Debates of 10 Jun 2015

PRAYERS 12:25 p.m.

Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I come under Order 53, with your permission and the indulgence of the House, for you to vary the Order of Business so that we take the Urgent Statement on the Ebola Vaccine Trial in our country before we come to the other Business.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Very well.

Hon Member for Ho West, you have the floor.
STATEMENTS 12:25 p.m.

Mr Emmanuel K. Bedzrah (NDC -- Ho West) 12:25 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make this Statement on behalf of the Volta Region Caucus of this august House on the impending Phase I trial of the Ebola Vaccine in the Hohoe Municipality.
Mrs Ursula G. Ekuful (NPP -- Ablekuma West) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let me commend the Hon Member for the Statement made on behalf of the Volta Caucus and add my voice to the fact that nobody is against clinical trials in this country.
However, by God's grace, Ebola by- passed this country due to the prayers of all of us. We do not want to unwittingly import this disease into the country under the guise of a clinical trial.
Mr Speaker, last year, we suffered a cholera epidemic in this country. Early this year, the College of Physicians and Surgeons undertook a study and put it out that our health infrastructure was not ready then and it is still not ready to deal even with a common ailment like cholera.
Mr Speaker, if in the course of this clinical trial, if it is permitted to go on, the disease rears its head because they would be using live cultures in the vaccines, how are we going to deal with it? We are not ready. The infrastructure is not available. It is all well and good, under the guise of science, to conduct experiments but we cannot sit by and allow our people to be used as guinea pigs in an experiment or a trial whose outcome we do not know.
Mr Speaker, let those who have the infrastructure, which is able to deal with
any unforeseen eventuality that may arise out of this trial,volunteer to undertake this task. As for the people of this country, particularly the people of the Volta Region, I add my voice to the call that it should not be undertaken in any part of this country, much less the Volta Region.
Mr Speaker, so we would urge the Minister for Health and all those responsible for admitting or permitting this trial to take place here to reconsider, not just to suspend it but to say no. Thank you. We have enough issues to deal with. We do not want to add any further trouble on our heads.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Let me hear from the Hon Member for Hohoe then I would take the Hon Member for Sekondi.
Dr (Mrs) Bernice A. Heloo (NDC -- Hohoe) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to comment on the Statement made by the Hon Member for Ho West calling for a suspension of the Phase I Ebola Vaccine Trial.
Mr Speaker, while I would not like to go into the merits and demerits of a scientific research, I would look at the social dimensions of the entire process. I have never been made aware of this trial. I followed up on rumours but did not get the much needed information.
Mr Speaker, a few days ago, I saw a letter which had been sent to some chiefs and queen mothers to attend a workshop to discuss the vaccine issue. Apart from them, youth groups, church leaders and other opinion leaders have not been met at all.
Mr Speaker, as I speak, a lot of people are confused, the youth are agitating and massing up for demonstration.
Dr (Mrs) Bernice A. Heloo (NDC -- Hohoe) 12:25 p.m.

Mr Speaker, at this time of our country's development, we would not want to see social unrest due to negligence in educating the public.

Mr Speaker, I believe that the investigators should have done better by taking on board all of us who are stakeholders in the constituency.

Mr Speaker, it is on these grounds, especially the fact that community entry processes were not duly carried out, sensitisation was poorly done and information was not given at the appropriate time to anybody at all, that we call for the exercise to be halted. In fact, when I contacted one of the investigators, her response to me was to talk to the Principal Investigator as she was not in a position to give me information.

Mr Speaker, in view of the total confusion and agitation in the constituency, I support fully this Statement and go by the submission that this Phase I Ebola Trial be suspended indefinitely until the proper consultations are done.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Member for Sekondi?
12. 35 p.m.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah (NPP-- Sekondi) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to make a few comments on the Statement made by the Chairman of the Volta Caucus in Parliament.
Mr Speaker, science being what it is, and particularly scientific research being necessary for the development of
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member for Sekondi.
Ms Laadi A. Ayamba (NDC-- Pusiga) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Let me first of all congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement for ably presenting it to this House.
Mr Speaker, the first time I read about this trial in the Volta Region, I dismissed it This is because I believed that it was one of those speculations that might have been put out there, only for me to begin to hear from other Hon Colleague Members of Parliament that it is actually an issue that was going to take place in the Volta Region.
It sounded very interesting to me because I wondered, and I just asked myself, “Trial?How do you try such a deadly and unthinkable disease that we have all prayed against on humans in no other country than Ghana, where fortunately, God has protected us?”
We prayed fervently, and it did not hit us. Why are we now coming to try it on human beings? Have we finished trying it on rats, mice and chimpanzees, which many at times we know are used for such trials? Have we done that yet?
They are coming here; no information, no communication, no involvement, and they are going to try it on humans. For God's sake, are we inviting the virus into this country or it is just research?
Mr Speaker, much as we might not know what might be the interest of those who are actually going to do this, should we sit here as representatives of the people and let them be tried with this, simply because of GH¢ 200 and a mobile phone when we do not know the outcome?
Mr Speaker, it is an issue that when one looks at it carefully, one just wonders to what level we are reducing ourselves. Even if we have the structures, even if we have all the amenities, we have all the people, I do not believe that we should give our people out to such a thing.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would just like to say that we should not suspend it, it should be stopped. Not in Ghana here; it should be done somewhere else. If they want to do it in Ghana they should do it in the laboratories with mice, rats and chimpanzees, but not with human beings.
Mr Kobina T. Hammond (NPP-- Adansi Asokwa) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am so grateful that my Hon Colleague from Ho West has made this Statement, because if
he had not done it, I was planning to make it myself. So, I am very happy that he has brought this Statement to the floor and we have had the opportunity to make it this morning.
Mr Speaker, we should be very careful in this country. May I know where the Minister for Health and the officials have been? This is completely improper; this is wrong; this is a health hazard.
When one goes to Europe or all those countries where we hear about testing of new vaccines and other medication, before they come on stream serious precautions are taken to make sure that they are tested on specific animals like the guinea pigs, chimpanzees, those creatures and eventually it comes to human beings. That is why God created all those creatures who have the same biological qualities that we have.So, they are the first point of testing and after that they move on to people who are willing.
To come to Ghana and suggest that a whole region is going to be used as Phase I -- Are we going to have phase II, phase III, phase IV?Would it go across the whole country?We should be very careful.
It is wrong. My Hon Colleague just spoke and said it should not even be suspended but it should be stopped; of course, it should be stopped.
Indeed, the Hon Minister for Health should be brought to this House to explain to us --[Interruption] -- which Statement is it?
An Hon Member 12:45 p.m.
It is in the Statement. That he should come to this House to explain to us the basis for this decision.
Mr Hammond 12:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I give way to my Hon Colleague.
Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Mr Hammond 12:45 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, so, if they go through those things and in the end it is thought that we have effective medication, of course, they can come round and we can get a few people to test.
Mr Speaker, the most serious mistake we are making is that people should go in for the test out of their own volition.
GH¢200.00 is bogus; it is silly. Mr Speaker, with all due respect in the world to those who are making those arguments. Mobile phone for what? Human life for GH¢200.00 and mobile phone?
Mr Speaker, I join the chorus; it should be stopped. The Hon Minister should come and explain to us -- Why Volta Region?Why Ghana?Why is it that it is going to be done in the way that they are suggesting?
My Hon Colleagues who thought that I had just come, I have been following this story, I have been reading it and I have been planning to make a Statement. So, when I heard my Hon Colleague make the Statement, I rushed out here, Mr Speaker to make a contribution.
Thank you very much; I always listen to developments in the House.
Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon Members, I have got the sense of the House.
Let me take the Hon Deputy Minister for Education and then the Hon Member for Nkwanta South before I come to the Leaders.
I will take the Hon Second Deputy Speaker, too, before I come to the Hon Deputy Minority Leader and the Hon Majority Chief Whip.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (NDC -- North Tongu) 12:45 p.m.
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on this Statement ably made by the Hon Member for Ho West on behalf of the Volta Caucus.
Mr Speaker, I believe that this is a matter which is indeed extremely sensitive.
It is also within the domain of science. So, it is important that we approach this matter with a lot of circumspection and knowledge as much as possible.
Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon Deputy Minister, get the thrust of the Statement.
They said they are not against scientific research,both Sides have repeated it. But there was lack of information or communication, there was not sensitisation. That is the thrust of the Statement. Nobody is against scientific research. The Hon Member who made the Statement has made the point clear. The Hon Member for Ablekuma West, the Hon Member for Sekondi and even Hon K. T. Hammond all have made the point clear. I mean almost everybody -- [Uproar] -- Yes, Hon K. T. Hammond -- sorry-- [Laughter.] So, it is very clear. Nobody is against it.
I can tell you the number of people who have called me including people who have held the highest office of this country. So, Hon Member, you know --
Mr Ablakwa 12:45 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker, I am certainly in agreement with the general sense of the House. I was just setting the foundation that when the Ethics Committee of the Ghana Health Service and the Food and Drugs Authority worked with the WHO to put these trials together,they certainly had all of this knowledge.
Mr Ablakwa 12:45 p.m.

I agree with the Caucus and with Hon Members of this august House that sensitisation has not been properly conducted. The community entry engagements have not been carried out, and indeed, we have all been at the receiving end of a lot of anxiety and panic from our constituents, who have even been told that people are out to get people in the Volta Region and to inject them against their will.

The whole thing is being done under some shroud of secrecy, and as if one would have to sign up to something which is secretive, it appears that some are being baited with mobile phones and moneys and all of that. There are all kinds of reports which do not help in matters such as this. So, it is important that the Minister for Health is invited to this House and we support the contributions that have been made.

Fortunately, as a Government, we are told that so far there have been no political approvals. We are told all the approvals have been at the technical level. The Ethics Committee of the Ghana Health Service and the Food and Drugs Authority are yet to get to the Ministerial level and to the Cabinet for governmental approval. So, I just thought that for the records, it is important that the Government of the day is not jammed to this. This appears to be a private initiative by a company called Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a United States of America based company working with the WHO.

Mr Speaker, it is important that as we all solidarise and fight this matter, we do it without any politicisation. We all have to agree that the right thing has to be done. The Hon Minister for Health must come and provide details and the nation must be properly sensitised and briefed. There

has to be a decision point whether or not we even want to opt for this.

We have been told that Janssen Pharmaceuticals is doing the same thing in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Switzerland and United Kingdom. We have been told Tanzania is taking off today; Ghana has to take a decision whether we want to be part of it because we know there are other nations who opted out. We may also prefer to opt out. So, it is important that the Hon Minister for Health is brought here to provide further and better particulars on this matter.

I congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement and I support the Statement wholeheartedly.
Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon Member for Nkwanta South?
Mr Gershon Gbediame (NDC -- Nkwanta South) 12:55 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to add my voice to the call for the suspension of this trial.
Mr Speaker, I listened to some interviews on radio this morning and the Volta Regional Chairman for the National Democratic Congress was on air because they had issued a statement. He was interviewed and he also said what we have been saying, because nobody had been educated and nobody told anybody anything.
Mr Speaker, I would want to ask few questions. What team is carrying out this research? Where else have they tried this research? What was the outcome they got over there?
Mr Speaker, in my mind, if people have been infected by a particular virus and they want to try a vaccine, good sense
tells us that those who have suffered from it must first be tried to see their response to the vaccine. But I do not understand what the reaction would be for somebody who has never suffered from it.
Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon Member, is it not the case that those who have suffered from it could become immune? Is that not the normal understanding?
Anyway, please proceed.
Mr Gbediame 12:55 p.m.
So, Mr Speaker, we as the representatives of the people -- If you look at my WhatsApp, a number of communication has been going on. The youth, the chiefs, and everybody is asking what we are doing -- Why Hohoe?Why Volta Region? It is as if we knew something about it and did not want to tell them.
We have the Committee on Health. Have they been told about this vaccination? Most importantly, Mr Speaker, why the incentive of a mobile phone and GH¢ 200? This is because we think that if the research works, it is to the good of humanity and so people should voluntarily offer themselves. But even before it comes to human beings, as an Hon Member said, we have to start gradually from the animals, Chimpanzees before coming to humans. But here we are, we know nothing about this trial that they are talking about.
So, we as members of the representa- tives of the Volta Region are calling on the Hon Minister, -- As almost all Hon Members have said, we must be educated so that when we go to our communities and we are asked, we would be able to give them the right answers. In fact, it is
not only the Volta Region because, if the epidemic breaks out in the Volta Region, it would easily spread to every part of the country.
So, even though we are talking about the Volta Region, it is not the Volta Region alone, we are talking of Ghana as a country. We do not know who the researchers are. Even when one listens to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Food and Drugs Authority, and the PRO of the Ministry of Health, -- I listened to them on the radio but I was neither satisfied nor convinced with the answers they gave. It means that there is a lot that needs to be done about this vaccine for us to be convinced on where they have tried it and what the result was. If it does not work, what would be the effect on the person it was tried?
There is so much that we need to know and that is why we are calling on the Ministry of Health to brief this House and all the stakeholders in the region. It is said that they have written to the chiefs, but we have the chiefs as one body, the youth and other religious groups, and everybody talking about it.
We as the people's representatives would also call upon whoever is in charge to hold meetings with us, and convince us to understand. If we are convinced, then we would be able to explain to our people.
Mr Speaker, with this, I would want to end my contribution.
Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon Second Deputy Speaker?
Mr Joe Ghartey (NPP-- Esikadu/ Ketan) 12:55 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I totally identify with the Volta Caucus and congratulate them for making this very important Statement. In fact, I became more alarmed when I heard that of all the places in Ghana they started
Mr Dominic B.A. Nitiwul (NPP-- Bimbilla) 12:55 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I strongly associate myself with the Statement made by Hon Bedzrah on behalf of the Volta Caucus. It is important that some facts be made known.
In the treatment of diseases and manufacture of medicine, there are two phases. We call something the pre-clinical trial and the clinical trial. The pre-clinical trial is done on animals like chimpanzees and guinea pigs. Mr Speaker, this has been done already. In this instance it has been done -- two, three, four years. Even before the outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, it was done. It was tested in the laboratory.
It is done in the laboratory; it is not done outside the laboratory. But the clinical trial is divided into four parts; phase I, phase II, phase III and phase IV.
Phase I is normally about some 20 or 30 people; then phase II also increases; phase 3 increases and then in phase IV thousands and thousands of people.
Mr Speaker, what is frightening in this case is that there are other countries that have gone through this system, the phase I. It has been done in Kenya; it was done in Sierra Leone; it was done in Guinea. It has been done in some other countries.
In Liberia it was done in 2014 but Mr Speaker, it was not done on people who have never suffered that disease. It was done on two categories of people, it was done on the patients and people who have suffered it to see the side effects and the survival rate. -- [Interruption] --
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1:05 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I am wondering whether my Hon Leader is going to represent the Ministry of Health in this matter. [Laughter.] -- This is because, he seems to be giving some information

