Minority to boycott parliament over criminal prosecution of colleagues
The Minority has served notice it would, henceforth, boycott all proceedings of Parliament in court sitting days to support their colleagues who are facing criminal prosecution.
The caucus believes government is persecuting three of its members as a means to break their front with the numerical strength of both sides of the House at par.
Three Members of the caucus – Dr Casiel Ato Baah Forson, caucus leader and MP, Ajumako/Anyan/ Essiam, Alhaji Collins Dauda, Asutifi South and James Gyakye Quayson, Assin North – have been charged for various offences.
Serving the notice on the floor of parliament in Accra on Monday at the swearing-in ceremony of James Gyakye Quayson following his election in the Assin North by-election on June 27, Minority Leader, Dr Forson said the move is to demonstrate against the “persecution” of their members.
“Mr Speaker, I wish to serve notice that the entire Minority Group in Parliament 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 will not participate in the business of the House anytime our colleague is in court. We are, therefore, withdrawing from the Chamber after this to accompany our colleague to the court.
“Mr Speaker, amid persecution, cooperation will certainly suffer. A word to the wise is in enough,” he said.
Interacting with the media after the swearing-in, Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, said the government was on an “ungodly agenda to weaken and break the resilience of the minority in parliament and reduce our numbers.”
He said having their numbers restored to 137 by virtue of Mr Quayson’s re-election, the Ellembele MP said, cooperation would suffer and the message is “if you touch one, you touch all.”
But the Majority Leader, Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, MP, Suame, said the allegations of persecution were baseless and frivolous.
According to Mr Kyei—Mensah-Bonsu, the eligibility and qualification for lawmakers were set out in the Constitution as same was the basis for the annulment of Mr Quayson’s election.
“Nobody from a true conscience can say this is prosecution or selective justice. Let us respect the constitution that we all swore to uphold.
“Selectivity will be when you elect to (selectively) apply the constitution. So people should understand and appreciate the import of the constitution,” he said in response to Dr Forson on the floor.
Meanwhile, the Queen Mother of Assin Bereku in the Assin North Constituency, Nanahemaa Afia Ntiamoah, who led a delegation of traditional rulers to witness the swearing-in of Mr Quayson has called on the Attorney-General to file a nolle prosequi to withdraw the criminal case against the new legislator.
She said the re-election of Mr Quayson should let sleeping dogs lie for both the governing and the opposition parties to come together to develop the Assin North.