Close down parliament over coronavirus infections – Asiedu Nketiah

Johnson Asiedu Nketia
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah

General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has joined calls for a total shutdown of Ghana’s Parliament following reports of Covid-19 cases in the House.

According to Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, it is surprising that the House remains open, despite recorded cases of the virus while other institutions had to close to prevent further spread.

Mr Nketiah, who was speaking at the 41st Anniversary Celebration of the June 4th uprising on the theme ‘Strengthening the spirit of patriotism, resilience and integrity in difficult times’, could not fathom why COVID-19 “cases have been detected in Parliament and Parliament is still sitting. What are they telling us?”

“Why is Parliament not closing down? Is Parliament above the law they themselves make? Is that the democracy we are making for ourselves? Everybody has a responsibility to protect this democracy, and the only way we can do it is to insist on the rule of law. There is nobody independent in this country of the law. The only people who are independent are the masses who are at the repository of the sovereignty of Ghana,” he added.

Multiple media reports had suggested that some Ghanaian MPs and parliamentary staff had tested positive for Covid-19 following a mass testing exercise.

Parliament denied the claim but Minority Chief Whip, Mubarak Muntaka, insisted that two of his colleagues and 13 parliamentary staff have tested positive for the virus.

“What happened in Parliament and what you heard [about MPs testing positive for COVID-19] is the fact. It is the truth,” Mr. Muntaka insisted.

Muntaka said after health officials were done picking samples in the House last Wednesday, they realised that “one MP and one staff tested positive and on Thursday, one MP and 12 staff tested positive for COVID-19.”

Parliament won’t be shut down; business must continue

The Deputy Majority Whip, Matthew Nyindam, has already rubbished suggestions that Parliament will have to shut down because of the novel coronavirus.

“The House will not shut down. Business will have to continue,” Mr. Nyindam insisted to the media.

He suggested that observing the safety protocols would be enough to ensure MPs and staffers are safe.

Addressing the media, the Kpandai MP said: “The protocols that they have given us are protocols that we all must observe. Members of Parliament, we are not superhuman.”

By Jonathan Ofori, Daily Mail GH

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