which is very strange to me and he seems to be very informed about this more than any of us. I am just hoping that probably, he may hold his horses until the Hon Minister comes, so that, with the information, he can also assist to educate us.
Mr Dominic Nitiwul 1:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we are Members of Parliament so sometimes when people are reading the Hansard, it is important that in future people do not judge us wrongly. That is why I gave this information. But I said I strongly support what the Hon Member said; that it is unheard of, it is not acceptable for anybody anywhere to introduce a disease into the country like what is happening now.
Dr Anthony A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to urge my Hon Leader to heed to the advice from Senior Hon Member. Because the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), as he mentioned - is part of the system so he can hold his horses, let the Hon Minister for Health come, then we can all know all the facts and we can debate it. But the way he said it “he said”, I do not think that is what the Hon Member said in the Statement, he did not say that, I listened to him. So please --
Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, we have all admitted our limitation and that is the essence of the call on the Hon Minister for Health to come and brief the House.
Mr Nitiwul 1:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I wrote it down, that”no political approval”, I would want to state and I mentioned it to the Hon Minority Chief Whip that, that is what the Hon Deputy Minister said and I will repeat it. FDA did a Press Conference to justify what they are doing now, and the Government says that there is no political approval, then we have a big problem. It is not just inviting the Hon Minister here, it is about finding out from the FDA who gave them that approval.
Mr Speaker that is the crux of the matter, that is where I was coming from. That, is it only the Ebola vaccine that FDA has introduced without political approval or some other deadly diseases have been introduced into the system without our knowledge and without political approval?
Mr Speaker, I support him when he says the fear of Ebola is bigger than the Ebola itself. Mr Speaker, when the Ebola disease was found in Serra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, even aeroplanes stopped flying there -- Everything shut down, nobody was willing to even eat with them; their Members of Parliament (MPs) people were shying away from moving close to them; just that fear alone, and for me to hear in my country that for GH¢ 200 which is equivalent to US$50 and a mobile phone, people are importing the mild form of Ebola into this country, it is very serious Mr Speaker.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my Hon Leader said even our Members of Parliament did not want to mix with the MPs from Liberia and -- Mr Speaker, is that the statement he made?
“our Members of Parliament”, which Members of Parliament? Mr Speaker, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Mr Speaker, is that what he is saying to us? Because of the fear of Ebola? Mr Speaker, this is a very serious matter.
Mr Nitiwul 1:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I guess he was not listening to me. I said Members of Parliament from those areas were afraid to mix with them. I never mentioned our Members of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, on a more serious note, what did they tell them because the Ebola virus can mutate very fast, the strain of the Ebola virus that occurred in DR Congo some time ago was totally different from the new strain of the virus that they found in Guinea on patient zero when they traced to the patients, it was totally different.
Mr Speaker, are we sure that when this is introduced, they would not become incubators and carriers? Are we sure that they will not be? These young people that we introduce this virus into are we not sure that they would become carriers and that they would transfer unto other people and when I am passing Hohoe to my Bimbilla I will get that disease and I would also transfer it to somebody in Bimbilla?
Mr Speaker, there are too many ‘ifs' and ‘buts', Government should immediately - - because that fear and panic, I hope there is a law on fear and panic? The Government must immediately assure Ghanaians that.the situation is under control. The way they are handling it, Mr Speaker, I think it is not enough.
They must assure all the citizens through a strongly worded press conference or statement that the situation is under control. This is because if the press had not said it, we would not have known.

Mr Speaker, I do not know but I am informed the President is around, I am sure it is part of the problems why the President decided not to travel when he was expected to travel. I believe the Hon Minister should take the next available plane to come and solve this problem because, if we are not lucky and there is a leakage and there is mutation on the virus they are introducing and it becomes a big problem, our culture is not like other countries.

In Ghana, when you meet someone and you do not shake his hands, he thinks you have not respected him. If you go to a funeral and you do not shake the hands of the people, they think that you have not respected them. We cannot afford - we were offered to host the African Cup of Nations, and we refused because of Ebola.

We cannot afford to let some private companies who want to make money ride on the back of treating Ebola to infect our people with Ebola. Whoever was responsible for signing this agreement without the knowledge of the people of Ghana, without creating public awareness, without educating the people, that person should be held responsible.

Mr Speaker, but let us wait, I will hold my horse and let the Hon Minister come into this House and come and tell us what caused him not to have educated us on

