This comes on the back of the revelation by Majority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu that some MPs, staff and journalists who have tested positive for the virus are still reporting to work. This is in defiance of the safety protocols which requires them to self-isolate.
Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye has consequently ordered another round of mandatory Covid-19 testing for those who could not be captured by the first 2 exercises. Professor Ocquaye stated that whoever fails to get tested will not be admitted into the premises of parliament.
Speaking on Starr Today on Friday June 12, 2020, Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) Dr. Rasheed Draman said the latest development in parliament sends the wrong communication to the populace.
“It sends all the wrong signals. You tell us citizens, observe social distancing, when you have the virus self-isolate, people are coming into the country that are infected and are quarantined, so on and so forth. And then we have members of parliament who have the virus and they are not self-isolating, they are not being quarantined just so as to avoid the spread of the virus. I mean it’s sad…”
Dr. Draman reminded the legislators of the havoc COVID 19 is wreaking in Burundi, East Africa. Where its president Pierre Nkurunziza is rumored to have died after contracting coronavirus but the rumors have not been confirmed as government officials there emphasize that Mr. Nkurunziza died of cardiac arrest.
“Look at what is happening in Burundi right now. They were joking with the virus and their president is gone. We understand a lot of the leadership (has been affected). There are rumors and of course we are going to know that very soon. This is a very serious virus and I think if our leaders think it’s something to joke about, well…” Dr. Draman told Starr News Naa Dedei Tettey
He added that the house should consider holding virtual meetings or running shifts as it’s happening in other parts of the world to contain the spread warning that an increase in cases in the legislature could spell doom for the country’s democracy.
A plethora of reactions from various interest groups including the Ghana Medical Association, have been pouring in since the Minister for parliamentary affairs made the disclosure.