President Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday endured what could aptly be described as a ‘baptism of taunts’ when he appeared before Parliament to deliver his first State of the Nation Address since assuming the presidency following his December 2016 electoral victory.
For a number of occasions the president had to sidetrack his address to respond to jibes hurled in his way by the minority, who in spite of their numerical disadvantage, appeared to shout loudest with their taunts.
When the President painted a picture of the gloomy state of the economy he says the predecessor government left behind, members of the minority protested with shouts of “eei, eei” to cast doubts on the president’s claims.
To the doubting voices however, President Akufo-Addo responded, albeit momentarily, that the Minority appeared to have a problem with the truth.
“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, it appears my friends on the Minority have a problem with facts”, he retorted.
Then in another instance, the minority ‘protested vehemently’ at the facts as the president presented them, and when their voices went up in protest, he retorted once again, “I will have my say”.
Then again when the president announced that the energy challenges facing the country are far from over and that his proposed solutions would include a reclassification of energy consumers to provide some relief for lifeline and industry consumers, there were shouts of “when”, “dabƐn” (Twi for when), from the minority end, to which the president would reply – “this is not a budget statement”, his response setting the entire house and himself, into bouts of laughter.
Indeed every president who appears before parliament particularly to deliver the State of the Nation, has had to endure the jibes and catcalls from the minorities’ end, with the majority members, as in this instance, cheering him with shouts of “hear, hear” to offer the assurance that he was not alone.
Debate of the SONA is set for Thursday, February 23.