the impending disaster that our people were going to be subjected to. So Mr Speaker, I will wait and listen to the Hon Minister when the time comes.
Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Hon Members, before I call the Hon Majority Chief Whip -- I am saying this because the Hon Deputy Minister is on his feet -- When I got the Statement, and given the calls that I have received myself and the concerns that have been expressed on the matter, my office tried to get in touch with the Hon Minister for Health, so that he would be in the House when the Statement is being made. But they put the call through and he decided to speak to me and he said he was not in the jurisdiction but he has directed that they should suspend it and that he would be back.
I then said I was going to discuss it with the Leadership of the House so that he comes to brief the House on Tuesday. I do not know whether the Hon Deputy Minister want to pre-empt his Hon Minister because I saw him on his feet. I should have passed this comment at the end of the Statement but because I saw him on his feet, if he wants to say so and he has got the blessing of his Hon Minister and wants to be held responsible for it, then, maybe I may let him speak, I do not know.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC--Asawase) 1:15 p.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker. I equally congratulate our Hon Colleagues from the Volta Caucus and the Hon Member for Ho West, Hon E. A. Bedzra for making the Statement on the floor of the House. I am congratulating them because, the response to the needs of their constituents is a very paramount one.
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Hon Chief Whip, can you educate the House by quoting the relevant section of the law which --
Alhaji Muntaka 1:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is Act
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Alhaji Muntaka 1:15 p.m.
I do not remember the exact section, but it is the eighth part of the Public Health Act. It is the eighth part that talks about clinical trials in the country and I am saying that we gave that mandate to the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
But I am saying that, the challenge we have is the method and the procedure that this pharmaceutical company is taking. This is because when you are entering into a community, you need to do it properly.
Mr Speaker, not long ago, in Nigeria, another company went to try some medicine and because of that, with the greatest respect, the short cut they
adopted, at the end of the day, they left a lot of children paralysed, they left a lot of children disadvantaged and the Nigerian Government had to sue the pharmaceutical company.
It lasted at the International Court for years but at the end of the day, they were fined some billions of dollars. But that could not bring back the lives that were lost. That is why we are all calling - and I am happy to say that, the Ministry of Health has called for the suspension.
We believe, yes, the suspension is good but the Hon Minister, like we are all suggesting, Mr Speaker, should come to the House. I would want to ask whether Mr Speaker would not consider us filing an Urgent Question because it is through an Urgent Question that we are able to further ask the Hon Minister from the Answer that he gives. When he makes a Statement, I do not know how in the contribution we would be able to elicit more information as to the information that he gives.
So, it is something that we need to consider, whether we want him to come to brief us or whether to come and answer Questions so that we can ask supplementary questions in and around the matter for further clarification.
But Mr Speaker, I am sad to note that, the Ministry of Health had not considered the effect of allowing this process to even begin on the existing vaccination programmes we have in the country.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:15 p.m.
On a point of order.Mr Speaker, we have to be very careful. We are asking the Hon Minister for Health to come and brief us but we are already assuming that they have done something.
Mr Speaker, that is the essence of why we are inviting them. We do not want rumours and speculations. Let the Hon Minister come, and on the basis of that --
but to say that you are surprised, it means that you have information that we do not have. Then, why invite the Hon Minister? Please, let us be careful, this is a very sensitive matter but let us be rational about it so that we can contribute properly. I beg you.
Alhaji Muntaka 1:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am speaking on information. Maybe, just google you would see that the Ministry of Health has made a number of Statements there. They themselves admitted that --
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Hon Member, what you should have done is to make reference to your source. Maybe, he would not have raised a point of order to say that reports --
Alhaji Muntaka 1:15 p.m.
Very well Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, information that the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ministry of Health had given out is that, they admit that the entry into the community could have been done in a better form, admitting that they were very much aware of the process.
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Hon Member for Effutu, what is your Point of Order?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:15 p.m.
I am rooting my Point of Order on Standing Order 93. Mr Speaker, may I proceed?
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
What does Standing Order 91 say?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it deals with interruption of debates.
Mr Speaker, Standing Order 91.
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it states that debate may be interrupted where the person is misleading the House.
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
We are not debating.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:15 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. But the submissions being made are very contentious. Mr Speaker, whether, it is a Statement being made or an argument which is happening --
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Hon Members, Standing Order 91 allows you to interrupt but when you get up to interrupt, you must come under either (a), (b), (c) or (d). Any of them, by Point of Order being raised, by a matter of privilege suddenly arising, by attention being called to absence of quorum or (d), attention being called to the presence of a strangers.
So, which of them are you coming under?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am changing the Standing Order -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Hon Member for Effutu, please this is a very serious matter, kindly take your seat.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, specifically, let us look at Standing Order 92 (1) (a). I will read to you.
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
What do you want to say?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chief Whip says that, the Ministry was aware that the FDA was taking up that exercise. That is different from the Ministry authorising it. Is he saying that
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Hon Member for Effutu, please.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I want clarification. That is all.
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Hon Member, take your seat.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:15 p.m.
I am grateful.
Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Hon Chief Whip?
Alhaji Muntaka 1:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as I said ealier, my biggest concern is the existing vaccination programmes that we have in the country, where we are doing all we can to save all children under five.
With the current happenings, how is it going to impact negatively on existing vaccination programmes? I thought that the Ministry should have been very mindful about how entry into the community with this trial should have happened.
This is because now, with what is happening, I can assure all of us, if we are not careful, and the Ministry does not
step up its campaign and programmes on educating parents on the existing vaccination programme, the current vaccination programme on children is likely to be affected negatively because everybody will panick. There would be fear, there would be anxiety as to whether even the vaccination that you are going to take, would not be the trial.
Mr Speaker, let me say that, we need to encourage all our Hon Colleagues to keep our constituents informed. In case of any suspicion, we can easily get the Ministry of Health to clarify what is happening in our various constituencies so that we do not just leave it to the rumour that currently, have the tendency to have negative effects on the existing vaccination programme.
Mr Speaker, having said this, I would also want to add my voice to that of the Minister for Health, if it is possible,on the Tuesday that is scheduled for him to come to the House whether under a Question or Statement, to brief the House on the happenings. I also further encourage the Select Committee on Health to invite the FDA, the Ministry and other technical persons involved.
This is because, I am told from the information given that the company is ‘Johnson and Johnson' of Canada. If they could also be invited by the Select Committee on Health to give the very details of what is happening in the country.
We all admit that, it is not possible to have any medicine or vaccination on the market when it has not been tried clinically. To be tried clinically, you would definitely need human beings to do that, and this is done all across the world. But the method and procedure that is used, the safeguard and the likely consequences are made
Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements. The House has spoken with one voice on this matter. I direct that the Minister for Health be programmed by the Business Committee to brief this House on phase I of the Ebola vaccine tr ial that is programmed to take place in the Volta Region.
The Business Committee should programme him accordingly for Tuesday. When he comes we would ask all the necessary questions and clarifications. Meanwhile, the position of the House,listening to both sides is that, the process should be suspended until further notice. [Hear! Hear!] That is the position of Parliament.
Hon Members, thank you very much.

Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
Item two on the Order Paper, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 9th June, 2015.
  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 9th June, 2015]
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 4th June, 2015]
  • Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Majority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, items 4, 5 and 6.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Why? Do you want to take item number 4? You cannot take item number 4.
    Alhaji Muntaka 1:25 p.m.
    All right Mr Speaker, then we would do items 5 and 6.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Let me have your names from the Majority Side with regard to the Composition. I am the Chairman of the Committee and the Committee has not met so we cannot lay it. If the Majority Side is ready with their names, they should make it available so that I can call the Committee of Selection.
    Alhaji Muntaka 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my understanding from the Hon Majority Leader is that, he has done that with you.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Yes, but we are to meet to ratify it.
    Alhaji Muntaka 1:25 p.m.
    All right Mr Speaker. Then we would take items 5 and 6.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Very well. Mr First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair. Item number 5.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:31 p.m.
    Hon Members, item number 5. Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    MOTIONS 1:31 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah) 1:31 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation on the District Level Elections Regulations, 2015 (C. I. 89) may be moved today.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:31 p.m.
    Any seconder?
    Mr Dominic A. Azumah 1:31 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:31 p.m.
    Item number 6, Motion. Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    Report on the District Level Elections Regulations, 2015 (C.I. 89)
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah) 1:31 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation on the District Level Elections Regulations 2015 (C. I. 89).
    In so doing, I read the Report.
    The Distr ict Level Elections Regulations, 2015 (C.l. 89) was laid before Parliament on Friday, 20th March, 2015 in accordance with article 11 (7) of the Constitution. Pursuant to Orders 77 and 166 of the Standing Orders of Parliament. Mr Speaker referred the Instrument to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee for Consideration and report.
    Reference Documents
    The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during its deliberations:
    i. The 1992 Constitution;
    ii. The Standing Orders of Parlia- ment
    iii. Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 451);
    iv. Local Government Act, 1993 (Act
    v. Public Elections Regulations, 2012 (C.l. 75);
    vi. District Electoral Areas and Designation of Units Instrument, 2014 (C.l. 85).
    Background Information
    Article 45 (b) of the Constitution provides that, the Electoral Commission shall demarcate the electoral boundaries for both national and local government elections. Article 51 also provides that, the Electoral Commission shall, by constitutional instrument, make regulations for the effective performance of its functions under the Constitution or any other law and in particular, for the
    registration of voters, the conduct of public elections and referenda, including provision for voting by proxy.
    Pursuant to the afore-mentioned constitutional provisions as well as Section 2 of the Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 451), the Electoral Commission is mandated to conduct all public elections and referenda in the country.
    Consequently, the Distr ict Level Election Regulations, 2015 (C.l. 89) was presented to Parliament by the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills on behalf of the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda.
    The purpose of the District Level Elections Regulations, 2015 (C.l. 89), is pursuant to article 51 of the Constitution.
    The Committee met with the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan and the two Deputy Chairpersons of the Commission. The Committee on Local Government and Rural Development was represented by the Hon. Vice Chairman of the Committee, Nii Amasa Namoale. Officials from the Attorney- General's Department were also in attendance. The Committee is grateful to them for their attendance and input during the deliberations.
    The Committee observed that the Electoral Commission postponed the District Level Elections which was originally scheduled for October, 2014 to Tuesday, 3 March, 2015. Prior to this, the District Electoral Areas and Designation
    of Units Instrument, 2014 (C.l. 85) which was laid before Parliament on Friday, 21st November, 2014 was to come into force on Monday, 22nd December, 2014. However, ahead of the entry into force of C.I. 85, the Electoral Commission had opened nominations of candidates for the District Assembly or Unit Committee elections. The nominations were closed on Sunday, 21st December, 2014 a day before the Regulations came into force.
    The Committee further observed that, an aggrieved candidate for the District Level Elections, Benjamin Eyi Mensah, filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking, among others, a declaration that the opening and closing of the filing of nominations of candidates for District Assembly or Unit Committee Elections prior to the entry into force of the Regulations was unconstitutional.
    Subsequently, the Supreme Court unanimously held that, the opening and closing of the said nominations pending the entry into force of C. I. 85 on Monday, 22nd December, 2014 was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court insisted that by virtue of article 51 of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission is mandated to specifically make regulations for the District Level Elections.
    The Electoral Commission could therefore, not rely on the Public Elections Regulations, 2012 (C.l. 75) to conduct District Level Elections.
    The Committee noted that, following the Supreme Court decision, the Electoral Commission caused to be laid the District Level Elections Regulations, 2015 (C.l. 89) on Friday, 20th March, 2015.
    Under (C.l. 89), the Electoral areas specified in the District Electoral Areas and Designation of Units Instrument, 2014 (C.l. 85) constitute the electoral areas for the purposes of elections to the District Assembly for the district concerned. C.l. 89 also provides for the nominations of
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Any Seconder, Hon Ranking Member?
    Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Are you the Hon Ranking Member?
    Mr Chireh 1:35 p.m.
    I am the Deputy Ranking Member. My Hon Ranking Member left the Chamber and asked me to second the Motion, that is what I am doing.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Very well.
    Mr Chireh 1:35 p.m.
    First of all, I would urge all of you to support this Motion so that, the Instrument would be passed. But, it is important for us to look at what has been done. This Instrument now, clearly, creates Regulations for conduct of District Level Elections, as opposed to the past where they used the Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) regulating the General Elections to be modified to use any District Level Elections.
    That is why the Supreme Court said that there would be no specific Regulations regarding the elections at the District Level.
    Now that we have a separate C.I dealing with only District Level Elections, the matter is clear. What is also important is that, all the issues that were raised by the Supreme Court, we have followed. One thing that we would need to urge all the stakeholders and players that now that this has passed, the Electoral Commission (E. C.), working with the appropriate agencies, particularly, the

