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General News of Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Source: GNA

Parliament debates President's State of Nation Address

Accra, Feb 27, GNA - Parliament on Wednesday could not conclude the debate on the motion to thank President J.A Kufuor on the State of the Nation Address as scheduled.

Debate on the motion which had begun on February 19, 2008 proceeded with a lot of heat and drama as both the Majority and Minority groups traded accusations, counter accusations and name calling. At one instance, the House witnessed the exchange of words between Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah (NPP-Bosomtwi) and Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDC-South Dayi) during the contribution by Mr. Osei-Mensah.

Mr Osei-Mensah told the House about the achievements of the ruling and majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) and observed that one of the achievements of the NPP was that it had spearheaded the successful organization of the African Cup of Nations, which, he said, reunited families.

The Bosomtwi MP then brandished before the House a bill board showing a picture of Black Stars striker Junior Manuel Agogo with his (Agogo's) mother and former President Jerry John Rawlings, who is said be an uncle of the footballer.

Ms Sena Dansua, on a point of order said the House was a serious place adding that, Mr Osei-Mensah was behaving like a clown.

Mr Kwabena Adusah Okerchire, Majority Chief Whip brought the attention of the Speaker that the language used by Ms Dansua was unparliamentary, and implored Mr Freddie Blay, the First Deputy Speaker, who had taken over from the Speaker Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, that the word was withdrawn.

After a repeated reservation by Mr Okerchire on the use of the word clown, Mr Blay remarked, "I feel very sorry that she continues using this language more so when she belongs to the leadership of the House."

Ms Sena Dansua's who said she was also appalled by the behaviour of Mr Osei-Mensah later said she was sorry and withdrew the word. Before continuing his contribution, Mr. Osei-Mensah remarked that he would ignore the remarks of his colleague, adding that, "we have come from different backgrounds, some are brought up, while some are reared." In a related development, Mr Blay still sitting in the chair would not allow Mr Kofi Frimpong (NPP-Kwabre East)to make a contribtion because his dressing was un-parliamentary.

He initially ordered the Marshal to lead Mr. Frimpong, then in one of the front seats out of the chamber but later asked that he could sit at the back of the Chamber.

Mr. Frimpong who was in a casual short-sleeved African wear moved to the back, exited the Chamber and later came back wearing a coat over the African wear. He later moved to the front seat, without the coat but a long African wear. Mr Frimpong had not yet made his contribution when the House adjourned in the afternoon.

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