Thursday, 26 May

Parliament’s public gallery for the public – Nketia schools NPP's 'baby' MPs

Johnson Asiedu Nketia

The General Secretary of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has entreated the political neophytes in the Majority Caucus, to take steps to know the rules of engagement as well as the standing orders of parliament before they come to speak on matters of national interest.

“There is the need for some of these new Members of Parliament to take the pain and read the rules of engagement and the standing orders of parliament,” the NDC General Secretary said. 

“It is important that some of these belligerent NPP MPs learn the rules of parliament and stop playing to the gallery,” he warned.  

Last week Friday, parliament, presided over by Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin rejected the 2022 budget and policy statement after the Majority caucus walked out of the chamber in protest to the presence of Mr Nketia in the public gallery of the house during the final debate on the budget. 

The Majority walked out at the instance of the Member of Parliament for the Mpraeso Constituency in the Eastern Region, Mr Davis Opoku Ansah.

Mr Nketia, known in the political circles as 'General Mosquito', in responding to the claims of the Majority caucus that they left the chamber because of his presence, reminded the NPP MPs that parliament's public gallery is a place for the members of the public and it is only the Speaker of Parliament who can close the public gallery.   

Speaking on the ‘Ghana Yensom’ morning show hosted by Kwame Appiah Kubi on Accra 100.5 FM on Monday, November 29, 2021, Mr Nketia said the Speaker can only close the public gallery if parliament is having a closed session or based on disruptive behaviours such as clapping, using cameras and mobile phones; wearing of political colours and the holding of placards, among others.

He explained further that parliamentary proceedings are observed in silence at the public gallery and, thus, anybody who makes noise there can be ordered out by the Speaker through the marshals of parliament.

“And, as a member of the public gallery, I was minding my business and because I never flouted any of the rules of being in the public gallery, there was no way I could be walked out as claimed by the NPP MPs”.

“At the public gallery, I had the clerks of parliament walk up to me that I have a reserved seat in the chamber but I refused to take it since there was no official invitation to me to that effect,” he said.

“In the chamber, I saw empty seats reserved for the NPP’s General Secretary and Chairman, who were not in parliament during the debate on the 2022 budget.

“Their empty seats were labelled,” he said.

He stressed that nobody can accuse him of doing politics in the public gallery, adding that in any case, parliament is a centre of politics hence the presence of the political caucuses in the house.



Source: Mensah