For the third time in the current administration, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presented the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the Chamber of Parliament yesterday.
The President touched on a wide range of issues that border on the security of the state, infrastructure and sustainable development.
The SoNA is considered by many as the most important national activity, since it sets the tone for national discourse on what development path the nation has tread, how successful it has been and how the country, spearheaded by leadership, is going to introduce policies to deal with its challenges.
For years in the Fourth Republic, many concerned citizens have consistently expressed disquiet about the heckling by Members of Parliament (MPs) that has characterised the presentation of SoNA and even sessional addresses to the august House.
People wondered whether the MPs who were supposed to receive the messages did, indeed, listen in order to make inputs during the discussion of such addresses.
The importance of SoNA cannot be belaboured, as, apart from the President’s broadcasts to the nation, which normally happens on matters of emergencies, it is the only means by which the Father of the land and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces formally addresses the whole nation on the state of the country.
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The Daily Graphic is extremely happy to note that for the first time in the history of the Fourth Republic, Parliament remained attentive throughout the presentation of the SoNA.
The placard-bearing opposition members on the floor were absent, which created an ambience of business and a feel of a country focused on its development rather than on partisan considerations.
The fact should also not be lost on us as Ghanaians that our President deserves a lot of respect, which does not imply that we owe the President more respect than other Ghanaians, which could be at odds with the democratic spirit.
But we should not also lose sight of the fact that the Presidency is designed to imbue in it dignity and we must guard against anything, overtly or covertly, that would debase it, a proposition many people concur to, especially looking at the rich Ghanaian culture that accords respect and dignity to the elderly and authority.
In the Ghanaian rich culture and tradition, heckling is considered wrong.
It is an abrasion to start screaming at somebody in the middle of a prepared speech or remarks.
It is for this reason that the Daily Graphic highly commends Parliament for the decorous manner in which the House allowed the President’s speech to flow unhindered.
We commend the leadership particularly for making this possible and hope that this orderliness that we witnessed yesterday has come to stay.
We encourage the Minority to sustain this spirit and ask the Majority that should they find themselves at the other side of the House in future, they should sustain the feat of decorum.
As we applaud Parliament for its admirable comportment, we also commend the President for the remarks on political vigilantism.
President Akufo-Addo enjoined the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), to come together and ensure that the menace of these political vigilantes that can create serious problems and instability in the country is dealt with.
We mince no words in saying that the two major parties have been the architects of these vigilante groups and they have a singular responsibility to see to their disbandment.
SoNA 2019 was good and we urge MPs to tone down on party positions as they analyse and debate it, so we have an outcome that will be to the benefit of the generality of Ghanaians.
Long live Ghana!