1
General News Mon, 26 Nov 2001

Why the minority walked out of Parliament

Parliamentary proceedings could not travel its full length last Friday to conclude its debate on the National Reconciliation Commission Bill following an unannounced walk out staged by the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) party.

The walk-out was precipitated by a comment made by the Honourable. Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Nana Akuffo-Addo on the floor of Parliament whiles contributing and winding up on the debate on the floor of the House.

According to Nana Akuffo-Addo, the majority would not countenance any attempt by the Minority to derail the very principles of the bill, adding that, ex-President Rawlings has accepted to appear before the commission if only the members of the commission are people of integrity.

The preparedness of the ex-President to appear before the house encouraged the Attorney-General to describe him as being a Statesman, stressing that the Minority NDC in Parliament are not making constructive arguments and, therefore, would not allow their actions to water-down the intent of the National Reconciliation Commission Bill which is being deliberated on.

The Attorney General’s comments infuriated the minority, who registered their protest saying that, the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, who is responsible for the bill has already made up his mind not to consider their views as inputs to the bill.

Consequently, the whole House was filled with thunderous noises from both sides of the House against each-other as the Speaker of the House, Peter Ala Adjettey had a hell of time calming down tensions in the House, and subsequently leading to the boycott of proceedings by the Minority NDC packing bags and baggage as the Majority shout bye-bye and nice week-end.

ADVERTISEMENT

This forced the Speaker of the House to suspend sitting as he described the walk out as very unfortunate.

At a press conference organised by the Minority shortly after the boycott and addressed by the Minority Leader and MP for Nadowli North, Hon. A. S. K. Bagbin to explain the reason behind their boycott of proceedings on the Bill, he said, Nana Akuffo-Addo, in winding up on the debate introduced words very insulting to the Minority and that casts a slur on their integrity for which their views would not be taken as the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice has already made up his mind not to include the views of the Minority.

The Minority Leader accused Nana Akuffo-Addo as a stumbling block to achieving a National Reconciliation since he had changed the mood of the house raised towards the consensus of reconciling the house adding, “if parliament could not reconcile how can the whole nation be reconciled”.

He said the Minority did not plan the boycott but that it was co-operative and spontaneous as a result of the continuous provocations adopted by the Attorney General.

According to the Minority leader, it is appropriate to register their displeasure on the insults wield on the by the Attorney-General since he needs the Minority to implement his agenda and must therefore exercise decorum when dealing with issues of national interest.

On whether the Minority would continue with the debate, Hon. Bagbin said, the Speaker’s advice would be sought first to enable them be guided by him since the boycott was not acted against his decision adding that, the Minority would continue to debate only if the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice retracts his comments and apologises to them.

ADVERTISEMENT

In an interview with the 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Ellembelle, Hon. Freddie W. A. Blay on his views of the boycott staged by the Minority NDC, he said, the walking out was unfortunate since the Attorney-General’s speech was not provocative and that he did not say anything harmful adding, “he was only reacting to very well arguments raised”.

Continuing he observed that the actions of the Minority NDC is done a great disservice to the party.

Furthermore, Hon. Blay noted that the words of the Attorney-General were hard but insisted that it needed not break their political bones and that there is no basis of their walking out adding that it was uncalled for and unjustified.

The Minister for Basic, Secondary and Girl-Child Education and MP for Cape Coast, Hon. Christine Churcher also expressed the same sentiments as the 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle