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Opinions of Saturday, 28 February 2015

Columnist: Asamoah-Siaw, Kofi

State of the nation address: Parliament cannot shut its doors to PPP

The 1992 constitution of Ghana states in article 67 that “The President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before the dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament a message on the state of the nation”.
To this end, the Clerk of Parliament sent invitations to institutions including some political parties for today’s event. It is on this note that the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) feels very affronted that at today’s State of the Nation Address, the Parliament of Ghana failed to invite the PPP to participate in the programme. No official invitation was sent to the PPP under the pretext that the PPP has no representation in parliament.
The decision by the Parliament House of Ghana not to invite the leadership of the PPP to the State of the Nation Address today is very disappointing and discriminatory. The House which is constitutionally mandated to make laws for this country should not be the one undermining the laws on discrimination.
This introduction of unconstitutional elements by governmental, state or public institutions to discriminate some political parties must cease. What kind of a nation are we trying to build if state institutions who must lead the course of inclusiveness are the ones introducing discrimination in the discharge of their duties?
The role of the Progressive People’s Party in sustaining the multi-party democratic process in Ghana cannot be exaggerated. We call on all Ghanaians not to allow our multi-party democracy to be characterized by unfriendliness, political exclusion and favouritism. Ghana is not a two party-state.
The Parliament House of Ghana should at all times ensure a level playing field for all political parties in the democratic process and not to give priority to only political parties with representation in Parliament. It is the people of Ghana who decide which parties go to parliament and the fact that a political party duly registered is not in parliament does not take away its rights and privileges.
Parliament need to be informed that politics of Ghana takes place in a framework of a presidential and representative political system, whereby the President of Ghana is both head of state and head of government and whoever is elected president do not need parliamentary seats to become president. So where from this fetish proclivity to this slogan of “parties with representation in parliament”?
Any attempt to prevent the forward march and the rising star of the PPP by these subtle political machinations will be resisted by all Progressive forces in Ghana.
Long live Ghana! Long live Multi-party Democracy! Long live the Progressive People’s Party!
Kofi Asamoah-Siaw
National Secretary