Debates of 6 Jul 2010

PRAYERS 11:55 a.m.


Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon Members, I have received communication from His Excellency the President, dated 5th July,
“5TH JULY, 2010



Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I do not know but it seems as if some Hon Members are under the impression that you had a slip of tongue
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:55 a.m.

when you were reading the nomination. Some people are saying it is “Upper West” instead of “Upper East”.
Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
It is Upper West. I
said Upper East?
Some Hon Members 11:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
I do not know why
I was thinking of “East” instead of “West”. [Laughter.] Forgive me.
Referred to the Appoin tments Committee.

Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon Members, we move on to the Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 5th July, 2010.

Hon Members, in the absence of any corrections, the Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 5th July, 2010 is adopted as the true record of proceedings.

Hon Members, Correction of the

Hon Members, in the absence of any

corrections, the Official Report of Monday, 28th June, 2010 is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.

Hon Members, the next item will be the

deferred decision yesterday.

Hon Members, yesterday, I deferred a matter of contempt of Parliament which was brought to my attention -- because I was taken by surprise -- contrary to Standing Order 73 and also relevant provisions of the Constitution. I have checked upon these things and according

to Order 73, the Speaker needed to be given notice pursuant to Standing Order 73 (1) (2). Know that this is to enable me to look at the publication or whatever and to decide whether it falls within the definition of what amounts to contempt of Parliament.I have done so now.

Hon Members, I am myself very unhappy with the offending publication as referred to this House by the Hon Member yesterday. Even though the publication mentioned certain Members of Parliament (MPs), it was not right to generalise and include all Members of Parliament and Parliament itself in the publication.

Par l iament is an august body established by the Constitution with specific duties and it is the Constitution itself which provides for the sanctity of the House. Therefore, article 122 says that any act which affronts the dignity of Parliament whether directly or indirectly is contempt of Parliament and punishable.

It is, therefore, our duty -- all of us -- to protect the dignity of Parliament. And this is why I am concerned about some of the derogatory pronouncements whether in print or electronic media about the august House, which has the tendency to lower the dignity of this House.

However, this is not to suggest that Parliament cannot be criticised responsibly and constructively, provided it does not infringe the provisions of article 122 of the Constitution or offend the dignity of the House whether directly or indirectly. In the circumstances of this case, before I announce my decision whether to refer this matter to the Privileges Committee or not, I would like to hear from Hon Members and the Leadership of the House, the feeling of this House. I will take two statements from each side and then the Leaders shall sum it up after

which I will announce my decision. Therefore, I think -
Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon Member, I
will come to you but I will like to start with Hon J. B Aidoo who brought this to our attention.
Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, if you want to hear the feelings of the Members of Parliament, and rightly so, then I beg to submit with the utmost of respect that two on each side does not really reflect fully the sentiments of the House. In that case, we should be given a bit of a free hand for people to voice out their opinions about this because the insults to Parliament are getting a bit out of hand.
So I do not think that we should do that -- [Interruptions] - Sorry, Madam Speaker, I think we need to get the microphones or probably - But what I am saying is that the insults of Members of Parliament are getting a bit out of hand. So if now the opportunity is given to express our views on the issue on the floor, then with the utmost of respect, I beg to submit that two on either side is not adequate and I would plead with your goodself to allow as many Hon Members as you can, under the circumstances, to express their feelings on the issue.
That is the point I am making; not two- two on each side-- a bit more than that, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
I wish I could hear everyone of the 229 Hon Members because it affects all of us. But as you know, we have to manage time here and finish with the work that has been listed for today. I, however , thank you. I thought the feeling would be the same
Mr Joseph B. Aidoo 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
I will try as much as possible to be brief.
Madam Speaker, first of all, let me thank you for drawing our attention to the procedures to be followed when making a complaint to the House. I have also checked and in accordance with our Standing Orders, clearly, under Order 73 (1) and also Order 53 (1), which is the business of each Sitting day, the procedures have been clearly indicated.
Madam Speaker, the matter before
us is very, very important. I have heard a number of radio comments trying to belittle this particular issue which has been brought to the House.
Madam Speaker, the dignity of every person is guaranteed in this country. When we go into our Constitution -- Madam Speaker, article 15 of our Constitution and with your indulgence, I quote:
“The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.”
Madam Speaker, for which reason, anytime any person's dignity, his reputation, or the person's image is brought under disrepute, the person would have to seek redress. Madam Speaker, people have hidden under the
constitutional provision on freedom of speech, and in our Constitution, article 21(1), under “General Fundamental Freedoms”, which says:
“All persons shall have the right to -
(a) f reedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media;”
Madam Speaker, because of this, people who have the opportunity to go on radio programmes tend to malign and insult others who do not have the opportunity at that material moment to defend themselves. Madam Speaker, this is very wrong. It is in this respect that I drew the attention of the House to the insult which Mr Kofi Wayo made on the 1st of July, 2010 on Citi FM.
Madam Speaker, this House should not take this insult lightly, in the sense that it borders on our own image, it borders on our own reputation. It has wider ramifications, especially if we are even to travel outside the country. It is something which does not affect us while we are only in Ghana; it affects Membes of Parliament as we travel outside and also as we stay in this country.
Madam Speaker, I know for a fact that Mr Kofi Wayo, who is today insulting us, once attempted to come to this august House. He contested and lost miserably. He lost miserably. Madam Speaker, why he lost, well, I cannot tell. But the point is that he could not succeed in coming to this august House.
So if this Parliament, this august House, to him is useless, why was he trying to come here? If Hon Members are criminals, why was he coming to join this “House of bunch of criminals”? These are questions which maybe, we would leave
to Mr Kofi Wayo to answer.
Madam Speaker, I have heard people
saying and then some of them even bringing out some Akan proverbs that if one is in the bathroom and then a mad man takes one's clothing away, one needs not come out to chase that mad man.
Madam Speaker, with due respect, the laws of this country are very clear on this matter. Granting that the person in question is even of unsound mind, Madam Speaker, when we take the Criminal and Other Offences Procedure Act 1960, Act 30 (1), we have every right to enquire as to the lunacy of the accused person or the person involved.
Madam Speaker, for this reason, even if we are to let this case rest, I would request that the person in question should be subjected to a medical examination -- [Laughter] - to establish whether he is of sound mind or not. This is an august House and therefore, this House should not be taken for granted and insulted any how.
Madam Speaker, these days, when one
is driving as a Member of Parliament, one drives empty because people see him or her as somebody who is, maybe, just here to grab money and buy “big-big cars” and all kinds of things. Madam Speaker, it is becoming unbecoming and therefore, such insults to Parliament ought to be curtailed at some point.
So Madam Speaker, the matter is before
the House. My humble duty was just to bring it to the attention of the House and particularly to you in the Chair for your ruling. I will leave it to the House. If the feeling of the House is that the matter should be left to rest, I will have no problem. I rest my case.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.
I thank the Hon Member for being very brief. I wish to say that we should finish with this particular matter within the next ten minutes.

