Minority declares silent protest in another stand-off with Speaker

Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Nathan Gadugah
Date: 7th-march-2018 Time:  7:36:57 pm

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There is another stand-off in Parliament with the Minority declaring a silent protest against the Speaker of Parliament Prof Mike Ocquaye whom they accuse of bias.

By silent protest, the Minority say they will be present on the floor but will not take part in a debate if the Speaker decides to take away the right of their leader to speak on any matter.

Ever since he was nominated and elected Speaker January 7, 2017, the relationship between Prof Ocquaye and the Minority has been anything but smooth.

There have been walkouts, boos, threats by the Minority Leader to disrespect the Speaker and even threats by the Minority as a whole to begin impeachment proceedings against the Speaker.

While the impeachment may be a hugely difficult task to accomplish, a silent protest against the speaker is an easier and a more convenient option for them.

In Wednesday’s stand-off, as was the one before it, the Speaker is alleged to have ignored the right of the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu to speak on a matter the Minority feels strongly about.

Despite repeatedly signalling the Speaker to allow him to speak, the Speaker, Prof Ocquaye, according to the Deputy Minority Leader James Avedzi brushed him aside and went ahead with proceedings on the floor.

He said in a Parliamentary democracy, there is always a minority and majority both of which have leaders and when any of the leaders stand to speak, the Speaker, as of right, must allow them to speak.

“But this speaker has made it a point not to allow one of the leaders of the house to speak,” Avedzi told Joy News.

According to him, there were questions on the Order Paper for the Minister of Agric to answer but it was his Deputy who came and gave no reason why the Minister himself was not present.

The Minority Leader was on his feet to ask questions of the Deputy Minister but the Speaker will not allow him, Avedzi announced. Rather, he invited the Foreign Minister to come and give a statement on the floor.

Joy News’ Parliamentary correspondent Joseph Opoku Gakpo confirmed that Haruna Iddrisu had asked his first question and rose to catch the eye of the Speaker for a follow-up but Prof Ocquaye proceeded with the day’s activities.

“If he [Haruna] is leading 106 people and you don’t want to listen to him, then it means the relevance of the minority in the house is not needed,” he said, adding, “If you don’t want the Minority to speak, why are we here?”

James Avedzi

According to him, the seventh Parliament of the 4th Republic has seen many Speakers but the conduct of Prof Ocquaye appears to be a pale shadow of what his previous colleagues have done.

He said they will come to work on Thursday but if the Speaker decides that their Leader is not worthy to speak, they will just go silent again.


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