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Post COVID-19: 5th Legislature of ECOWAS shall play its role — Speaker

As the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) marks its forty-fifth year celebration, Speaker of the fifth Legislature, H. E. Sidie Mohammed Tunis has said the legislature shall play its role towards post COVID-19 recovery.

Accord to him the Legislature would have a response strategies by collaborating with an enacting policies to support sister institutions in the execution of COVID-19 related programmes for the benefit of citizens in the sub-region.

In a statement, the Speaker noted that he is aware the Commissions and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) have initiated various response to curb the spread of the pandemic in member states.

“Given the resilient nature of our people, there is no doubt that we will bounce back and make a full recovery in the no distance future, and for that to happen we urge governments of the sub-regional states to be mindful of the need to commit to protecting livelihoods and investments, and in the key sectors of our economies by identifying ingenious ways of injecting liquidity as a lifeblood to stimulate our economies”.

Hence the need to redesign the Community budget and programs to reflect changes envisaged by the effects of the pandemic on the economies of Member states.

“Our West African dreams, as handed down to us by the founding fathers of ECOWAS, forty-five years ago, armed with the tool of hope and faith in God, West Africans shall prevail against any obstacle, in brotherhood and oneness”, he added.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Nine Ministers to take thirteen questions next week

Leader of Government Business, Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu in presenting Business Statement on the floor of the House on Friday May 29, 2020 revealed that nine Ministers would be in the chamber next week to answer thirteen questions.

According to him out of the thirteen questions there are three urgent questions and ten oral questions, as the Minister of Work and Housing would answer three questions whiles the Health Minister takes two questions.

The following Ministers would take a question each in the name of their Ministries, Education, Trade and Industry, Railways Development, Interior, Gender Child and Social Protection, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and Local Government and Rural Development.

Mr. Osei-Kyei also revealed that leadership has received information about a worrying development where visitors come to the premises of Parliament in increasing numbers, despite the directives issued by the Speaker in line with the COVID-19 protocols.

In addition, some research assistants of MPs and national service persons are still reporting to duty contrary to same directive issued by the Speaker in line with the COVI-19 protocols.

He appealed to his colleagues and staff against inviting visitors to Parliament unless it is so compelling in which case concern and clearance from leadership of both side must be sought same with the clerk to Parliament.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

EC has still not been programmed to brief Parliament—Muntaka

Minority Chief Whip Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak was unhappy that the Electoral Commission has not come to the floor of Parliament to brief the House despite every attempts by the Minority side seeking answers as to when Madam Jean Mensah would be in the House.

According to him as representatives of the people, they want to know how preparations have gone so far ahead of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who presented the Business Statement on behalf of the Business Committee pointed out that his colleague who asked the question on the floor is a member of the committee and did not attend their last meeting.

He further told the House when he got in touch with the EC they indicated to him that they are having some activities in the various regions hence 15th June, 2020 was suitable for them to come to brief the House.

“I however told them that if they could come on the 9th of June 2020 to brief the House would be in the interest of all of us and they agreed to that so they should be in the House on the 9th of next month”.

And that was the only question for the day contrary to a lot of questions that emanate after the Business Statement are presented on Fridays.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Parliament rejects claim it lied over COVID-19 test results

Parliament has rejected claims that it lied over test results of two (2) lawmakers and thirteen (13) staff testing positive for COVID-19.

A statement issued by the Public Affairs Directorate of Parliament points out that the Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is not involved with the process of testing; therefore allegations that he provided false information to the Public Affairs Directorate to tell the public is not accurate.

According to the Statement, the duty of coordinating the testing process is that of the Medical Directorate in the House, who specifically told Parliament that the results of the test were not yet known by the House as at Tuesday 26/05/2020.

“To attribute lies to the Public Affairs Department, the Majority Leader, and the entire Parliament is therefore unfortunate”, the release noted.

The statement further described as unfortunate reports in the media that Parliament denied a possible positive result when what it did was to demand that the story be pulled down because the Directorate was not aware of the facts.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Stigmatisation, discrimination threatens and erode gains”—Nabdam MP

A member of the Health Committee of Ghana’s Parliament, Dr. Mark Kurt Nawaane has said stigmatisation, discrimination and fear of recovered COVID-19 patients would only erode the positive gains made by the country against the disease.

According to him the development would derail the country’s forward move and cooperation it had received from Ghanaians specifically COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Nawaane revealed that monitoring media reports over a month point to the fact that recovered patients are not welcomed by their own families, communities, friends and work place and added that the rejection become so intensive that their children, wives and others are affected.

In a statement on the floor of the House, he noted that in a video clip, a child was referred to as
“Coroboy” and was asked to return to his “corohouse” where his “forefather” has returned home.

Lack of awareness can be attributed to negative stereotype, on recovery and a patient test negative for the second time the antibodies however remains protecting the recovered patients and is said to have partial immunity against coronavirus.

Patients who recover from coronavirus do not pose threat to anyone anymore because they have tested negative twice and have antibodies to protect them for some time.

