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General News of Friday, 21 February 2020


5 times NPP and NDC parliamentarians boycotted parliament

Parliament of Ghana Parliament of Ghana

On February 20, 2020, the Minority in parliament walked out of the chamber right before President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo could deliver his final State of the Nation address to register their displeasure in the creation of a new voters register.

This action by the National Democratic Congress has attracted several reactions from Ghanaians who are against their decision despite the NDC's numerous justifications for their action.

The 2020 SONA boycott is however not the first of its kind as both parties during their time in Minority have staged similar walkouts to protest some 'unfavorable' decisions by the House.

Parliament proceedings are usually erupted when ‘Honorable’ members of parliament decide to carry out such unacceptable plans. In the case of the 2020 SONA boycott, the Majority in parliament who seemed unmoved by the situation quickly filled in the empty seats left by the Minority NDC.

“We are setting very bad precedents in our democracy that have the ability to undermine the pillars of our governance. We need to be very careful not to destroy the things that uphold the state,” Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, wrote in a post on Twitter to condemn the act.

Below is a list of some popular boycotts in the Parliament of Ghana:

NDC boycotts President John Agyekum Kufuor’s SONA in 2007

In justifying their decision of boycotting of parliament, the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Aseidu Nketia stated in a Press Conference that the party's decision was constitutional.

The minority NDC in 2007 accused the NPP government of manipulating the judiciary in the case involving the former Minister of Trade and Industry and Member of Parliament for Keta, Dan Abodakpi, who was facing a jail term of 10 years for causing financial loss to the state.

According to the NDC, their failure to be present in parliament was to show their loyalty to the party. All NDC parliamentarians were absent when the president at the time, John Agyekum Kuffour presented the State of the Nation address on February 8, 2007.

NPP boycotts John Dramani Mahama’s SONA in 2013

Members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2013 refused to show up in parliament during John Dramani Mahama’s State of the Nation address. This followed the NPP’s boycott of the swearing-in ceremony of John Mahama as president of the Republic of Ghana.

According to the then Minority NPP, they could not recognize John Dramani Mahama as president until the Supreme Court finally ruled on their petition which challenged the results of the 2012 presidential election.

In the case of the 2013 SONA boycott, members of parliament belonging to the NPP gently walked out of parliament at the time the President was being escorted to the chamber by the then Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho and the 2 Majority and the Minority leaders.

Minority boycotts parliament on creation of new regions in 2018

Ghana’s Speaker of the parliament, Prof Mike Ocquaye, was in 2018 accused by the Minority (NDC) of being biased, this resulted in a walkout of the chamber by the NDC parliamentarians.

The NDC defending their stand noted that the House could not debate the approval of the Constitutional Instrument (C.I. 109) without being provided with copies of the report by the ‘Justice Brobbey Commission’ which was set up to look into the requests for the creation of the new regions.

Six more regions namely Bono East, North East, Ahafo region, Western North, Savannah and Oti were created after a referendum was held bringing the number of regions in Ghana to sixteen (16).

NDC boycotts Lydia Alhassan’s swearing-in

To signify their displeasure in the swearing-in of Lydia Alhassan as Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, the Minority NDC walked out of parliament while holding placards with the inscription “bloody widow”.

The placards noted the violent incident that went down during the by-election that saw Madam Alhassan becoming the MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon. The NDC, however, withdrew from the election which was characterized by violence.

In defensive to their decision to boycott parliament, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak said that “In commiseration to support our comrades and citizens that were unnecessary hurt and brutally assaulted, I am sorry to say we cannot indulge in this. Our side of the house cannot be here to witness this swearing-in.”

There were several calls by some groups who called on the NDC to apologise to Lydia Alhassan for tagging her as a ‘bloody Widow’.

NDC boycott’s ‘cash-for-seat report’ debate in parliament

Once again, Honourable members of parliament belonging to the NDC resorted to a boycott of Parliament when they weren’t given ample time to study the 149-page report.

The Minority punched several holes into the report, indicating that it didn’t include all the witnesses that appeared at the probe adding that some aspects of the testimony of the Controller and Accountant General were not contained in the report.

Members on the Minority side, however, would not take part in the debate as a result of their absence in parliament.

President Akufo-Addo demanded a probe into "cash for seat" after it was alleged that the Ministry of Trade and Industry charged between $25,000 and $100,000 to allow expatriates to sit close to the President Akufo-Addo at an awards ceremony organized by the Ministry and the Millennium Excellence Foundation in 2017.