Military’s interference in parliamentary affair was too far – Lawyer


A Kumasi-based lawyer, Mr William Kusi, has said Ghana’s military “went a bit too far” with their presence at the Chamber of Parliament as confusion erupted ahead of the election of a new Speaker.

In a rare scenario unprecedented in the annals of the country’s democratic dispensation, some armed military personnel invaded the august House on Thursday, January 7, during the election of a speaker of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

The move ostensibly was to restore law and order in the heat of a series of hecklings and physical confrontation between some elected lawmakers of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The confusion, which characterised the election of the speaker, virtually brought activities of the House to a halt for several hours.

Sharing his opinion on the development, Mr Kusi told the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi that; “Whoever called in the military erred irrespective of the intelligence gathered.”

“The police could have handled the chaotic scenes on the floor of the august House, because they have been trained and as such have the capacity to do so,” he said.

According to the legal practitioner, events that characterised the election did not warrant a military intervention.

The NPP’s nominee, Professor Mike Ocquaye, the immediate-past Speaker, lost to the NDC’s nominee, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Ghana’s longest-serving parliamentarian.

The new Speaker had served the House since January 7, 1993 when the first Parliament under the Fourth Republican Constitution was inaugurated.

The Eighth Parliament, by consensus, retained Mr Joe Osei-Wusu, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bekwai, as the First Deputy Speaker, and settled on Mr Andrew Amoako Asiamah, MP for Fomena, as the Second Deputy Speaker.

Meanwhile, some political analysts and opinion leaders in the Ashanti Region in separate interviews with the GNA have condemned, in no uncertain terms, the general conduct of the lawmakers as they ushered in the Eight Parliament.

“What transpired on the floor of the noble House is a shame to Ghana’s democracy,” Mr Desmond Otuo-Tuffour, a political analyst, said.

He noted that the immaturity and aggression demonstrated by some of the parliamentarians in addressing their grievances did not augur well for the country’s image.

“What view would the world hold of our dear country seeing an honourable member openly snatching ballot papers and being given a hot chase by his colleagues on the floor of Parliament?” he quizzed.

Source: GNA