The Minority in Parliament have yet again refrained from taking part in discussions on the floor of the House despite being present, in protest of what they consider as ill-treatment from the Speaker, Mike Oquaye.
According to Citi News‘ Parliamentary correspondent, Duke Mensah Opoku, the Minority resumed their sit-down strike after the Speaker refused to acknowledge their leader Haruna Iddrisu who had wanted to make a submission.
This is not the first time the Minority has expressed their displeasure of alleged bias against them by the Speaker, but it is the first time they have refused to contribute in Parliament over the treatment.
They had taken a similar action in the past, refusing to comment on any business in the House after a report was presented to the House by the ‘cash-for-seat’ Committee which they felt did not include the input of its members on the said Committee.
That was a day after they staged a walkout in Parliament when an investigative report was being debated.
‘Mike Ocquaye the worst Speaker’
Deputy Minority Leader, Jame Klutse Avedzi, described Mike Oquaye as the worst Speaker of the Fourth Republic, insisting that his actions were unfortunate, despite him being ‘a Reverend’.
He said that it was important that Ghanaians see how the Minority was being treated in Parliament even though they were only acting in the interest of the country.
“We have always been responsible as a Minority. In fact, Ghanaians should know that the NDC Minority is responsible. We want the Ghanaian people to be the judges, they should see what is happening,” he told journalists.
“We have had a number of Speakers in this country. We’ve had DF Annan, Peter Ala Adjetey, Sekyi Huges, Bamford Addo, Doe Adjaho and now we have a Reverend Speaker and this is the way he’s behaving. If you want to rank him among the six so far, he’s the worst.”
‘Threat to democracy’
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak. earlier in March, accused the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye of being a threat to Ghana’s democracy saying “Mobutu [Sese Seko] or even Idi Amin will not behave the way he is doing.”
According to Muntaka, the Speaker has on several occasions refused to give the Minority the opportunity to make their views on some issues that come up for discussion on the floor, although they have such rights.
Muntaka felt that he had been ignored by the Speaker despite wanted to suggest that every Member of Parliament (MP) is given the opportunity to vote the way they wanted on the controversial Law School Regulations.
Minority members who were also not happy with the issue hooted at the Speaker and chanted loudly in Parliament.
‘I will disrespect you if you dare me’
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, had expressed similar sentiments against the Speaker whom he said ignored him when he wanted to make a comment on the Floor of the House.
Haruna Iddrisu threatened to disregard the authority of the Speaker of Parliament if such actions persist.
This followed what he describes as the Speaker’s failure to recognize him when he wanted to make an intervention during the debate on the Special Petroleum Tax last month, February 2018.
“I am sad at the way you have treated me as Minority Leader. I stood up before the Majority Leader. You owe me that courtesy and that respect. Mr. Speaker, even after hearing him [Majority Leader], you have still not decided whether to hear me or not,” he said.