Minority ‘Blackmails’ Government

Dr. Cassiel Ato Baah Forson

Members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament have threatened to withdraw from Parliament in order to deny the House quorum to conduct public business if the government does not drop the charges against James Gyakye Quason, the newly elected MP for Assin North.

Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, who served the notice following the swearing-in of the Assin North MP, accused the government of harassing opposition lawmakers, particularly Mr. Quayson.

“I wish to serve notice that the entire Minority Group will accompany our colleague to court today and any other day that he is to appear in court.

“We are solidarising with our colleague and we will not participate in the business of the House anytime our colleague is in court,” he stated and added that the Minority MPs would not cooperate with the Majority to do any public business in the House.

“After this ceremony, if the court processes happen today amidst persecution, cooperation will certainly suffer. I urge the government to listen to the people of Assin North and do the right thing,” Dr. Forson stressed.

He again accused the government of engaging in selective justice of which he is a victim, and ransomed the discharge of all NDC MPs from court processes for Minority cooperation.

Majority Response

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu rejected claims of persecution and selective justice against the government and referenced Article 97(1)(e) of the Republican Constitution in defence of the trial of Mr. Gyakye Quayson.

Article 97 (1) (e) which provides that “a Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament if any circumstances arise such that if he were not a Member of Parliament will cause him to be disqualified or ineligible for election under Article 94 of this constitution.”

“If this provision is applied, nobody from a true conscience can say that this is persecution or selective justice,” the Majority Leader argued.

He entreated all lawmakers to respect the constitution that they had sworn to uphold, noting, “Selectivity will be when you elect to apply in piecemeal the entity of the constitution.”

“So people should understand and appreciate this constitution. And when it comes to be applied, it is not selective justice. Mr. Speaker, examples abound in this House. We witnessed the appearance and disappearance of Hon Samuel Nyimakan. Article 97 was applied,” he added.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, “Speaker, when we have people talking about selective justice we wonder where they are coming from. We have committed ourselves to uphold, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic.”

“The rest of it is in the hands of the Attorney General. Whilst he remains here, we can only embrace him as MP, welcoming here to be part of the fraternity whilst he lasts,” he concluded.

By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House