    Ministry of Local Government should conduct this elections as speedily as possible.

    As for the concern of all of us to have a vacuum, was a worrying factor to this House, this is because, there would be no Assembly Members or Assemblies in session to monitor what the District Assemblies or the District Chief Executive would be doing now. But fortunately, this has come to an end.

    A few days ago, some people told me that, some people were disqualified from contesting and among the people they said were teachers. I said no. The provision dealing with qualification is directly lifted from Act 462; the Local Government Act which provides for how people qualify to contest the District Level Elections and therefore, no professional group or specific group of persons have been disqualified. It was just lifted and put in the new C.I.

    If one is in the category that has been disqualified, as per the regulation now, that is different. No person as a group, and we urge as many people as possible to participate because that level of Government is very important. If we want this decentralisation to work, we would need people who can help in debate and shape the discussions at that level.

    Mr Speaker, I think what this House has done, by working closely with the E.C., should be a reminder to them to be more consultative and more agreeable to suggestions. This is because, in this whole issue, if the E.C. had engaged the appropriate people, I do not think that the loss we suffered as a country would have occurred.

    But that is past and we should leave the past behind us and go forward. We have all learnt lessons and these lessons would be useful to guide the future.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, I thought you had your day in the Supreme Court? Anyway, go ahead.
    Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu) 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the Committee for a good job done. However, I have noted at page five of the Report wherein, the Committee has provided the Schedule. From the records they have given to this House, they have stated:
    “Date of Laying of C.I. 89: 20th March 2015;
    Date of Gazette notification : 20th March 2015
    Entry into force : 10th June, 2015".
    Mr Speaker, now, the law, article 11 (7) (c) provides 1:35 p.m.
    (7)”Any Order, Rule or Regulation made by a person or authority under a power conferred by this Constitution or any other law shall --
    Mr Speaker, they have complied with (a), (b) and (c) and so, the (c) is what I am going to read:
    (c)“come into force at the expiration of twenty-one Sitting days after being so laid unless Parliament, before the expiration of the twenty- one days, annuls the Order, Rule or Regulation by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the Members of Parliament”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, your point is well made. Can we hear from the Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before I proceed—
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    I thought your point has been well made.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:45 p.m.
    No, Mr Speaker, this is my preliminary issue after that I will make my contribution.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    No, I want us to deal with this preliminary issue before we continue with anything else.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:45 p.m.
    Very well. I am grateful.
    Mr O. B. Amoah 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as the Hon Member read from the Constitution, it says, “twenty-one Sitting days” and the day on which the Instrument is laid is inclusive. This is because we would be Sitting on that day and when we Sit on days that Instruments are laid, we count those days. We went on break and came back and so per our counting, today, is the twenty-first day and it comes into force today which is after the “twenty- one Sitting days”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you through with your submission?
    Mr O. B. Amoah 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I overhead the Hon Majority Chief Whip say that, yesterday, was twenty-one days. I do not know how he counted it but we have a record that we keep on these things. Yesterday, 9th June, 2015, was the twentieth day and today being 10th June, 2015 is the twenty-first Sitting day and the Sitting days starts on the day it is laid in Parliament.
    Alhaji Muntaka 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we go by what my Hon Colleague, O. B. Amoah is saying, it had had four Sitting days before we went on recess, based on the way I counted.
    Mr Speaker, the House reconvened on the 12th May, 2015 and if we count from the day we came, taking out the one holiday that we had, today, gives us the twenty-second day. Maybe, Hon O. B. Amoah should just re-check. We have had only one holiday, which was the African Union (AU) Day. He should just count the days physically and he would see that, today, will be the twenty-second day.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, I think that the Hon Majority Chief Whip is right. The Paper was laid on 20th March, 2015, and we Sat on the 27th March, 2015 through to the 30th March 2015. If we count that number of days— If the date when we Sit is inclusive, then, it was four days before we rose. If we counted the number of days, from when we resumed and we added it to the earlier number of days that we had, today is the twenty-second day. So, it has come into force and we have satisfied the twenty- one Sitting days requirement.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the answer is in the Order Paper, for the eighteenth Sitting — Eighteen plus four is twenty- two, so I do not know why Hon Members are arguing about the Constitution. It has come into force.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Member, you can now continue with your submission.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I feel encouraged to proceed, having clarified the matter. I believe that what the Supreme Court told all of us was that, we should comply with the provisions of the Constitution, our own laws, so that we do what is right in the interest of Mother Ghana. Therefore, my expectation is that,
    the Electoral Commission in proceeding with their own programmes and activities for the District Assembly Elections, would give every candidate the opportunity to fill forms, participate and get the eventual election held.
    Mr Speaker, my worry is, sometimes, the Electoral Commission schedules Sunday, as part for the days of its activities. I am not saying that they cannot work on Sundays but I am only suggesting that, as much as possible, they should try and programme their activities such that it would be for working days.