Alhaj i Mohammed-Mubarak

Muntaka: Madam Speaker, just to continue from where my Hon Colleague stopped, this House is supposed to be the icon of democracy. Madam Speaker, in a military dictatorship, we have a resemblance of the Executive; so it is with the Judiciary, even if it is a marshal court. But what we lack is the legislature, which is Parliament.

Madam Speaker, the human in Him made Him to feel that He was not treated fairly. But this was someone whom the Christian world believed was the son of God; He came to die for the sake of mankind. But at the cross He lost -- Because of His human nature, He cried. Many prophets -- we can cite that again and again. It is impossible to find any group of persons under this sun who would behave like angels. We have that weaknesses as humans -- and as Ghanaians.

But Madam Speaker, the worrisome aspect of this is the generalisation. When we generalise it, the implication is that then all Ghanaians are a bunch of criminals and thieves because we constitute part of Ghana; so once one of us is a criminal and it can be generalised, then all of us --
Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.

Madam Speaker, when you go to the laws that all of us have agreed to abide by, even above the spiritual documents that all of us have, whether as Christians or Muslims or Judaists or what have you, is the 1992 Constitution. Madam Speaker, with your indulgence, I quote article 19(2) (c) of the Constitution:

“A person charged with a criminal offence -

(c) shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty.”

This is the 1992 Constitution. That is the law that we have all agreed that we are going to abide by. Madam Speaker, but the trend in our country is becoming too worrisome. All one needs to do is to just make an allegation against somebody and it is for that person to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he is not guilty of what he is being accused of and not for the one accusing him to prove beyond reasonable doubt that what he is saying is true.

This trend is very dangerous for our democracy. Democracy thrives on perception; once we allow the perception to keep running, that those who make our laws are criminals and thieves, all they are seeking is their personal welfare -- Madam Speaker, that perception is very, very dangerous for our democracy and we want to plead with our fellow Ghanaians -- Yes, we have our individual weaknesses; yes, we are just coming from among them, we are part of them, we are not extra-human beings. I keep saying in my constituency, if we were to look for the eldest person in the constituency, I would not have been sitting here; if we were to look for the most handsome person in the constituency, I would not have been sitting here; if we were to look for the most intelligent person, I would not be

here; the richest --

Whatever I think I have, I believe there are many folks in my constituency who have it more than I do. But they are not here, I have been chosen to represent them and representing them does not make me an extraordinary human being.

We want to plead with our fellow Ghanaians, please -- Yes, we could err, we could zero down -- “Hon Mubarak, you did ‘A', ‘B', ‘C', ‘D'; we think it is unparliamentary. As a Member of Parliament, you should learn to do it better”. I would agree with the person, because what that person would be saying is about me. If it is true, I would apologise and then carry on. But that person should not take my fault, put it on all the others and Hon Members. When one does that, he or she makes this House weaker. This House is already weak. Sixteen years of practising democracy, this House is weak; doing this would further make this House weaker.

I would plead with my fellow Ghanaians, and beg them in the name of God that we all need to strengthen this House. Strengthening this House does not mean me should pull it down. As Madam Speaker rightly said, one can criticise us constructively.

Madam Speaker, in ending I would also want to plead with ourselves. Madam Speaker, our individual behaviours and our collective behaviours are what is contributing to this. We are over- politicising everything in this country. Anything that comes up, we quickly make it the New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), People's National Convention (PNC), or Convention People's Party (CPP). Once anything comes up and it has to do with another person, because he belongs to the

other party, then we all jump, we make sure that he has sunk further.

We forget that what comes, goes round comes round. Tomorrow, it would be another person's turn, then he would also be sunk. The next day, it is yet another person, he is sunk.

