May 23, 2011

A pressure group, the Coalition of Democratic Forces is demanding the immediate replacement of the Majority leadership in Parliament. This follows what it said is the “horrifying and unprecedented” walk out by the Speaker of Parliament, Joyce Bamford Addo on Friday.

The Speaker walked out after an altercation with the leadership of the Majority when the deputy Majority Leader Rashid Pelpuo described the Ghanaian Parliament as “chaotic”.

The Wa Central MP was in agreement with a Zimbabwean MP whom he claimed had described the Ghanaian Parliament as chaotic.

The Speaker felt offended by the description and demanded a retraction and an apology from the deputy Majority Leader. But the Majority Leader Cletus Avoka who mounted a defence for his deputy did not see the need for an apology.

The intransigence by the leadership of the Majority side infuriated the Speaker who adjourned proceedings and walked out of the House.
She returned only after an appeal and insisted on a retraction and an apology from Rashid Pelpuo.

But the pressure group is appalled by the incident. A statement signed by a member of the pressure group, George Egbenunya described the action by the leadership of the Majority as irresponsible.

“We of the CDF are totally amazed though somewhat not too surprised that the leadership of the NDC has so far made no public statement denouncing the despicable and irresponsible behaviour of its leadership in Parliament to date. We are therefore calling on the NDC leadership, which appears to be in some disarray and internally combusting to issue a statement condemning the actions of its leadership in Parliament and relieve both the Majority and House Leader Cletus Avoka and his side-kick Mr Rashid Pelpuo, who serves as the Dep Minority Leader of their jobs as they have brought Ghana’s parliament into disrepute.

“We note that until recently, Ghana’s Parliament was considered as exemplary and the toast of all free and democratic people across the world. We have heard the commendation of Ghana’s democracy in every corner of the world. The reputation of Ghana’s Parliament was such that it was constantly cited as a success story in Africa by world leaders.

This culminated into the newly elected President of America President Barrack Obama choosing Ghana as his first destination for a state visit in Africa south of the Sahara without any hesitation and what a popular decision it was. Ghana’s democratic credentials were unparalleled in Africa only a few years ago.”

The group chided the Majority Leadership for what it said is the comedy of errors in handling the issues in Parliament.

“The period of the Avoka/Pelpuo comedy has seen the image of Parliament plummeting into an abyss and continues to erode with countless goofs through ineffective direction from the leaders of the House. Ministers have failed to turn up in Parliament to answer questions, officials who are strangers in Parliament are allowed to present papers on behalf of Ministers etc. Basic Parliamentary procedures are flagrantly flouted such that standing orders are increasingly becoming irrelevant under the current parliamentary leadership.”

The statement called on government to relieve the Majority leadership of Parliament of its duties.

“It is increasingly clear that the current parliamentary leadership is not up to the task of leading such an august house. Both Cletus Avoka and Rashid Pelpuo are so inefficient and ineffective they are lowering the standards of our democracy. These [people] have failed in other Ministries in the past and were sent to parliament which was considered by President Mills as less onerous positions. Unfortunately, the President who the CDF understands needs coffee to wake up from his slumber, has got his sums wrong again.

“…The culture of lawlessness and indiscipline should be stopped. We are further calling on civil society organisations to take note of the unacceptable behaviour and arrogance of the NDC leadership in parliament and call it to order. Ghana cannot afford to continue eroding our democratic credentials at the altar of stark inefficiency, ineptitude and irresponsibility.

“It is in this regard that we are requesting that the NDC leadership to relieve the NDC parliamentary leadership of their duties and appoint competent persons into the role forthwith. Any failure of the NDC to take action will be tantamount to acquiescence and support of the actions of its parliamentary leadership,” the statement said.

Source: Joy News