The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has described the drama that characterised the proceedings of the inauguration of the 8th parliament of the fourth republic as “unconstitutional, disgraceful, detestable and smacks off indiscipline.”
According to the NCCE, the general misconduct was both “immature and undignified of members of parliament-elect” purported to represent Ghanaians and the rest of the world who expect better from Ghana.
The NCCE further said it is appalled by such “distasteful behaviour exhibited by our legislators. This is reprehensible, an affront to our democracy.”
The commission called on all well-meaning Ghanaians to join it to condemn “this unconstitutional act in no uncertain terms.”
The NCCE in a statement stated “The impropriety that characterised the election process of the Speaker including the snatching of ballot papers in the chamber leaves much to be desired. The consequential brawl and verbal exchanges by the MPs witnessed a total breakdown of law and order. This action lends credence to the perception that what miscreant constituents do at polling stations is backed by some political actors.”
The commission urged parliament to apply sanctions appropriately to serve as deterrent to others and the electorate generally.
The NCCE further called on Parliament to render an unqualified apology to Ghanaians and take steps to investigate why the military was deployed to invade the chamber.
“Again, the increasing military presence in our democratic processes is a cause for concern and we call for a full scale investigation and explanation to Ghanaians over the intrusion of the military in our parliament,” the statement said.
The NCCE reiterated the need for every Ghanaian to uphold the supremacy of the 1992 Fourth Republican constitution and respect state institutions in order to strengthen and enhance the country’s democracy.
“Despite the eventual compromise on the selection of Speaker, it is our fervent hope that the raucous that characterised one of the most solemn events of our 8th parliament remains the only blot in the life of this parliament. Further, members of the 8th parliament should dialogue on issues to engender consensus building given the even split in seats to the two dominant parties in order to uphold the principles of serving the needs of the Ghanaian at all times,” the statement concluded.
The process leading to the inauguration of the 8th parliament was characterised by complete pandemonium as some Members of Parliament put up unparliamentarily behaviour which resulted in near fisticuffs.
Perhaps the most noticeable unparliamentary behaviour being Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, MP for Tema West who in the full glare of his colleagues and the media snatched ballot sheets and bolted during the election of a new Speaker of the House.
The commotion began when the NDC MPs occupied the right side of the chamber which is reserved for the majority side. This led to a commotion between both the NDC and NPP MPs who were both claiming to have majority seat in parliament.
After the dust had settled, a fresh commotion arose when the NPP lawmakers requested the clerk of Parliament to enforce a court order restraining the Assin North NDC MP-elect James Gyakye Quayson, from partaking in the voting process to elect a speaker because the court had placed an injunction on him and ordered him not to hold himself as MP-elect and partake in the swearing-in exercise.
This generated a long-heated argument between both sides.
The actions of the lawmakers have been widely condemned by majority of Ghanaians.
The Parliamentary service, however, in a statement signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo said: “Parliament wishes to acknowledge the events that characterized the inauguration of the 8th Parliament and wishes to state that while most of the actions during the night were regrettable, Parliament would, however, like to put them behind it and work towards a more focused, unified membership aimed at promoting the best Parliamentary practices and good governance”.