We politicians must learn to be more honest with our comments, when we are about to make comments, they should be on facts, and on the right information so that we have respect for each other in anything that we say. We must make sure that the national interest is paramount. Once we have that, I believe we would be able to make more progress --
Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Hon Member, can you conclude now?
Alhaji Muntaka 12:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
in conclusion, I want to plead with my Hon Colleagues --Yes, Mr Kofi Wayo might have said all those things. Yes, but I would want to plead -- Because we are representing them, I want to plead that we should not behave like them. To err is human, but to forgive is divine. I would want to plead that we let this thing go and we carry on to develop a mechanism that would help this country to respect this House -- [Interruptions] -- rather than to carry it on forever.
Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Order! Order! Yes,
I would take one more from this side. Can you be brief, because we have another programme at the Castle at 12.30 p.m.?
Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu (IND -- Bekwai) 12:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I would strive to be very brief.
Madam Speaker, the allegation or the
statement that Mr Kofi Wayo is supposed to have made is a very serious one and you have underscored that already. There is a history to this man we are talking about. If I recall correctly, sometime in 1996, it was the Judiciary; he attacked the Judiciary, the Supreme Court that they were made up of this and what not. That was in 1996.
All throughout the last ten years, members of the Executive, in one way or the other, have received a bashing from him, either the President or one Minister here or another. Consistently, either this Minister is a thief or that the President is a thief -- consistently. Now, it is the turn of this august House, the institution called Parliament.
In my view, the man Kofi Wayo is consistently denigrating the institutions of State, the institutions of Governance in all forms. I think that we require to take action, not because we are individually or personally aggrieved, but because it is our responsibility as a Parliament to enforce the laws of the land.
It is article 122 of the Constitution of this country, that states that anybody whose action or inaction constitutes an affront to Parliament, should be dealt with. Indeed, if we Sitting in this House, do not enforce the Constitution of this country, who will? I have always bemoaned the lack of enforcement of the laws of this land; the Constitution should not be treated like any other one. I think that we have to enforce the law.
Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Yes, conclude now; time is up. We have one more and then the Leaders; we have to finish.
Mr Osei-Owusu 12:25 p.m.
Very well, I am finishing.
Madam Speaker, this should not be seen as some commentators have said, as criminalising speech; no. I think that consistently in this country we are permitting and tolerating the denigration of public institutions, public officials and the people in public service and very soon we may not have people of high calibre to be working in the public service.
Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
One more from this side.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 12:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, admittedly, the statement attributed to Mr Kofi Wayo accusing Parliament is a serious one. It is an indictment on Parliament. Madam Speaker, there is no doubt at all that he has labelled all of us as criminals. That is one vein. In another vein, he proceeded to give examples. One of the examples he gave, in my view, the person is no more in this House; he has been duly convicted by a court.
Madam Speaker, if he had stopped there by mentioning that such a person is a criminal, nobody would have complained. But he went further to label all of us and gave us names, which the people we represent would take it to be true; some would take it to be true, some would not take it to be true.
Madam Speaker, your Committee on Privileges, if this matter is referred to it, would now listen to the said person, Mr Kofi Wayo, whether indeed, he had said that and he must be found guilty. Madam Speaker, I would have said that this being the case, I would agree that he should appear before the Committee.
The Hon Members who contributed earlier had said that we know or most of us know who the gentleman who made
the statement is.
Madam Speaker, it did not start today; he started and played against all the organs of State or Ministers and some respectable people; he has attacked them in various ways. Madam Speaker, but the question is, having known such a person with that history, with that behaviour, what do we do in the circumstances? Having admitted, in fact, that his statement is what is qualified to go before the Privileges Committee. Madam Speaker, it is said that when one is naked in the bathroom and a mad person comes to take one's cloth, one does not come out naked and follow the mad person.
Madam Speaker, for instance, I take myself to be a decent person but if a mad person insults me that I am a thief, I would ignore that mad person without going further. This is because if I should follow that mad person, then I would also be seen to be behaving like a mad person.
I want to say that Mr Kofi Wayo's conduct has done very serious damage to this House, but I would not go further and ask that he should be disciplined or brought before the Committee. I would say with humility, that this is a character who formed a political party. But in effect, today, on the ground, that party does not exist; if it exists, who are the supporters?
Madam Speaker, every Member of Parliament here belongs to a political party and he or she can say that this and that are my supporters. So we cannot equate ourselves to that person who made the statement. He is a political failure and in my opinion, we should not follow him. At best, I would suggest that let us get some respectable citizens of this nation, like members of the Council of State, to summon him; he should appear before them and they should advise him as to what he is doing to us.
Madam Speaker, this, in my view, may solve the problem. But to bring him
before the Committee, Madam Speaker, would be bringing more, more issues. I beg to say that let Mr Kofi Wayo be there, but let respectable citizens of this nation advise him on his conduct.
Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Member, is it to make a contribution?
Mr Agyapong 12:25 p.m.
Yes, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Because I wanted two from each side and I have already got them. If it is to give me information, I would be in my lobby very soon. [Laughter.]
Mr Agyapong 12:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, two, three minutes, please. [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Well, the feeling of the House is “allow”, so go on. Quickly, because 12.30 p.m., we have to be somewhere else.
Mr Ken Ohene Agyapong 12:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I stand before Parliament to make this suggestion. I think it is about time we also stood up to Mr Kofi Wayo's challenge. I have listened to arguments on the floor and everybody seems to rule him out. When we do that as a Parliament, then he gets away with murder.
Today, it is Parliament, tomorrow, it is going to be the Executive. He has to come before the Privileges Committee and we would tell him who is a criminal.
I want to pose a question here, Madam Speaker. If I go to a hotel and sleep and do not pay my hotel bills and accuse the owner that he has stolen my money and therefore, I am not going to pay him -- What do you call such a person? If one goes to a communication centre, makes phone calls and do not pay, what do we call such a person?
We are making him a hero; we have evidence against this man; let him come here. I will show him -- he went to Courtesy Hotel in Tema, slept, he did not pay the bills and ran away. Kofi Wayo -- [Laughter] -- Yes, what is this? We let this guy get away with murder; he talks to everybody anyhow and we are coming up with arguments that he is a mad man. He is intelligent, a very smart guy.
Let him come here, I would prove to him where he slept in Tema, Courtesy Hotel -- the owner - I would bring everybody to Parliament, if he did pay the bills. Please, he should not get away with murder like that. With all due respect to my Hon Colleagues, the man has to appear before the Privileges Committee.
Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
I thank you.
I will now go to the leaders. Hon Minority Leader, you know time is against us; can you just help us to reflect the feeling of the House before I make -
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for this opportunity.
Madam Speaker, I agreed with you when yesterday you stood the consideration of this matter down This is because as you said, you ought to have had a prior notification of the matter that my Hon Colleague brought up.
Madam Speaker, I am also aware of the constitutional provision quoted by my Hon
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.

