Dialogue, build consensus - Peace Council urges Parliament

BY: graphic.com.gh
Rev Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi — Chairman of National Peace Council
Rev Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi — Chairman of National Peace Council

The National Peace Council (NPC) has urged Parliament to resort to dialogue and consensus building in resolving differences in the House.

It appealed to both the Majority and Minority sides to use dialogue to resolve their differences with regard to the approval of the 2022 Budget and Economic Policy of the government.

Such dialogue, it said, should be used in future to deal with misunderstandings in the House.

“The Council further urges the media and all those who make statements on the matter to exercise maximum restraint in their pronouncements to protect the peace, stability and the integrity of our beloved country,” it stated.

Calm

A statement issued by the NPC, and signed by its chairman, Rev. Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, noted that taking cognizance of the potential impact of the happenings in Parliament on the peace and stability of the country, it had separate meetings with both the Majority and Minority Leaders in Parliament on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

“In both meetings, the Council expressed concern about the disturbing happenings in Parliament and called for calm,” it said.

The statement said both the Majority and the Minority Leaders, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and Mr Haruna Iddrisu, in their responses informed the Council that both sides had made concessions and a committee of 20 members drawn from both sides had been set up to find a solution to the impasse as soon as practicable.

Since the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government to Parliament on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, and moved a motion for the House to approve it, there has been a series of controversies in the House over the budget.

On Friday, November 26, 2021, Parliament, presided over by the Speaker, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, voted against the budget after the House had concluded a debate on it and after the Majority side had walked out of the Chamber.

However, on November 30, 2021, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, pursuant to Order 50 (1) of the Standing Order, drew the attention of the House to what he described as “a purported rejection of the budget.”

He said the declaration by the Speaker, Mr Bagbin, was in conflict with the provision of Article 104 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 109 (1).

He, therefore, prayed the House, chaired by the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, to reconsider the decision.

The House, which comprises the 138 members of the Majority, includes the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Andrew Asiamah Amoako.

Mr Osei-Owusu, having regard to the submission by the Majority Leader, upheld that that position set aside the rejection of the budget.

On December 1, 2021, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, also in accord with Order 50 (1) of the Standing Order, drew the attention of the House to what he also described as an illegal approval of the budget.

He, therefore, moved a motion to overturn the decision of the House in approving the budget. His application was, however, dismissed by Mr Osei-Owusu, who was presiding.