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General News of Saturday, 6 January 2001

Source: GNA

Parliament dissolves amidst emotions

Nostalgia, joy and anxiety gripped Members of Parliament on Wednesday as the life of the second Parliament of the fourth republic ticked to an end after four years of operation.

Some members deliberately changed their style of dressing probably to be remembered while some simply sat and grinned through the rather light and brief proceedings.

Mr Moses Mabengba (NDC-Saboba) wore a cowboy hat and said he wanted to be elegant since this was going to be his last day in the house. Many others like Nicholas Appiah-Kubi (NDC-Jaman), noted for simple dressing, wore a three-piece "agbada" with a cap to match.

They deliberately spoke "out of order" just to be noted and to their satisfaction they received cheers from their colleagues.

Mr J.H. Mensah, Minority Leader, and Dr Kwabena Adjei, Majority Leader, who swap positions in 24 hours, gave speeches laced with emotions and teases.

Mr Mensah, who delivered a short speech that was uncharacteristic of him, said "we helped to manage the resources of the country in a way we could consider best in the interest of the people".

"It is sad to depart with Mr Speaker and with a number of colleagues. But I still have Kosi Kedem (NDC-Hohoe South) and Johnson Nketia (NDC-Wenchi East) to heckle me."

Apparently referring to Mr J.H. Owusu Acheampong, Minister of Food and Agriculture, he said "one sad thing is that some of the noted practitioners of the art of heckling will not be here tomorrow".

"Mr Speaker, I will also miss the weight of Moses Mabenbga (NDC-Saboba)."

Dr. Adjei, who had on many occasions bashed the media for reporting negatively, thanked the press corps of Parliament, saying "without you, the public would not have heard what goes on here". "But Mr Speaker, I protest against the practice where television cameras are fixed on minority members."

When it got to the Speaker, Mr Justice Daniel Annan's turn, he said: "Mr Mensah sometimes had his way because of his age. The minority Leader is about two weeks older than the Speaker". " Dr Adjei could not have that age advantage but he argued very well."

In the main chamber, a few people watched the lawmakers "trade their wares" but outside it stood members of the police constabulary who had rehearsed at the forecourt.

They remained glued to the ground as they watched their stallions graze on the lawn that will witness the historic handing over of power from President Rawlings to Mr J.A. Kufuor on January 7.