NDC Protests Parliament’s Re-opening

Prof Mike Ocquaye

The minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) has protested the reconvening today of the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic for its third meeting of the first session claiming that it (NDC) was not given enough notice for the re-opening.

Minority first deputy chief whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, said yesterday on Okay FM’s ‘morning show’ programme that members of the minority only got to know about today’s re-opening on social media and on some radio stations on Friday, September 29, instead of the normal procedure of placing notification in the mainstream media two weeks before the actual re-opening date.

According to Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, it is also in the Standing Orders of the house that letters are sent to Members of Parliament (MPs) through their mail boxes (in parliament) at least a week before the reconvening of business to enable them have ample time to prepare.

Mr Ahmed Ibrahim,  who is the NDC MP for Banda, said that MPs are being taken for granted by the current leadership of parliament and that it (leadership) ought to know that parliament is not an extension of the executive but rather a different arm of government with its own set of rules and regulations.

The majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, reacting to the minority’s claims, said it (minority) always does politics with everything.

He pointed out that on the day parliament rose for the long recess, he made it clear on the floor that under normal circumstances, the third meeting of any session begins in the third week of October, but looking at the backlog of business and other important bills to be considered, parliament would reconvene on October 3.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu explained that the current parliament should have worked on five important bills during the last meeting but those bills were deferred to be considered during this meeting.

He said the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the Northern Development Authority, the Middle Belt Development Authority, the Coastal Development Authority and the Zongo Fund Development Bills are so important that they need to be considered before funds are appropriated for their implementations, which would be provided for in the next budget to be read in November.

According to him, the government intends to bring the 2017/2018 budget statement and financial policy to parliament on November 8, this year and so these bills need to be considered early for them to be factored into the.

He said it baffled him when the minority members denied any knowledge of today’s re-opening after he had made the announcement on the floor at the last sitting before the house went on recess.

Meanwhile, the minority MPs have indicated that they have a lot of pertinent issues to raise on the floor when parliament reconvenes today.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr