Minority MPs hauled before Privileges Committee over "Bloody Widow" placards

Minority MPs hauled before Privileges Committee over "Bloody Widow" placards

Minority Members of Parliament who held placards with the inscription "Bloody Widow", on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 to protest the swearing-in of the new MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon in Accra, Madam Lydia Seyram Alhassan, are to appear before the Privileges Committee of the house.

The decision follows an application by the First Deputy Majority Whip, Mr Mathew Nyindam for the minority side to be made to apologise for that act.


Consequently, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, who gave the ruling Wednesday, directed the clerks to Parliament to go for the video recordings of the Tuesday's proceedings to identify the MPs involved for them to be referred to the Privileges Committee.

After a debate on the propriety of raising of the placard, Mr Osei-Owusu had ruled that leadership of the minority should apologise on behalf of their members.

But that order was rejected by the minority side led by the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr James Avedzi, and the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka.

The two leaders said the Standing Orders of Parliament do not indicate that the leaders should apologise for the conduct of their members.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, then stood on a point of order and intimated that per the Standing Orders, once the Speaker had given his ruling the Minority side had no option but to comply.

The minority could however challenge the ruling by filing a substantive motion, she explained.

Supporting her position, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Suhum, Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah said granted that the Speaker's ruling was not captured in the Standing Orders, Order 6 of the Standing Orders allowed the Speaker to use his discretion to give a ruling.

Responding, Alhaji Muntaka said the minority members could not comply with the ruling and that they would challenge it by a substantive motion.

"You (Mr Speaker) made a ruling. We cannot comply with it and will challenge it by a substantive motion", he said.

There was heckling in the House, and Mr Osei-Owusu asked the Marshall to walk the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Tamale North, Mr Suhuyini Alhassan Sayibu out, for shouting on top of his voice.

Earlier, the majority women caucus in Parliament held a press conference and condemned the minority side for assaulting the character of a window for displaying the placards.

The Minority in Parliament on Tuesday boycotted the swearing-in of Madam Alhassan in order not to give credence or legitimacy to her election and subsequent swearing-in.

Dressed in black and red attires, the minority MPs held placards in the House with the description "Bloody Widow" to demonstrate their description of her election as bloody following a shooting incident at the residence of the NDC candidate.

Immediately after the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, had read a communiqué from the Electoral Commission (EC) informing the House of the election of Madam Alhassan and the need for her to be sworn-in, Alhaji Muntaka indicated that the Minority Members could not participate in the process because her election was characterised by violence.

But the swearing-in proceeded as Ms Safo contended that Parliament was following due process as Madam Alhassan was duly elected as per the results of the election relayed to Parliament by the EC.

Immediately after the walkout, the Minority MPs led by Alhaji Muntaka marched to the Ghana Police Service Headquarters to show solidarity with their colleague NDC MP for Ningo-Prampram, Mr Samuel Nartey George, to lodge a complaint for the alleged assault on him during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election held on January 31, 2019.

Madam Alhassan, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate who won the by-election, was the second wife of the late NPP MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, Mr Emmanuel Kyeremateng -Agyarko. She has thus replaced her husband as the MP for the constituency.

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