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Minority boycotts new MP’s swearing-in, storms Police HQ

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
Members of the Minority in Parliament on their way to the Police Headquarters
Members of the Minority in Parliament on their way to the Police Headquarters

The newly elected New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Madam Lydia Seyram Alhassan, took her seat in Parliament yesterday but not without drama.

The Minority decided to boycott the swearing-in ceremony and walked out of Parliament carrying some placards and headed to the Police Headquarters.

Their reason for walking for about two kilometres to the Police Headquarters was to demand justice for their colleague, Mr Samuel Nartey George, and other persons who suffered alleged brutalities at Bawaleshie during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election on Thursday, January 31, 2019.

Mr George, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Ningo Prampram, was allegedly assaulted by some security operatives during the by-election and was at the Police Headquarters to lodge a formal complaint.

The Minority said they did not want to give credence or legitimacy to Madam Alhassan’s election and subsequent swearing in.

Dressed in black and red attire, the Minority MPs held placards in the House, and the moment proceedings were to begin, they walked out of the House.

Motion moved

Immediately after the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, who was in the chair, had read a communique from the Electoral Commission (EC) informing the House of Madam Alhassan’s election and a motion moved for her swearing in by the Deputy Majority Leader, Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, indicated that the Minority members could not participate in the swearing in because her election was characterised by violence.

But the swearing in went on, with Ms Safo arguing that Parliament was following due process, as Madam Alhassan was duly elected and the results of the election were communicated to Parliament by the EC.

Immediately after the walkout, the Minority MPs, led by Alhaji Muntaka, walked to the Police Headquarters.

The about 30-minute walk to the Police Headquarters and another 30-minute walk back to Parliament, according to Alhaji Muntaka, was to demand justice for their colleague MP and other persons who were allegedly assaulted during the by-election.

They served notice that the Minority in Parliament would roll out a series of further actions "until a national enquiry is commissioned and until the perpetrators, including the masked cowards and bloodthirsty hoodlums, are brought to justice".

Minority Whip, Muntaka Mubarak briefing the media on the group's decisions

Meetings

At the Police Headquarters, Mr George and some Minority MPs met with a Criminal Investigations Department (CID) team and he was subsequently given a complaint form to write his statement and deliver it today.

Another delegation, led by Alhaji Muntaka and the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr James Avedzi, met with the Director General (Operations) of the Ghana Police Service, Mr Alex Mensah.

The by-election

Madam Alhassan, the NPP candidate won the by-election following the death of Mr Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko.

The conduct of the polls was marred by a shooting incident in the residence of Mr Kwasi Delali Brempong, the NDC candidate, which resulted in injuries to 18 persons and assault of an observer at one of the polling stations.

At the La Bawaleshie School Park, Mr George, who was observing the elections, was allegedly assaulted by some unidentified security operatives.
The incident also resulted in the NDC directing its agents to withdraw from the various polling stations.

Series of democratic actions

Briefing journalists after the meetings at the Police Headquarters, Alhaji Muntaka said the Minority had registered its worry at the failure of the police to effect any arrests after the violent attacks and demanded a swift action.

He said the police had apologised to Mr George for the refusal of officers at the Legon Police Station to take his statement after his alleged attack.

"It is our strong conviction that violence and state-orchestrated terror has no place in our democratic dispensation," he said.
Alhaji Muntaka said the preamble of the Constitution of Ghana made a solemn declaration and affirmation on the ideals that Ghanaians must commit to "the protection and preservation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, unity and stability for our nation".

He said as legislators, they did not only condemn the despicable terror of last Thursday but were also resolved to rise up to their obligations under Article 41 (b) that called on every citizen "to uphold and defend the Constitution and the law".

To that end, Alhaji Muntaka, who is the NDC MP for Asawase, reiterated the refusal of the Minority MPs "to recognise the winner of that bloody by-election as declared by the Electoral Commission”.

Outrage

He said the Minority MPs were outraged that five clear days after the attack on their colleague and other victims which was well captured by the media, not a single arrest had been effected.

He said the Minority MPs would continue to demand concrete action “no matter how long and how hard their quest shall be.”
Alhaji Muntaka said the Minority held President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as Commander-in-Chief and Chairman of the National Security Council, fully responsible for the January 31 bloodbath, especially when the Minister of State for National Security, Mr Bryan Acheampong, had publicly admitted that National Security supervised the “barbarism on the very Ghanaians President Akufo-Addo was elected to protect”.