Colleague, the Member for Amenfi East (Mr Joseph B. Aidoo), who spoke about the dignity of all persons as captured by article 15 (1) of our Constitution.

Madam Speaker, I am further aware that the freedom of speech and expression which include the freedom of the Press and the other media are established by article 21 (1) of our Constitution.

Madam Speaker, but I am further aware and I believe all decent persons in this country should be aware that the freedoms that are captured in our Constitution are subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society such as Ghana is.

Madam Speaker, the relevant portions of the statement made by Mr Kofi Wayo are these and I want to quote:

“The Parliament itself is a useless place. The people there do not need to be there. They do not. They are criminals, a lot of them in there.”

Madam Speaker, these are the relevant portions of the statement made by the man called Kofi Wayo. Madam Speaker, these words clearly offend article 122 of our Constitution, which provides and with your indulgence, I will read:

“ An act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions or which obstructs or impedes a member or officer of Parliament in the discharge of his duties, or affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce that result, is contempt of Parliament.”

Clearly and manifestly and without any shred of doubt, these statements are contemptuous of the dignity of this House, Madam Speaker. And I believe there should not be any hiding from that.

Madam Speaker, I on daily basis criticize His Excellency the President of

this country and his Executives for various commissions and omissions. My Hon Colleagues join me in doing that. We do not insult the President or the Presidency; we do not do that even though we criticize.

Madam Speaker, on an occasion, this House had probed into a perception of corruption relating to the Judiciary and we even formed a special committee to go into this. The intent obviously was to try to reform and not to destroy, humiliate the Judiciary. Madam Speaker, such should be the approach of decent men and women of this land. I made my views known yesterday about what was said by Mr Kofi Wayo.

Today, he has gone haywire, pouring more vitriol and acerbic language on some of us. I do not want to engage him because when Joy FM called me, I told them to spare me the agony of engaging him on air. Such a person who said that well, “Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, you people have glorified him; he does not even understand the rudiments of English”.

When I said he is used to pouring vitriol on people, he said, “Oh, are you saying petrol?” -- [Laughter.] I said “Please, I did not say petrol, I said vitriol”. Then he said, “Oh, I do not understand that word”, reducing everything to a comic relief.

Madam Speaker, as I said, I made my position known yesterday. I believe that this House should take a very strong view of what he has said. However, I do not think that we should dignify him in any way. Madam Speaker, I believe we should confront him robustly but we should not glorify him by even inviting him to this Chamber or even the Committee.

Madam Speaker, in my view, he does not qualify to be invited there; he does not. He struggled to be in this House and he knew all this while that this House is infested by criminals. It is sad to comment on it further.

Madam Speaker, as I said, I was clear in my mind yesterday when I said that

we should not dignify him, we should not glorify him. In my view, from hence, we should not glorify lunacy in this country. Madam Speaker, we should not glorify peripheral elements in this society. And he asked whether I am referring to him, I said, “if the cap fits him, he should wear it.”

