Is that all our ‘honourables’ can offer?

BY: Daily Graphic

It is gradually becoming the norm that, at the least disagreement, we see our members of Parliament (MPs) turn the chamber into a boxing arena, engaging in serious fisticuffs.

Our honourable MPs can simply not agree to disagree. This is unfortunate, as everything seems to be out of gear.

Leadership in the House appears not to be in control. A hung Parliament does not mean there should be trading of blows at the least opportunity. If a Ghana-first approach is adopted, there will be no need for blows in the Legislature at the least opportunity.

There are some questions that beg for answers: Are our MPs fighting in the interest of the ordinary citizen? Do they have the nation at heart? Are they not fighting for their parochial interests?

What is happening in Parliament is far from serving the national interest; it simply smacks of efforts to be in control of political power for selfish sentiments.

This is the third time this year that our MPs have stooped so low and hit below the belt in the eyes of all adherents of democracy.

We recall that on January 6 and 7, this year, our MPs had to trade blows in a chaotic and dramatic manner before the Speaker, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, was elected.

After that unfortunate incident, witnessed not by only Ghanaians but also a global audience, as the spectacle was beamed on live television, MPs came to apologise profusely to the public for their ‘un-parliamentary’ conduct, which was accepted.

Little did we expect that that practice would continue to become their narrative after the January incident.

In the space of a month, there have already been two instances of altercation on the floor of the House (with attempts to remove the Speaker’s chair, which amounts to publicly ridiculing his office) over the E-Levy that the government wants to adopt to shore up revenue generation.

Must we adopt jungle tactics in such a civilised environment on the floor of Parliament just so we are heard?

We all know that the E-Levy debate is a thorny one, and for that reason we expected all MPs to be present in the chamber to take part in a healthy discourse.

It was surprising too, that our respected leaders in the house — Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu for the Majority and Mr Haruna Iddrisu for the Minority — could not hold the House together when it mattered most, allowing developments to degenerate into a brawl.

This is undeserving of the 8th Parliament, which must be held in high esteem. That the 8th Parliament is becoming something else is worrying and the earlier we pulled the brakes, the better for the country.

Today, our Parliament is not a safe place. The Minority wants to stick to its position at all cost, while the ruling party looks on helplessly. This definitely is not the way to go.

What happened to the intense and healthy debates that our legislature is noted for? We saw lively and heated debates by the likes of J. H. Mensah and J. H. Owusu-Acheampong, both of blessed memory, during their time.

Does what is happening presuppose that our Parliament can no longer boast very good debaters who can advance cogent arguments on issues on the floor, for which reason members must resort to brawn, instead of brain, to drum home their point?

For the Daily Graphic, what is happening in the Legislature is a big shame that dishonours the House and puts the democratic credentials of the country in a bad light.

There is the need for consensus building; our MPs must have the nation at heart, feel for the ordinary person and the determination to do the right thing at all times. That is the only way we can save Mother Ghana.

Honourable MPs, please let us preserve the sanctity of the House through intelligent arguments, instead of turning Parliament into a boxing ring without a referee, with both sides, as well as the country, becoming the loser.