Parliament defends staff over ballot stuffing allegation

BY: News Desk Report

Parliament has refuted claims that one of its staff tried to stuff a ballot box with papers during the voting to elect the Speaker for the eighth Parliament.

A statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Ms Kate Addo, indicated that it was practically impossible for such a thing to happen due to the nature of the voting system in Parliament.

While admitting that it was a difficult night and most staff including the Clerk of Parliament bore the brunt of some actions from the floor, she stated that the staff at all times during the night remained calm and saw a peaceful resolution of all issues which culminated in the successful selection of the Speaker.

“Parliament would like to assure all citizens that its staff are dedicated to assisting the Speakership, Leadership and the entire membership of Parliament in the discharge of their duties,” Mrs Addo stated.

No rigging

Ms Addo explained that since the number of voters participating in the exercise was already known to be 275, it was practically impossible for anyone to introduce any voting material, indicating that such action would have exacerbated the already volatile situation.

Additionally, she indicated that staff of Parliament did not participate in proceedings which included voting on the floor of the house.

“Parliament would like to put on record that the Officer, a Deputy Marshal, was stationed at a particular spot in the chamber to protect the ballot box. As things started getting out of hand, the marshal was reaching for his taser which was hanging behind his belt to use in the protection of the ballot box,” Ms Addo said.

She went on to add that “the deputy marshal then looked at the taser to turn it on and actually went on to use the taser to prevent one member from forcefully taking the ballot box, which at the time had two votes cast in it.”
The box in question, she said, was taken away and examined in the presence of some leaders of the house.

She added that the leader in question later came to the chamber to assure his side of the house that nothing untoward had happened.

Maintaining peace

Ms Addo further pointed out that the marshal in Parliament were mandated to maintain peace and order in the house, hence doing anything contrary to that would be at variance with the dictates of their job.

“Indeed, it was the same marshal who intercepted the honourable member who snatched the ballot papers at the time of collation after the votes had been cast ,” she said.