“In the event that the pandemic takes worse turn and overwhelms our frontline medical staffs those who have recovered are the choice of people to potentially assist as volunteers in our hospitals and health facilities”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Clerk to Parliament cautions media against going after COVID-19 positive names

The Clerk of Ghana’s Parliament, Mr. Cyril Nsiah has cautioned the media in the House against going after the names of lawmakers and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to him anybody who has not gone for the test should do so if the person wants to continue accessing the premises of Parliament.

“Journalists, MPs, Staff’ and visitors when the result comes out positive the national team that conducted the screening would contact the individuals directly, and you the journalists when you test positive your names and media house would not be published”.

He emphasized that the team that conducted the test last week would come back to the House today and Friday, when he addressed the media together with Majority Leader on the positive confirmed cases of lawmakers and staff.

Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Mrs Kate Addo on her part pointed out to the media that results of lawmakers would not be trickling down to the House but rather would go to the individuals who tested positive.

“If you need clarification come to us, we recognize that as media houses you have your sources, but as an institution we are very cautious from the start to keep lawyers, journalists and visitors safe”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“We do not play any role as Parliament after testing”—Parliament doctor

The medical doctor in charge of Ghana’s Parliament Clinic Dr. Prince Pambo has come out to reveal that the institution does not play any role in revealing result of the COVID-19 test that was carried out last week Thursday and Friday as directed by the Parliamentary Service Board.

According to him Parliament has only created a platform for the nation COVID-19 testing team to carry out the testing.

“We are in Parliament, we do not control what they do any more after the testing and releasing of test results. It is between the testing institution and the individual that has tested positive, and if there is any kind of support they get in touch with us as an institution”.

Hence he expressed surprise that a media house has the information of the result of the test carried out as a medical doctor he has not been trained to give out the medical record out to the public.

He made this known at a press conference organised by Parliament on Tuesday to deny media publication that two MPs have tested positive, same with thirteen staff of the institution.

In an early interview before the hurried press conference, he noted that last week’s exercise which was targeted at seven hundred MPs and staffs, they were able to screen six hundred and ninety which is a good target.

He was however worried that negativity would be attached to the screening exercise when people are being encouraged to go for the voluntary testing.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Majority Leader lied about positive cases confirmed in Parliament—Muntaka

Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka has taken a swipe at the Majority Leader Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu for denying that two lawmakers and staff of the House have tested positive.

According to him, the leadership style of the Majority Leader is problematic as he organised a press conference on Tuesday to deny the media report.

“If I were the Majority Whip the first thing was to call for leadership meeting and plan on how to communicate this issue, we should not embarrass ourselves the way we have done by not telling the public the truth”.

Briefing the media in Parliament on Wednesday 27th May, 2020, he pointed out that he does not fear any consequences as some have said he had betrayed leadership, adding, he has not done anything wrong since they had not agreed on anything.

He added that Parliament would not have had this problem if the Majority Leader had not unilaterally gone to organise a press conference and denied the confirmed cases; he did not consult us on the Minority side and he lied to Ghanaians.

Mr. Mohammed Muntaka in an interview with the media on Wednesday morning before entering the chamber pointed out that the Leader of Government Business by his conduct was smearing Parliament as an institution.

He confirmed that leadership as at yesterday morning were aware that two of his colleagues who took the COVID-19 test last week and staff had tested positive and those involve had been isolated.

Hence Speaker Oquaye’s directive yesterday that there should be a mandatory testing and if the Whips from both side of the House have been given the opportunity of knowing the identity of their colleagues infected would also help manage the situation better.

Again, MPs who have tested already and have not be called because they are negative if they have doubts they can go and retest this week Thursday and Friday as the team from Noguchi are back doing mop up.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

COVID-19: “It is those testing us who can confirm positive cases”—Osei-Kyei

Majority Leader, Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said it is only those conducing the testing of COVID-19 in Parliament who can confirm that three Members of Parliament and thirteen staff have tested positive.

According to him when he exited the chamber on Tuesday May 26, 2020 some journalists caught up with him on the issue, little did he know that one media house has set “Ghana on fire”.

“I told you I did not know and cannot confirm if 2 MPs and 13 staff have tested positive. We agreed that whiles carrying out the test that anybody who tested positive, the information would be transmitted to the individual person”.

Mr. Osei-Kyei noted that the test is confidential and there should be some circumspection.

“Those of us there we might not know if the other fellow has it and the medium used is speculation”. He noted that it is in the interest of individuals to subject themselves to the test.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

COVID-19 Test: Speaker threatens to apply sanctions

Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye on Tuesday 26th May 2020 told the Housing that testing for COVID-19 is mandatory in the House and warned of applying sanctions against whoever fails to take the test.

According to the Speaker, lawmakers, staff, Journalists and visitors to the House should not wait till it gets to that point as sanctions would be applied.

Professor Oquaye noted that the team which started the testing last week had been recalled back and those who have not tested should take advantage of the window of opportunity offered.

“Please the decision is that in our collective interest it is mandatory, please do not wait till sanctions are applied we need to observe all the protocols, in the light of results absolute confidentiality and professional way of handling all cases negative and positive is assured let us be advise accordingly”.

Ghanamps.com just after the directives by the Speaker went to the foyer and saw some MPs, Journalists and staff members rushing to get their test done.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com