Madam Speaker, I am done.
Madam Speaker 12:35 p.m.
I thank you, Hon Member.
Hon Leader, your short comment.
Mr Cletus A. Avoka 12:45 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to share the sentiments expressed by my Colleagues and to state that the allegations, the vituperation, et cetera by Mr Kofi Wayo against individuals and this august House, must be seen as an affront to the dignity of the House and not just the individuals.
Madam Speaker, first and foremost, let me indicate that every single Member of this august House was vetted by Ghanaians in our respective constituencies. Tens of thousands of people vetted every single Member here and approved. So in the absence of a Member being cited and found liable by the due process of law, it is wrong for anybody to claim that there are criminals or the House is only made up of criminals and a bunch of self-seekers. That is most unfortunate to have come from a person who advocated to come here and failed and the person who is a party leader and who wanted to come to rule this country through Parliament as well.
Madam Speaker, if we were vetted and we appointed Madam Speaker and to suggest that the 230 of us with you in the Chair -- [Laughter]-- If 230 of us are criminals and you are chairing -- [Laughter.] The inference is obvious.
Madam Speaker, nobody doubts; if anybody doubts any of the 230 Members of this House, nobody can doubt your credentials, having left the Supreme Court of Ghana and now the Speaker of the august House.
It is not for anything that we are referred to as Hon Members. It is not for nothing that this House is referred to as an august House. It is not for nothing that you are also Rt Honourable and number three in the country and for anybody to derogate these from us and you, is most unfortunate.
Madam Speaker, I agree with my
Hon Minority Leader and other Hon Members that it is better to forgive Mr Kofi Wayo and the persons who think like him rather than to bring him to an august committee like the Privileges Committee to investigate or deliberate on it. No, it would not be useful. Hon Colleagues, it would not be useful. We have a saying in our tradition that if you are a gentleman and you go to the toilet, you remove everything of yours and you are in the toilet and a mad man is passing and then he picks your pants that you hanged and then you come out and chase the mad man bare - [Laughter.] You come out and you are chasing the mad man bare without a pant, the mad man would be laughing and say, “they say he is mad, they should look at the man running after him.” [Laughter.] You are even worse than the mad man. If you chase a mad man bare without a pant, without a cloth, you and him, there is no difference. He may even be better because he may have some tattered clothes on him. This is the way I want us to treat the vituperation of Mr Kofi Wayo, as far as we are concerned.
Madam Speaker, I also want to observe
that there is a lot of ignorance in the country. People do not know the functions
Mr Cletus A. Avoka 12:45 p.m.
and roles of the three arms of Government. So they think that this august House is responsible for shaping the destiny and lives of the people of this country alone. They do not know that the Executive formulates policy; they do not know that as a result of that they bring the policy documents here and we approve them.
So to say that Parliament is doing nothing to alleviate the poverty of Ghanaians and the rest of them, is, with the greatest of respect, a misconception. What have we not done? Is it not approving loans for the development of this country? Is it not approving Agreements, et cetera? Madam Speaker, I think that there is a lot of ignorance and Mr Kofi Wayo and others need education rather than indictment. They need more education rather than indictment.
Madam Speaker, I talked about the dignity of this House. We would recall that in the past people used to demonstrate to the Castle, to the courts but because of the dignity of Parliament, the respect they have for this institution, many people petition your goodself, many people rather demonstrate to Parliament and say Parliament is their saviour.
That means, there is dignity in this House and Hon Members are dignified. Therefore, it is not fair for people to look at this House in an undignified manner or to describe it as such. If we do so, we would be undermining the concept of democracy in this country. We would be undermining the practice of democracy in this country because if people lose confidence in this institution, which is the bastion of democracy, then where else do they go?
It is against this background that even though I conceded the allegation made by him as very treacherous, very,
very treacherous and subversive of the Constitution -- because if people accept what Mr Kofi Wayo is saying and then gang up and demonstrate and come here and then we run helter-skelter, it is subversion of the Constitution. You are trying through unlawful means to capture Parliament and when there is no Parliament, there is no constitutional rule and that is where I think we should be looking at.
Madam Speaker, I would want to conclude by saying that, yes, it is not just Mr Kofi Wayo. My attention has been drawn to the Metro Television Good Morning Programme this morning, where panelists were taking sides and some were saying, “yes, Hon Members of this House are not sacrosanct”. Yes, we do not claim to be sacrosanct. Nobody, like the Hon Member for Asawase said, is sacrosanct. Nobody and we do not claim to be so and like you pointed out earlier, we are susceptible to constructive engagement and criticisms. We are susceptible to that.
But to go on air and say that we are-- yes, we agree. We concede that and to add that oh, one bunch either from this side or the other side is criminal and the rest of them, it is unfortunate.
So we want to send a word of caution to all Ghanaians and everybody for that matter, that for goodness sake, let us criticize where it is relevant to do so and do so constructively but unnecessary fault-finding and laying blame at the wrong doorsteps, would not help us in this country.
I want to conclude by appealing to my Hon Colleagues that in the light of what we have all observed, we are more focused here. We have more serious business to do and I do not think that we should subject the Committee on Privileges to invite a friend like Mr Kofi Wayo, who would come and offer nothing and who at the
end of the day, we would get nothing from.
I think that we should let the matter end there but send this signal that we would not continue to countenance irresponsible insults, not criticisms; they are insults on the august House, whether individual, they are Hon Members or the institution as a whole.

Madam Speaker, we all know who in this country has Mr Kofi Wayo not insulted. Is it the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that he has not insulted before? Is it the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that he has not insulted before? Is it the former Presidents that he has not insulted? Are they dead? No. So for goodness sake, let us let the matter remain there.

I thank you.
Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
I thank you very much, Majority Leader. I thank you all, Hon Members who have made contributions. I am sure you were wondering why I was taking this stand.
It is my unenviable duty now to decide whether to refer this matter to the Privileges Committee or not.
I have taken into consideration all relevant matters. I have looked at the law and I have taken into consideration all the points that were raised here and I have had to make a decision whether to just refer the matter to the Privileges Committee and have a few men listening and closing or to open this House to comment on what has happened, which would be more beneficial
to this House.
It is my view that the feeling of this
House has been aired. It would be made public. It is in my view, the first time since I became the Speaker, that the whole institution has been treated in this way and having considered a lot of things, I am of the firm view that ignorance has played a part in this sort of behaviour and maybe, we need to do more to educate people about what Parliament is about and what we do here and that representatives of the whole people of this country, which they have in their wisdom taken, are to be respected and that the Constitution itself demands that we treat this House with dignity.
But taking into consideration the matters that the two Leaders have said, what would we benefit except to really put forward that in the future dealings with us, all persons concerned should take into account the various laws and especially, the provisions of the Constitution, article 122, which demands that we respect the dignity of Parliament.
I will this time not refer the matter to the Privileges Committee and I do not make this decision lightly. I have considered a lot of things. I think, for the first time, our views here, when they are aired, would inform all stakeholders who deal with Parliament to really look at the law and consider it.
It is for these reasons that, in this particular case and for once, I will not refer the matter to the Privileges Committee. I think we have aired it, I think it would be made public.
I thank you, Hon Members, I thank you for your contributions.
Hon Members, we now move - Our Leaders have been invited to the Castle to welcome the Black Stars and so, I will jump and have the Statement, which I have admitted to be read before they leave. And the Statement is from Hon Ackah, Chairman of the Select Committee on
Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.

Youth, Sports and Culture to congratulate the Black Stars.

