The Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa believes the leadership of Parliament should investigate the confusion that rocked Ghana’s delegation to the ECOWAS parliament in Abuja, Nigeria recently.
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament initially refused to swear in the Ghanaian delegation, because of some confusion over the membership of the delegation, when the House reopened for business last Friday.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Ablakwa said his “preliminary investigations point to some confusion on the part of the Majority side.
Mr. Ablakwa explained that, the Majority could have avoided the embarrassing situation if it had worked out details internally as he noted that, “per the formula we agreed, the Majority side had to send five members, and we [the Minority] send three members because we had eight seats to occupy on the ECOWAS parliament.”
“These are matters that the Majority side should have addressed internally. They should have sorted matters internally just as the minority side did before going out of our jurisdiction so that it does not appear that we went out there to wash our dirty linen in public and to give Ghana a bad name.”
“At this point, it is important to learn lessons. That is why I intend to raise the matter when the Foreign Affairs committee meets and I am hoping that colleagues on the committee will ask that leadership of the house looks into this matter with the view of preventing a recurrence,” the MP said.
Privileges Committee should investigate matter
The Director of the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Rashid Dramani, went a step further and said the Privileges Committee of Parliament was the appropriate body to look into the matter.
Also speaking on Eyewitness News, he described the process of constituting a delegation as “quite straightforward” and said, “Parliament needs to look seriously into this matter because our country is better than this.”
“…I don’t know what happened and how you have a delegation constituted by our Parliament that goes to the ECOWAS parliament and there is confusion about the representation of some of the members. It beats my mind.”
He continued that, the Privileges Committee “is where this matter belongs to because if it is something that is bringing an embarrassment to our country and to our Parliament, I think that is the appropriate quarters where this matter can be looked into.”
The confusion was sparked by the refusal of the MP for Suhum, Fred Opare Ansah to step down as a Member of the delegation after he had served notice to continue as a member because he was still a member of Parliament in Ghana.
The Suhum MP had been a member of the ECOWAS Parliament until the Majority Leadership reconstituted the Ghanaian delegation with O.B Amoah, MP for Akwapim South; Ama Pomaah Boateng Andoh MP for Juaben; Alexander Afenyo-Markin, Effutu MP; Kwabena Appiah-Pinkra MP for Akrofuom; MP for Anlo, Clement Kofi Humado; Mahama Ayariga, the Bawku Central MP and Sampson Ahi, MP for Bodi.
Ghana has eight seats in the ECOWAS Parliament, but by Mr. Opare Ansah’s refusal to step down, the Ghanaian delegation jumped to nine.
Mr. Afenyo-Markin later withdrew from the delegation to the ECOWAS.