Standoff in Parliament as MP snatches ballot papers

Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament
Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament

The election of the Speaker for the 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic has stalled after an MP-elect snatched ballot papers during the counting process.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs say Carlos Ahenkorah, the Tema West MP-elect interrupted the process causing Mubarak Muntaka, the MP-elect for Asawase to run after him.

Currently, the leadership of Parliament are in a crunch meeting to see the way forward.

Earlier, Alex Afenyo-Markin the MP-elect for Effutu wanted clarity on whether the House had been served by the court injuncting the MP-elect for Assin North from partaking in the voting of a Speaker.

Cyril Nsiah, the Clerk of Parliament says he was unable to recognise James Gyakye Quayson as MP-elect for Assin North after confirming he had received an injunction from a Cape Coast High Court on Wednesday (6 January 2021).

Quayson was in the House hoping to be sworn-in but the Clerk of Parliament read out the court order.

But Haruna Iddrisu, the Member of Parliament of Tamale South said no court injunction has been served on James Quayson.

After more than one hour of back and forth, the Clerk of Parliament said, “I was duly served and I am therefore unable to recognise James Quayson as MP-elect for the purposes of electing a Speaker. I will therefore proceed…”

However, he allowed the MP-elect to vote on the basis that he will be responsible for his own action in court.

Military intervention

Ghanaians have condemned the sudden invasion of the chamber of Parliament by heavily armed security personnel when MPs-elect lost their cool ahead of voting for a new Speaker for the eighth Parliament.

It was a free-for-all fight in Ghana’s lawmaking chamber as MPs-elect of both the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) disagreed on the clerk’s decision not to allow the injuncted NDC MP-elect for Assin North, James Gyekye Quayson, to be part of the voting process.

This resulted in an open brawl in the chamber, making it tough for the clerk, Cyril Nsiah, who was then presiding to control the lawmakers.

The police also had it tough along with Parliamentary marshals controlling the melee which resulted in ballot box snatching and booting of voting booth in the House.

After four hours of lawlessness in the House, fully armed soldiers stormed the chamber to keep calm.

This could not help, but incensed the minority MPs-elect who rather hooted at the soldiers and began pushing the military men to leave the chamber amidst chanting of patriotic songs. After consultation among the leadership of the House, calm was finally restored to pave way for the voting to continue also after the clerk had told the Assin North MP-elect he may participate in the voting exercise at his own peril.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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