Private legal practitioner Yaw Oppong has said in as much as the chaos that occurred in the legislative House during the election of a Speaker for the 8th Parliament on January 7 is condemnable, the public must focus on the way and manner the lawmakers were able to resolve the issues to enable them to elect a Speaker and also swear in the President-elect.
There was pandemonium in Parliament when a new Speaker was about to be elected for the 8th Parliament.
Heated confrontation leading to an exchange of blows occurred between the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) members in the House.
The development led to wide condemnation from a cross-section of the Ghanaian public who thought that the actions of the lawmakers were needless and avoidable.
Speaking on the Key Points programme on TV3 on Saturday, January 9, Mr. Oppong said in spite of all that happened the MPs were able to arrive at a consensus to pick deputy speakers without going through any acrimonious process again.
He told the host of the programme Abena Tabi that “Looking at all that transpired, I think that sometimes we allow our excesses and errors to prevail over all the good things and the excellent virtuous achievements.
“These things happen, everybody would have wished that it didn’t but why are we not highlighting the perfect exhibition of statesmanship and patriotism that the same Members of Parliament.
“Look at the way at the end of the day the choice of all the others which could have also gone through some acrimonious process, was just settled in a very cordial manner and we ended up being able to beat the constitutional injunction to ensure that Members of Parliament were sworn in at least by midnight and the president on the last day of his term.
“If these had not been done, can you imagine the vacuum we would have had? We would have no Members of Parliament and therefore no parliament, we would have no executive and therefore no president.
“I think that much as we may be criticizing the Members of Parliament … on hindsight Members of Parliament themselves if they sit back and watch the TV with their children and given another opportunity there is no way they may repeat this.
“Condemnable as it may be I think we should rather highlight the positives side which they themselves after this unfortunate incident exhibited and has led to the compliance with the relevant laws.”
Meanwhile, Parliament has said the disturbances were regrettable.
A statement issued by Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo, on Friday, January 8 said “Parliament wishes to acknowledge the events that characterized the inauguration of the 8th Parliament and wishes to state that while most of the actions during the night were regrettable, Parliament would, however, like to put them behind it and work towards a focused, unified Membership aimed at promoting best Parliamentary practices and good governance.
“Parliament would also like to react to allegations that one of its staff tried to stuff the ballot boxes with papers. By the very nature of Parliament’s voting system, this is impossible. There were two hundred and seventy-five members present and voting.
“The introduction of any voting material would have meant that there would have been an increase in the number of votes cast and this would have exacerbated an already volatile situation.
“Staff of Parliament do not participate in proceedings including voting on the floor of the House.”