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Minority threatens to boycott Parliament if sittings are extended

by Ghana News

The Minority side in Parliament has threatened to boycott Parliament if the House extends its sittings beyond tomorrow, Saturday.

Barring any last-minute intervention, Parliamentarians are expected to go on recess on April 4, 2020.

The Electoral Commission (EC) had presented a Constitutional Instrument to amend C.I 91 to make Ghana card or passport acceptable documents for registration onto the voters’ register.

There are fears that the House may extend its sittings by a few days to allow for the Constitutional Instrument to mature after going through the mandatory 21 sitting days requirement.

Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. James Avedzi Klutse in an interview on Eyewitness News said the Minority may skip the extended sittings if it is suggested because they “cannot put their lives at risk” as the case count for COVID-19 keeps rising in Ghana.

“The new bill was laid on Wednesday so the House has to sit for another 21 days but the House cannot sit because of [the] C.I. We cannot continue. Parliament usually has calendars that we follow. If there should be an extension, we extend for one week. We are putting our lives at risk. You see us interacting with people every time. Meanwhile, we are talking about social spacing and distancing. We do not know whom amongst us has the disease and you want us to continue staying for another 21 sitting days. I think this will be too much for Parliament,” he said.

Minority boycotts sitting 

Last Saturday, the Minority side of Parliament was empty during sitting.

The only Minority Member who showed up, MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, did not catch the eye of the Speaker when he stood up.

He then left the Chamber noting that should the Finance Minister present any emergency budget to fight the pandemic, his side of the house would have availed themselves.

Ras Mubarak in an interview with Citi News justified the Minority’s boycott of the sitting.

“Last week, there were indications that we will not be part of proceedings today on conditions that time allotted for us to do business has not been exhausted fully to allow for Saturdays. There were also indications that the Finance Minister was coming but I got here and I was told he will not be coming.”

MInority blasts Nitiwul

The Minority subsequently criticised the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul for suggesting that they boycotted the parliamentary sitting last Saturday due to their unwillingness to participate in a debate on the Coronavirus outbreak in Ghana.

The Minority in a response to Mr. Nitiwul clarified that their absence in Parliament had “absolutely nothing to do with turning our backs on a Coronavirus economic mitigation debate.”

“Indeed, no such Coronavirus economic mitigation debate took place in Parliament on Saturday neither did the Finance Minister make any related presentation to the House on the day in issue.”

The Minority explained that their absence was because they felt “Parliament was being abused by the ruling majority for narrow political gain as their only motivation was to accumulate days for the Electoral Commission’s Constitutional Instrument on the December 2020 elections to mature.”

Following the outbreak of Coronavirus in Ghana, the Minority MPs earlier called on the Speaker to suspend sittings so no MP contracts the disease which has so far infected 204 people and led to the death of some five people who tested positive.

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