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Mahama: Investigate ballot snatching and military invasion of Parliament

The NDC flagbearer, John Mahama, believes the election of Alban Bagbin is a clear indication of how dialogue and consensus can enhance Ghana’s democracy

Story Highlights
  • “The attempt to snatch ballot papers by the MP-elect for Tema West and the invasion of the Chamber by armed military personnel are images one had never expected to see in our 4th Republican Parliament. The recent use of the military in civil democratic processes has become a major worry and gives the impression that this administration is continually seeking to resurrect the exorcised ghosts of our military past. Parliament must conduct an investigation into the two incidents and exact appropriate sanctions."

The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has congratulated Alban Bagbin on his election as the Speaker of the eighth parliament of the Fourth Republic.

He says he believes the election of the former NDC MP for Nadowli Kaleo is a clear indication of how dialogue and consensus can enhance Ghana’s democracy.

He has, however, condemned the presence of military personnel in the chamber of Parliament and the subsequent snatching of ballot papers by the MP for Tema West, Carlos Ahenkorah (New Patriotic Party), during the election of a new Speaker.

“Appropriate sanctions”

In a Facebook post, Mahama called for investigations into the two incidents and for appropriate sanctions to be imposed on the culprits.

“The attempt to snatch ballot papers by the MP-elect for Tema West and the invasion of the chamber by armed military personnel are images one had never expected to see in our Fourth Republican Parliament.

“The recent use of the military in civil democratic processes has become a major worry and gives the impression that this administration is continually seeking to resurrect the exorcised ghosts of our military past. Parliament must conduct an investigation into the two incidents and exact appropriate sanctions,” he wrote.

Mahama added: “The events of last night stretching into the morning of 7th January have been both a great occasion for Ghana’s democracy and at the same time a day of infamy, which will go down as a low point in our democratic practice.”

Chaos

Chaos erupted in the House when the NPP MP Carlos Ahenkorah snatched the ballot papers during counting after voting for a Speaker.

The Tema West MP interrupted the process when the NDC side began to jubilate, sensing that NPPs preferred candidate for Speaker, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, had probably lost the vote.

It took lawmakers on the opposite side and security officials to chase the NPP MP-elect to retrieve the yet-to-be counted papers.

Military men turn up

There was pandemonium on Thursday at dawn as Ghana’s ushered in the eighth parliament of the Fourth Republic, following the 7 December 2020 elections.

MPs-elect went berserk and held up proceedings for well over four hours before a new Speaker of Parliament could be elected.

Tempers flared as the Clerk to Parliament, who was presiding over the voting, initially ruled that the MP-elect for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, could not participate in the vote because of a court injunction.

The decision did not go down well with the NDC MPs-elect, and pockets of pushing and shoving emerged in the chamber. The marshals of Parliament had a tough time restoring order in the House.

Armed military men had to intervene to calm tempers, but their appearance in the chamber provoked the largest opposition MPs, who chanted patriotic songs and hooted at them to leave the House.

When order was restored and voting began, the MP-elect for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak, led a charge to snatch the ballot box. Other MPs kicked over the voting booths, leading to an open melee in the chamber of Parliament.

Fred Dzakpata

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
#asaaseradio  #TVOL

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