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Parliament condemns Christchurch City attack

BY: Mary Mensah
Ben Abdallah Banda
Ben Abdallah Banda

Parliament has condemned the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch City, New Zealand, and observed a minute’s silence for victims of the tragic shooting.

Natural disaster

The MPs also paid tributes to victims of the natural disaster in southern Africa in which a cyclone left in its wake over 750 deaths and  destroyed infrastructure, mainly in Mozambique.

In a four-page statement read on the floor of Parliament yesterday by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Offinso South,  Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, the MPs commiserated with the government of New Zealand.

He expressed worry that global peace appeared to be on the brink of collapse and no one seemed to be safe or secure.

The Offinso South MP said the murder of Muslims inside the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch “sought to callously bereave 50 families and send about 15 countries, whose nationals were victims, crying and wailing”.

Mr Banda said the issues of radicalisation, populism, xenophobia, extremism and terrorism were more speedily gaining currency and dangerously eating into the global fabric, while international hate speeches and crime were also on the rise.

United Nations

According to the MP, the United Nations, in its Resolution 2396 of December 21, 2017, asserted that terrorism posed a threat to the international arena and that collective efforts were required on national, regional and international levels to deal with it.

“Mr Speaker, the use of social media, YouTube, Twitter to issue propaganda statement, coordinate training, raise funds, recruit persons all geared towards the commission of criminal activities has now assumed an alarming trend,” he said.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for North Tongu, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa, also read a statement on the southern African tragedy that had left at least 259 people in Zimbabwe, 56 in Malawi and at least 417 in Mozambique dead.

He described the incident as harrowing times for our brothers and sisters in south eastern Africa, the African continent and, indeed, all humanity.

Worst weather

Addressing the House in his three-page statement, the North Tongu MP called the situation in these countries dire and urgent.

Mr Ablakwa said the United Nations had described Cyclone Idai as one of the world’s worst weather-related disasters in the Southern hemisphere, adding that analysts indicated that 1.7 million people were in the path of the cyclone.

The NDC MP said Ghana ought to retain its enviable reputation as a country that stood up to be counted when tragedies of that nature hit, as there were many occasions that Ghana had offered moral and inspirational leadership to the world.

Ghana’s support

According to him, the country actively extended support to Pan African movements across the continent during the struggle against colonialism more than six decades, ago and in this fourth Republic, Ghana had been hailed for its support to Japan after devastating earthquakes in the 90s, its $3 million to Haiti over earthquakes there, as well as the 2014 support to countries affected by the deadly Ebola virus.

“I propose, most humbly, Mr Speaker, if it pleases you, that we all as Members of Parliament make voluntary donations, in cash or in kind, which will be put together and donated to our fellow Africans in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe,” he said.

He told the House that in reflecting on Cyclone Idai, it was imperative to consider the reality of climate change and how it threatened man’s existence, adding that scepticism should now give way to urgent concrete actions by all to save the plane.