With just 28 days to the 2020 general election, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has called on citizens to be law-abiding to ensure peaceful elections.
“As the 2020 general election approaches, I wish you all the very best and I pray that our nation will be law-abiding, as we have always been, and that every official will play his or her part according to the requirements of the laws of our country,” he said.
In his final remarks at the closing session of the Third Meeting of the Seventh Parliament yesterday, Prof. Oquaye said to ensure peaceful elections, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), the Minister of National Security, the Inspector General of Police and other stakeholders had all appeared before the House to outline their preparedness towards the elections.
“I am confident that together we can have credible, orderly, fair and peaceful elections,” he said.
The Speaker urged all parliamentarians to work in tandem as the House began preparations towards the dissolution of the Seventh Parliament on January 7, 2021.
He said to ensure a smooth transition, it was important that members from both sides of the House worked together.
“The House is making adequate preparations towards the dissolution of the Seventh Parliament and I urge all of you to work in tandem for a seamless transition,” he said.
He recounted some of the major events that happened in Parliament, such as the briefing by the Minister of the Interior, the presentation of the budget for the first quarter of 2021, as well as the visit by the President, in that sequence.
“In the course of the meeting, a parliamentary delegation paid a commemorative visit to the family of the late Member of Parliament for Mfantseman, Mr Ekow Hayford, who was murdered by armed men, on Monday, October 12.
“That compelled the Minister of the Interior to come to the House and announce certain arrangements for the security of members,” he noted.
The Speaker expressed his excitement at the growing cooperation between the Executive and the Legislature.
“Last Tuesday, the House was privileged to receive the President of the country to inaugurate four facilities under Parliament’s physical infrastructure enhancement project and we are most grateful for this action.
“The cooperation between the Executive and the Legislature has been impressive, particularly with regard to increases in our budget allocations,” he said.
Prof. Oquaye noted that all the bills that were passed during the Third Meeting of the Seventh Parliament were mostly “progressive bills” that would inure to the benefit of the country.
Also, during the session, an inter-governmental action group against money laundering in West Africa paid a courtesy call on Parliament, he said.
He said the group used the opportunity to call on West African countries to establish and implement anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism measures.
25 bills presented
Giving an account of the businesses conducted by the House during the meeting, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, in a speech read on his behalf, said 25 bills were presented to the House and referred to the appropriate committees for consideration and report.
He said the House debated, considered and passed 17 of those bills.
“A number of committee reports on credit facility agreements, financing agreements, loan facility agreements, annual reports, request for tax waivers, among others, were also adopted by the House during the period.
“Four instruments which were introduced in the House during the second meeting entered into force during this meeting and 19 instruments that were introduced in the course of this meeting also came into force,” he said.
He said six instruments that were introduced, however, did not attain the statutory 21 sitting days to enable them to come into force.
“It is my hope that, barring any mishap, the House will be able to sit after the elections to enable these instruments to enter into force in the course of time,” he said.
The Majority Leader also called for peaceful elections and urged all political parties to desist from politicising the issue of security in the country.
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, also called for peaceful, free and fair elections.
“It is important to remind ourselves that we remain Ghanaians and we should go into December 7th as such and emerge out of it as Ghanaians, guaranteeing the peace, security and stability of the country,” he noted.
He pointed out that there was a threat to the country’s democracy in the name of monetisation and urged all political parties to accept the necessary reforms.
“You cannot doubt the competence and experience of many of the experienced hands we are losing when it comes to the craft of law making and their dedication and commitment to duty.
“We need to reform our primary process in order to protect experience in the House,” he said.