January 14, 2014

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, has warned that he will take drastic measures against members of the House who engage in disorderly behaviour.

He said after an incident in December, last year, during which the member for Adansi Asokwa, Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, rained insults on the Leader of the Majority, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, and ignored all pleas and admonition to restrain himself, the public had expressed the view that there was disorder in the House.

Addressing members of Parliament during an emergency sitting, Mr Adjaho said: “I will be very strict in enforcing the Standing Orders of the House.”

“After the last incident, the view of the general public is that there is disorder in this House. I have the full backing of the court of public opinion to enforce the rules and ensure order in the House and I will do just that,” he said.

On December 4, last year, Mr Hammond used words considered to be “un-Parliamentary” in the House in reaction to a statement made by Dr Kunbuor.

It all began when Dr Kunbuor addressed the issue of corruption among politicians in the country saying, “corruption is seen as the disease of the political elite of this country.”

According to him, the issue of corruption among politicians has been confirmed by the “drill ship and Woyome placards” on the floor of Parliament.

Although the Minority side blatantly disagreed with Dr. Kunbuor, Mr Adjaho explained that since the placards were displayed by both the Minority and the Majority, Dr. Kunbuor’s submission could not be said to be targeted at any particular side of the House.

But the Adansi Asokwa MP and former Deputy Energy Minister in the Kufuor administration, in response, disagreed with Dr Kunbuor saying, “No, that was not the point he was making. He was positing the issue of the drill ship in the context of the 3.5 million which has just a moment ago been confirmed on national television by Mr. Chris Kpodo that I did actually give him the bankers draft of 3.5 million.”

He accused the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) of corruption insisting that Dr. Kunbuor’s submission was in the context of “the thievery, the stealing, the fundamental draining of the country’s coffers by Woyome which was facilitated by them [NDC].”

Mr Hammond described Dr. Kunbuor’s statement as “a disgraceful statement that has ever been made by anybody in this House. It is insulting, it is foolish…I ask that this foolish and stupid statement should be withdrawn immediately.”

Not even threats by Mr Adjaho to have Mr Hammond forcibly removed from the House by the Marshall of Parliament could stop the MP.

Standing Order 100 (1) of Parliament states: “ Mr Speaker may order a member whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of that day’s sitting, and the Marshall shall act on such orders as he may receive from the chair in pursuance of the provisions of this paragraph.

But if on any occasion Mr Speaker deems that his powers under the previous provisions of this paragraph are inadequate, he may name such member or members , in which even the same procedure shall be followed as is described in Order 99, this order and order 101.”

Order 100 (2) states: “Whenever a member is named by Mr Speaker immediately after the commission of the offence of disregarding the authority of the chair, or of persistently and wilfully obstructing the business of the House by abusing the rules of the House or otherwise, a motion shall immediately be proposed by the Majority Leader or failing that, by a member ‘that such a member is guilty of contempt of Parliament’. Mr Speaker shall forthwith put the question on that motion, no amendment, adjournment or debate being allowed.”

Order 101 states, among other things, that: “Where a member is found guilty of contempt of Parliament under paragraph three of Order 100 he shall be deemed to be suspended forthwith from the service of the House, and, unless the House otherwise orders, his suspension shall continue on the first occasion in any session for five sitting days, on the second occasion in any session for 10 sitting days, and on the third or subsequent occasion in any session for 14 sitting days.

Daily Graphic