led to a complete boycott of Parliamentary proceedings by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) through a ‘silent treatment’. It comes barely a month after a similar one where the Minority engaged the Speaker in a heated verbal exchange.
The protest was in response to the failure of the Speaker to recognise the leader of the NDC lawmakers Haruna Iddrisu who stood up for a while during question time when the Deputy Food and Agriculture Minister Kennedy Osei Nyarko appeared before Parliament to answer a question from Garu MP Albert Akuka Alalzuuga on the completion date for the Tamne Irrigation Dam Project.
Commenting on the recent development in an exclusive interview with Starr News Parliamentary Correspondent Ibrahim Alhassan, the Deputy Minority Leader James Klutse Avedzi called on the country’s Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to intervene “if they want this country to progress” democratically.
“They should talk to this Speaker. This Speaker, they should talk to him. He alone cannot hold this country to ransom. No. He is an individual. Even if you are too partisan as a Speaker you should be able to cover it a bit,” he bemoaned passionately.
According to him, the Minority has engaged the Speaker on several occasions to make known to him their concerns but it appeared that he doesn’t want to change which is clearly an indication that “our democracy is failing.”
“Custom and tradition demands that once a leader either on the Majority side or the Minority side is on his or her feet that leader should be given the right of first refusal and what that means is that the Speaker by custom and tradition is expected to recognise he or she to make whatever comment that he or she wants to make before the work of the House proceeds,” said NDC MP for Builsa South Dr. Clement Apaak.
He thus believed that the Speaker’s blatant refusal to recognise “our leader on his feet we came to the conclusion that the Speaker certainly did not want us to participate in the business of the House because not allowing our lady on his feet to contribute then it is obvious that the rest of certainly will not even measure up to the stature one would expect the Speaker to call you.”
He said their silent protest was aimed at drawing to the fact that “what is going on in the House with regards to the way the Speaker continues to belittle our leadership is certainly not going down well with us and if they cannot participate, we cannot participate.”
According to him, all is not well in as far as the Parliament of Ghana is concerned because they expect their leaders to be given the needed room to play their role.