Hon Leaders, I think, afterwards, you could leave but not before --

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh - rose

Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon Prempeh --
Was it a point of order?
Dr Prempeh 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, some of us did not hear you right. I thought I heard you say the Leadership should go to the Castle to join the President -
Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.
I said, we have been invited, whether we go or not, I said we have been invited.
Dr Prempeh 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I was hoping you would say you are inviting the Black Stars to come here.
Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.
We will.
Dr Prempeh 12:55 p.m.
Because we praised them, we are not going to the Castle. We are not an appendage.
Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.
I think you are jumping the gun. I could not announce anything because whatever we intend to do, to see the Black Stars today to make our own invitation. But since we have not, I did not want to talk about it.
Hon Minority Leader, I think today we talked about inviting them when you go there, for tomorrow. If it happens that they can meet it, we will announce it when you come back. Can you just inform them that this is our intention?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I believe my Colleague is right in raising this matter. As you may recollect, yesterday, I gave an indication that four years ago, when they did so
well for this nation, we invited them to Parliament. Unfortunately, it looks like this arrangement had been fixed without consulting us.
However, because it is coming from the President, I believe that we may have to agree, go and join him, receive them and maybe, we will have an arrangement to bring them here. I know that by Friday many of the players would have departed for their various bases. So, I believe the Deputy Majority Leader, who himself is the former Minister responsible for Sports, could liaise with the various active players in this matter and when we are through with it, I believe, tomorrow and the day after, we could engage them in this House.
Madam Speaker, I thank you.
Mr Avoka 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, it is our wish and determination to also bring the gallant Black Stars to this august House so that we can share the glory with them. So we will make the contact and inform Hon Colleagues accordingly.
Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Yes, Hon Prempeh, we have thought like you, we were thinking about it.
Honourable, can you quickly finish with your Statement?
STATEMENTS 12:55 p.m.

