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General News of Thursday, 26 March 2020


Coronavirus: Ghana in a state of emergency, MPs must cooperate – Speaker

Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Michael Ocquaye Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Michael Ocquaye

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, has requested the cooperation of all well-meaning and patriotic Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ghanaians, as Parliament proceeds to do government business in an emergency situation the country now finds itself in.

According to the Speaker, inhibitive attitude or acts that have the tendency of stalling Parliamentary procedure as have been witnessed in recent times must be done away with, urging all to consider the national interest above everything.

“The Speaker will like to advise all members that Ghana is in a state of emergency at the moment. Parliament will therefore proceed to do the business of the House as an emergency situation requires. The Speaker invites the cooperation of all well-meaning and patriotic MPs and Ghanaians and not be inhibitive in any way against national interest”, a statement released by the Director of Public Affairs, Parliament House, Kate Addo, on behalf of the Office of the Speaker in part read.

The call by the Speaker follows a seemingly cold relationship that has developed between him and the Minority Caucus over the way and manner he handled the Imposition of Restrictions Bill, 2020, during its consideration and passage by the House.

Following the passage of the Imposition of Restrictions Bill, 2020, the Minority led by Haruna Iddrisu, had written to the Speaker, calling for comprehensive measures and a bipartisan Parliamentary cooperation and leadership to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

That said letter dated Friday, March 20, 2020, in part read “Our call for a set of comprehensive measures will be a true test of our country’s character. But in rising to the challenge, we have an opportunity to revive our self-confidence as a people, and to attain new heights in our national unity. We in the Minority sincerely believe that bipartisan Parliamentary cooperation and leadership along the aforementioned lines will determine Ghana’s ability to meet the COVID-19 challenge successfully while minimizing the attendant social and economic consequences of the critical public health interventions. Our collective priority must be to safeguard our national social development and to preserve the lives of our people”.

The said letter was however, leaked to the public via social media before finally getting to the Speaker’s Office on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at exactly 12:40pm despite the House sitting on Saturday, March 21, 2020 and Monday, March 23, 2020 respectively.

Even though the Speaker received the said letter on Tuesday, his attention was drawn to same during a press briefing by himself on what Parliament was doing to prevent the possible introduction and spread of the coronavirus in the legislature.

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