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Council of State meets Minority; Consensus-building high on agenda

BY: Nana Konadu Agyemang
• Nana Otuo Siriboe II (left), Chairman of the Council of State, addressing the leadership of the Minority in Parliament at the meeting. Picture: EBOW HANSON
Nana Otuo Siriboe II (left), Chairman of the Council of State, addressing the leadership of the Minority in Parliament at the meeting. Picture: EBOW HANSON

The Standing Committee of the Council of State has met with the leadership of the minority group in Parliament to address recent developments in parliamentary affairs.

The meeting, the first such formal encounter between the council and a minority side since the return to democratic rule, was convened at the instance of the council to allow for the discussion of issues of national interest.

It is one of a series of meetings scheduled to be hosted by the council to encourage good governance and foster peace among the country's political leadership.

Other meetings will be held between the council and the majority group in Parliament, as well as between the council and the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, next week.

Yesterday’s meeting, chaired by the Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, allowed the council and the Minority Caucus to engage in open and frank deliberations on several issues to help build consensus and improve Ghana’s democracy.

Deep-throat sources from both sides of the divide told the Daily Graphic that the meeting, which lasted about two and half hours and was held behind closed doors, was very successful.

Representation

Members of the Council of State at the meeting were Mrs Justice Georgina T. Wood, Mr Samuel Okudzeto, Mr E. T. Mensah, Alhaji Aminu Amadu and Prof. Ato Essuman.

Representing the minority were the Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu; the Deputy Minority Leader, James Avedzi; the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka; the First Minority Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, and the Second Minority Whip, Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah.

Delicate matters

Before heading for the meeting held behind closed doors, Nana Siriboe gave his opening remarks before the press.

He commended the Minority for responding positively to the request for a meeting, despite the short notice.

“This shows respect not only for my person but also the Council of State as the official advisory body of the state,” he said.

He said the meeting would be used to discuss matters of national interests, explaining: “There are delicate matters to be discussed, so ideally it will be held in-camera.”

He said the members of the council saw the leadership of the Minority as “our brothers and sisters who are working hard to steer the affairs of the state”.

“Being in leadership is no easy matter, and we need to give you our support. You can also count on our prayers and encouragement as you go along,” he said.

Further engagements

Nana Siriboe expressed the hope that the meeting would not be the first and last the council would hold, confirming that there would be other engagements with the Majority, as well as the Speaker.

“After engaging you, we need to also engage with the Majority side of Parliament and even engage the Speaker and the three Arms of Government and chart a way that will inure to the benefit of the country and make our fledgling democracy stand on its feet and not be ruffled by the tides of political upheavals,” he said.

We need your guidance

Mr Iddrisu expressed appreciation to the council for extending invitation to the Minority Caucus.

He said the leadership of the Minority looked forward to the guidance and counsel of the council to move the country forward.

“We thank you for the opportunity to relate to you. Be assured that collectively we mean well for the country; we mean well for our democracy and we will take guidance from your rich background and expertise to support the cause of a better Ghana,” he said.

Tight-lipped

Soon after the meeting, both the Minority leadership and the council declined to speak on what has transpired at the meeting.

However, Mr Iddrisu told the Daily Graphic that “we had open and frank discussions on the need to build consensus and strengthen Parliament”.

When pressed to give a summary of the deliberations to enable the media to have an idea of the issues discussed, the Minority Leader responded: “You cannot come to your father for advice and go out to speak to the media.”