Mr Stephen M. E. K. Ackah (NDC -- Suaman) 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make this Statement to congratulate the Black Stars for their sterling performance in the ongoing 2010 “Vuvuzela” World Cup in South Africa.
Madam Speaker, on Friday 2nd July, 2010, the magnificent Soccer City Stadium in Jo`burg, South Africa, became the waterloo for the Black Stars and by extension, Ghana and Africa, when Uruguay painfully defeated Ghana on penalties, dashing Ghana`s hope of getting to the semi-finals. By this defeat, Ghana and Africa lost the opportunity to make history by being the first African country
to get that far in the history of the World Cup.
Madam Speaker, the support for Ghana was overwhelming and the expected celebration would have been very extensive and perhaps, with devastating consequences, but for that loss of the penalty. Like the biblical story goes, “Canaan was glaringly visible but Ghana could not set foot on the land”.
Madam Speaker, notwithstanding whatever has happened, the Black Stars have through their blood and toil or their energy and sweat, placed Ghana on a pedestal which is unprecedented in Ghana and Africa's football history. Ghana was the only African representative in two consecutive World Cups, which moved beyond the group stages and also equalled the records of the pacesetters, namely, Cameroun and Senegal in 1990 and 2002 respectively, when they reached the quarter-finals.
It is for this reason that I invite all Ghanaians to join me to say bravo, mo neko ayekoo, congratulations to our gallant warriors, the Black Stars.
Madam Speaker, the Black Stars need special commendation, because connoisseurs, pundits, sports analysts commentators and many other sports enthusiasts were skeptical about the Black Stars in this tournament. The initial challenge was that the team was plagued with numerous injuries, especially the old experienced and reliable players. Essien's absence, for example, was seen to be a big blow and the entire nation felt very uneasy. There was heavy criticism of the team's preparation as compared to other participating and giant soccer nations.
Indeed, after the 4-1 defeat by The Netherlands in one of the trial matches, close to the commencement of the tournament, many felt that Black Stars were going to be the whipping boys of the competition.
Madam Speaker, other challenges which were equally worrisome were adequately resolved by the intervention of the Government, corporate bodies and individuals.
Madam Speaker, the Black Stars put behind them all these challenges, held
the bull by the horn, and have proved the skeptics and doubting Thomas wrong.
Let us continue to encourage our players to train hard and keep the faith. The time to start strategizing for 2014 in Brazil is snow.
Madam Speaker, i f defending champions, Italy could be shown the exit by Slovakia and other football giants like England, France, Denmark, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, USA, la Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroun, to mention a few, had to exit before the semi-final stage of the competition, it gives an indication of how far and fast football is advancing and how difficult it is for any country to claim supremacy in the game.
Indeed, Madam Speaker, Uruguary would be the first to testify that they were in a match of life and death.
M a d a m S p e a k e r, l e t m e e n d by commending various bodies and organizations whose diverse contributions have catapulted us this far. I would like to thank the Government under the able leadership of His Excellency Prof. J. E. A. Mills, for showing the needed political will. May I also thank corporate bodies whose donations, no matter how small, did a lot to support us to go that far.
Also, let me thank prayer groups, whose prayers rekindled the spiritual support needed, the technical and management teams of the Black Stars, the planning committees, the general Ghanaian populace and the people of Africa, especially South Africa, for the unending and deafening “Vuvuzela” sounds and unqualified support when the South African team was kicked out in the first round of the competition.
Madam Speaker, this is an achievement that can never be forgotten. As a nation, we have to give our team, our gallant warriors, a resounding and a heroic welcome for the feat they have chalked.
Ms Grace Addo (NPP - Amansie West) 1:05 p.m.
Thank you Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the Chairman of the Committee on Youth and Sports. I am very grateful to the Black Stars for their wonderful performance in this World Cup Tournament.
Madam Speaker, I thank all Ghanaians for giving their support and throwing their resources to back the Black Stars.
Madam Speaker, I am also making an appeal that as much as we support the Black Stars, we equally have the mandate to give support to the female soccer team, the Black Queens. Very soon, they will be playing in Germany.
I am pleading that all Ghanaians should come out and maybe, if the Hon Minister for Women and Children's Affairs would also come out and give word so that all Ghanaians would be ready to throw their massive support to the Black Queens when they get to Germany.
I am saying this because it looks as if we normally recognise male soccer more than that of the female and today Ghanaians have also realised that females can also perform equally well. So come the time that the women would be going to Germany, it is my wish that all Ghanaians would come on board and support them massively.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Mr Dominic A. Azumah (NDC - Garu/Tempane) 1:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I associate myself with the Statement and also congratulate the Black Stars for their sterling performance in the World Cup.
Madam Speaker, it was very clear that when it came to victory, you could read clearly that it was a question of determination, the way to die for one's country and a bit of team work that made us to chalk victories in the competition. Ghana played five matches against Serbia, Australia, Germany, the United States of America (USA) and finally, with Uruguay.
In all the games that were played, one thing came out very clearly - the boys were understanding themselves and I hope that the Ghana Football Association (GFA) would move ahead to maintain this crack of boys, give them all the necessary support. For those who for age reasons might not be able to fit in, come 2014 or 2012 for the Cup of Nations, we can have very good replacement from the local teams right now, preparing towards that.
Madam Speaker, one issue that came out and most commentators spoke about it, was, even though our team was very good, , we were slow starters. Any game we entered into, clearly, we started rather very slowly and we built up into the game. It is a matter the technical team needs to look at.
Again, at some time of the game, individual players wanted to credit themselves with goal scoring and there were certain chances sometimes which needed a player just to pass it to the other colleague, maybe, to strike but for individual reasons, they tried to attempt to score and messed it up. I think that
the technical team also needs to look at it.
Finally, my concern Madam Speaker, and I hope that we are only making suggestions, the decision to award us a penalty in that very difficult situation in the last minute when Suarez decided to prevent the ball from entering the net with his hands. I think FIFA needs to sit down and look at this particular issue. Even though the current rule is that, yes, once the ball does not cross the goal line, it must be 95 per cent crossing the line.
This one, clearly, was difficult to understand whether it crossed or not but I believe it crossed and it crossed clearly. The referee should have boldly taken that decision in favour of Ghana but once that failed, I think that the player who also equally prevented the ball from entering the net must seriously be sanctioned. FIFA should look at it.
It has happened in this World Cup trial matches, where the coach of Argentina, Maradona of all people used his hand to score a goal and named it “the hand of God”. It happened in the qualifying series between France and Ireland, where Henry used his hand to bring the ball down to score - FIFA was quiet about it.
This time round, clearly, a player stood right there and prevented the ball with his two hands. I think that FIFA needs to look at this kind of rule. In rugby, if you prevent such a ball, they have a penalty goal awarded you and the player is sanctioned for a number of years. FIFA needs to take a quick look at this matter. There must be no cheating in the game; much as possible, we have fair play, but these kind of lapses do not present fair play.
But on the whole, Madam Speaker, the House must commend the boys for a wonderful job done and I hope that you would invite them to have some
interactions with us here in Parliament, at least, for us to show our appreciation for what they have done.
I thank you so much, Madam Speaker.
Mrs Elizabeth K. T. Sackey (NPP - Okaikoi North) 1:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I stand to join in congratulating the Ghanaian team, the Black Stars, for the good work that they did.
Madam Speaker, in so doing, I also want to say a big thank you to all countries which supported us, especially, countries in West Africa where friends from The Gambia, Nigeria and Mali called to say congratulations to the wondrous work that the boys did.
Madam Speaker, looking at what the boys did, I think that Ghana also has a long way to go in football playing. I believe strongly that we should now institute a lot of sports academies in Ghana so that we can start training the boys at their infancy, so that we could get more and excellent footballers in the near future.
Madam Speaker, I also believe strongly that if we are able to establish or make it part of the school curriculum, then that would enhance and ginger young boys to play and play well. Watching the football games, I realised that Ghana needs more strikers.
Madam Speaker, I can boldly say that I love football but I do not know much about it. In my constituency, most of the time, we have Ghanaian matches and you could find out that there are a lot of young boys down there who are very good in striking. I remember last year when we held one, a boy stood far from the post and struck and straight it was in the net and I said to myself, “ I wish Mr Nyantakyi and others were here so that they could pick this boy.” But then, I do not know how
Madam Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Thank you. One more from this side, then we would come to the Leaders and then -
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC - Tain) 1:15 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to also contribute to the Statement.
Madam Speaker, I would want to look
at the Statement from just one perspective and in short, I will say our victory was a prophecy that was fulfilled.
One may ask, what prophecy? Fine, immediately we had independence, in our flag, we had a black star signifying that Ghana is the hope of Africa and in this tournament, the inscription on our vehicle was ‘Ghana, the Hope of Africa”. I think we did Africa proud and Ghana deserves, or all of us deserve commendation for that.
Madam Speaker, how did we go to South Africa? We have made several attempts; we have not got this far. Gone were the days when we were worshipping individual players. This time, the words that His Excellency gave to the players were, “Go with a tactically disciplined side and you will come out with glory.”
It was no wonder that our players were very tactically disciplined on the field, and in terms of discipline, we were ahead of every side that we met. No wonder, in our first match, because of our tactical discipline, we were given a penalty kick -- because the other side was not as disciplined as we were. Other matches were also like that.
Madam Speaker, we went as a team and we did Africa proud. What I want to say is that, we should continue from the statement that was given by our first President that, “Together we stand, divided we fall.” Once we went there very united and the whole of Ghana was united, solidly behind the players, no wonder we were able to get this far.
The last prophecy that has been fulfilled is that, after Beijing, “what men can do, women can do it better.” Madam Speaker, why am I saying this? For the first time in the history of Ghana, that a woman Minister led the Youth and Sports Ministry, we have got to where we have never been to. I think as we are going to
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC - Tain) 1:15 p.m.

Germany, I will suggest that if we get a woman coach, the female team would come to Ghanawith the Cup.

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity.

