Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, yesterday gave a stern warning to Members of Parliament (MPs) to desist from turning the Chamber of Parliament into what he called a ‘playground’.
The warning came after some opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislators created noisy scenes by singing and clapping during a debate on the President’s message on the State of the Nation.
A ripple of singing on the NDC benches soon spread across the floor before turning into an unprecedented chorus, as one of their own, Eric Opoku, MP for Asunafo South, attempted to shred the President speech by describing Ghana as being “in the state of comatose.”
Opposition MPs screamed and sang portions of the national anthem, saying: “…and help us to resist oppressors rule, with all our will and might forever more” amidst other shouts during President Akufo-Addo’s message on the State of the Nation, while their opponents, NPP MPs also shouted, “Nana, you do all,” thereby turning the place to a shouting match.
Speaker Bagbin, who was unhappy with the recent noisy behaviour characterising the House, was on his feet yesterday telling the MPs to respect the traditions of the House and admonishing them not to “turn Parliament to a playground.”
“I don’t want to talk about the incident of yesterday [referring to Tuesday’s address by the President],” said Mr. Bagbin.
The convention that MPs do not clap in the Chamber is very long established and widely respected, and the Speaker wants the legislators bearing the “honourable” title not to debase Parliament with singing.
Opposition lawmakers routinely delay the working of Parliament as a form of protest by banging on tables, heckling, staging noisy scenes and walkouts as tactics to make their voices heard, but singing is extremely rare in the House.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House