General News of Saturday, 12 January 2013

Source: Daily Guide

MPs Deny Strike Report

THE LEADERSHIP of Ghana’s Parliament has denied media reports that they intended to go on strike yesterday over unpaid salaries and emoluments.

Media reports had indicated that the country’s lawmakers were boycotting the legislature and government business in the House because their emoluments had not been paid.

However, at an impromptu media interaction, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor and Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, majority and minority leaders respectively, indicated issues about the MPs’ emoluments had been misreported, urging the media to be circumspect in their reportage about parliamentary proceedings.

According to them, the media interaction was occasioned by a misreportage of an intervention made by Old Tafo Member of Parliament (MP) Dr. Anthony Osei Akoto on the floor of House last Tuesday.

The Old Tafo MP, whilst making a contribution, had hinted that the law makers would not be encouraged to attend parliamentary sittings and do serious business if their outstanding allowances in the previous parliament remained unpaid.

His sentiments were however misreported by sections of the media that MPs had “resolved to go on strike to back up their demands for unpaid allowances”.

Responding to the said report, minority leader Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu acknowledged that there might be occasional slips by the media, which were part of human nature.

The minority leader, who is also the MP for Suame, however admonished the media to focus on principal issues to fashion out national cohesion and development.

“Innocuous matters may crop up, but let us all be in the same boat together to deal with the big issues and not be distracted by minor sidekicks,” he urged.

He advised the media to cross-check issues relating to parliament as an institution if they were in doubt before putting them out in public domain.

On his part, majority leader Dr. Kunbuor said it was too early in the life of the sixth parliament for such unhealthy publications to be making rounds.

Such publications, the majority leader noted, would go to create a negative perception in the minds of the public that MPs were not necessarily in the House to serve the interest of the people.

Dr. Kunbuor, who is also the MP for Nandom, further cautioned politicians and the lawmakers to desist from engaging the media for their parochial interests.

He called for greater collaboration between the media and the leadership of the House in the interest of the nation.

Director of Public Affairs in Parliament, Jones Kugblenu, wondered why the sixth parliament would boycott proceedings because emoluments of the fifth parliament which had elapsed had not been paid.

“Although most members of the previous parliament have returned to the house, the issue of payments of benefits were being formalized and could therefore not be an obstacle in the business of the current parliament,” Kugblenu pointed out.

In a related development, the family of late MP for Buem Henry Ford Kamel who died on Christmas Day December 25, 2012, have paid a courtesy call on Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho at the Parliament House to formally announce the death of their kinsman.

The delegation was led by the Jasikan District Chief Executive Nana Barima Kumessey.