First meeting of 8th Parliament was turbulent – Majority Leader

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has described the first meeting of the 8th Parliament as turbulent.

According to him, the riots that characterised the election of a Speaker, the approval of ministers, as well as the brouhaha surrounding the passing of the 2021 budget, were embarrassing.

Speaking to JoyNews’ Emefa Apawu on The Probe Sunday, the Majority Leader bemoaned the several attempts by the Minority in Parliament to stampede government’s policies and programmes.

The Suame MP said the equal number of Members of Parliament belonging to the Majority and Minority Caucuses means that President Akufo-Addo must be very consultative with Parliament but unfortunately, the NDC MPs in the House have demonstrated otherwise.

“What I didn’t anticipate was the mere riot that we witnessed in Parliament. I don’t want to believe that we are going to see an obstructionist opposition party. So far you are not too sure of how to read the weather,” the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs said.

The first meeting of the 8th Parliament has been very eventful with the Minority on several occasions attempting to put the government and its policies in check.

To begin with, the Minority MPs on the Appointments Committee vehemently rejected three ministerial nominees including Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Dr Afriyie Akoto and Hawa Koomson but failed to marshal enough numbers at the Plenary to get their decision through.

The Minority Caucus also raised concerns over the imposition of new taxes including Covid-19 Health Levy, Sanitation and Pollution levy and a review of road tolls. These taxes the NDC MPs believe are contractionary policies that will impoverish Ghanaians and kill businesses.

But Mr Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu disagreed with the stance of the Minority Caucus in subjecting every decision to a vote by secret ballot.

“I have been telling them that if you want your position to be registered in the Hansard for posterity, what you have to do as I have been doing will be to get up and say that Mr Speaker, as a matter of policy, we in the NDC collectively oppose this issue on account of one, two, three. We are not able to go along with the government on this. Let it be registered in the Hansard and we move on.

“That is how parliamentary practice is done. But if you say that everything be put to a headcount, you’ll be seen as a mere obstructionist and that is not good for a party that wants to be recognised as a government in waiting.”

The veteran legislator said he was quite hopeful that the 8th Parliament will not become overly subservient to the Executive considering the near equal strength of the two caucuses but subsequent events especially led by the NDC did not help in that regard.

He is however, hopeful that things will change in order to consolidate the gains made in deepening how parliamentary businesses are conducted in the remaining meetings.


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