Several Hon Members -- rose --
Madam Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Let us go to Leadership now and then - It is already one o'clock. Minority side - Yes, Leadership, any comments? Then we will go to the Majority Leader.
Mr Ambrose P. Dery (NPP - Lawra/ Nandom) 1:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to associate myself with the congratulatory Statement made by Hon Stephen Ackah, Chairman of the Select Committee on Youth and Sports.
Madam Speaker, I also want to congratulate our Black Stars for their sterling performance for Ghana and Africa. Even though we are the third country to get to the quarter-final after Cameroun and Senegal, I still think that there are many positive things that we can say about our progress to the quarter- final stage.
First of all, I think the three most exciting teams at the World Cup are Germany, Ghana and Brazil. They played flowing soccer; I think to some extent, Holland also shares in that accolade but I think that in the case of the three teams that I mentioned, most of the players were young and they are also good for the future.
In the case of Ghana, I think the blend was good and now we can be proud of stars such as Andre Dede Ayew, Kelvin- Prince Boateng and the rest of the Satellite players who are now in the Black Stars.
Clearly, it means that Ghana has a strong team going forward. So, I think we must recognise the Black Stars as heroes for what they have done on this occasion.
We should also recognise the support that the technical team has given and the Football Association (FA). In my view, all these stakeholders have shown that they are good for now and the future and I would plead that we maintain the team and those who are too old could phase out but bring people to join this team. There is no point to recreating the wheel.
In the same way, I think that the FA has shown that they are a very successful team, they know what to do to get us into the World Cup. They did that in 2006, they have done it again and moved one step further in 2010 and so, I will plead that the FA be maintained because they have shown that they can do a good job. This is the way that we can benefit in Ghana.
We should not try to bring extraneous material into this discussion and, of course, I think the coach has also done a good job and in my view, if we can retain him we should; if we cannot, I am sure we have other coaches that we can look to, including our own former coach of the Satellites.
So, Madam Speaker, I just want to say that this, again, is an indication of what indefatigable Ghanaian spirit can do and that when we are united, we can move forward.
Finally, I want to thank and congratulate all Ghanaian citizens who sat at home through their prayers and support and the way that we welcomed them back yesterday. I believe there is a lesson in that for all of us politicians, that as long as we are united and we put Ghana first, we can go very far in leading our country to development and let teamwork be our
Mr Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC - Wa Central) 1:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I will like to also join my Hon Friends in congratulating the Black Stars for their sterling performance in this year's FIFA World Cup Tournament that is taking place for the first time in Africa.
Madam Speaker, this is a tournament Africa invested a lot of hopes and energy in. It is also a tournament in which we saw our young Black Stars demonstrating beyond all doubts that they are committed, they are skilled, they are determined and will go to all lengths to champion the name of Ghana, to hoist the flag of Ghana and Africa.
Madam Speaker, for this single reason, we have cause as Parliament to say congratulations to them and to wish them well as well as the rest of Ghanaians who supported them and gave them everything to help them to achieve what they achieved for the rest of us.
Madam Speaker, football has become an international relations instrument and we have seen it. We have seen how in the course of the game, Ghana became the household name in Africa. We have seen in the course of the game how the rest of Africa invested their hopes in Ghana. Never in the history of football, has a whole continent committed itself to one country as one that could save it.
Ghana achieved that expectation; Ghana achieved that level of hope for her people and it was done through football. But what is more important is the unity, the cohesion, the love and peace this tournament participated by Ghana has brought to Ghanaians themselves.
It has ensured that people with differences in political opinion, people with differences in religious opinion, sat together, fought together, cheered the Black Stars together and hoped together that we were going to go beyond the quarter -final, go into semi-final and even win the cup. It never happened but we can testify that these are young people who went all length to fulfil our expectation and dream.
For this matter, I think that we need to continue to do things for these Stars that can last beyond their lifetime, not just the praises. I believe that if we put their names, printed on concrete slabs -- Those who have ever won laurels for Ghana in sports, we print their names on concrete slabs and tell the world what they have done for us. It will serve as an inspiration for future young men to go the extra length to bring us success. With that, we know , eventually, the rest of the country will achieve progress beyond sports.
Madam Speaker, we need to maintain our commitment to the team but we need to also caution the young men that this achievement must never get them swollen headed. It should keep them together, it should challenge them to the fact that they need to go beyond this and it needs to tell them that in the end, they win something more substantial for this country.
Madam Speaker, with these few words, I want to also commit myself to congratulating them and wishing them well and hoping that eventually, we will get to where we want to get. God bless Ghana, God bless the Black Stars.
Thank you very much Madam Speaker, for the opportunity.
Madam Speaker 1:25 p.m.
Thank you.
Yes, Statement time is now over, shall we move on, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Avoka 1:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, if I
can crave your indulgence and Hon Colleagues, as you indicated earlier, the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and the Leadership of this House have a function in the Castle now. But we are virtually late; so I will propose that we take item 5 which is just (a) and (b); that is just laying of Papers and then we will defer the rest of the proceedings for today until tomorrow.
Madam Speaker 1:25 p.m.
All right, items 5 (a) and (b), Chairman of the Committee.?
PAPERS 1:25 p.m.

Madam Speaker 1:25 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, what next?
Mr Cletus A. Avoka 1:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, as I indicated earlier, we will adjourn Sitting now till tomorrow at 10 o'clock.
I want to appeal to Hon Members who have filed amendments in respect of the Economic and Organised Crimes Bill that we will meet at 3 o'clock in my office to do the winnowing.
Having said so, Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that this House now stands adjourned till tomorrow at 10'clock.
Mr Ambrose P. Dery 1:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, before I second the motion, I plead that if we can have an early Sitting tomorrow. Since we are pushing what is on the Order Paper today to tomorrow, then we need to Sit early if we want to make progress, and with that I would like to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.30 p.m. till Wednesday, 7th July, 2010 at 10.00 a.m.