    Mr Speaker, the bottom line is that, Saturdays and Sundays are non-working days, so I am only suggesting that, the Electoral Commission should take a cue and ensure that, it limits its activities to working days.

    Mr Speaker, again, of equal importance, is this issue of transfer of votes. I read somewhere that transfers are done forty- two days to an election. I do not remember the specific provision, but I recall reading it somewhere in their C.I.

    Mr Speaker, we are aware that recently, when the Electoral Commission started some registration exercise and same got truncated because they did not give sufficient notice to the political parties, they still went ahead with the transfer of votes. People were still transferring and they completed the transfer last week Tuesday. Now, if the law is that, one can only open the window for transfers, forty-
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:55 p.m.
    two days to an election and as the time they were doing transfers, there was no such pronouncement as to a specific date of an election in this country, then one is tempted to question the legality of that transfer exercise, of which same was completed last week Tuesday.
    Mr Speaker, it is very important. When we raise issues like this, we do not do so with personal interest; it is for the benefit of all of us. We are aware of the sensitive role of the Electoral Commission in our body politics and democracy. Therefore, if we sit unconcerned and pretend not to be interested and things go bad, it would affect all of us.
    Mr Speaker, once again, I am drawing the attention of the Electoral Commission to take note and find out whether really that forty-two days provision that they have in their regulation is still in force or same has been -- The lawyers should assist me -- It has been repealed.
    If that provision has not been repealed and we know that it is today that this law is coming into force and we know that after this law, the only immediate election is the District Assembly Elections, then I am afraid to say that whatever transfer exercise that took place had its own problems with our laws.
    Mr Speaker, to conclude, I believe that, other public bodies would take note. Sometimes, we get tempted into believing that, our courts could take policy decisions and come out with the decision when it is such that it is going to cost the nation. They would take a decision that would not really affect the State, but our courts have become very robust and they seem to have taken a position which supports the law that strictly, what is enshrined must be respected.

    Mr Cletus A. Avoka — rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Avoka 1:55 p.m.
    On a point order. Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, what the Hon Member is labouring on may be useful but not relevant. He is on a frolic of his own. We are talking about a Legislative Instrument (L.I.), so his contribution should be geared towards supporting the fact that we should allow it to come into effect at the expiry of twenty-one Sitting days or it should be annulled.
    But for the Hon Member to go on a circumlocution, giving a lecture in this august House about the E.C. and the rest of them is irrelevant; we have other things to do.
    If everybody has to get-up and talk about useful matters that are irrelevant for a particular purpose for which we are debating, then we cannot do any work in this House. So, with the greatest respect, I think he is clearly out of order and he should be brought to order so that we can do some work for the day. He is on a frolic, the industry is misdirected.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Member, I think that you would have to restrict yourself to relevant matters as we do not have time.
    Meanwhile, there is no provision for extended Sitting, so I am going to truncate the debate so that we can quickly go through this process. So, try to conclude.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, Hon Avoka is my senior at the Bar and I respect him. If he is raising an issue on a point of law and he is grounding same on relevance -- I may be young and I may be new but with the greatest respect, he should not create the impression as if he is attacking my personality.
    The relevance of what l am saying and I would want to re-echo; we are dealing with an Instrument which matures today. The E. C. has undertaken an exercise which is linked to this. I am only drawing our attention -- Why does he say that it is irrelevant?
    He did that yesterday --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, please, resume your seat.
    The point you made about the forty- two days rule and all of that have been well taken but you do not need to go on and on. You were repeating yourself. You were drawing the E.C.s attention to some provision which talks about the forty-two days rule. That is fine and well taken, but we want to relate ourselves to the Report before us.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I take a cue from you, but if it is his pleasure to go about things against me this way, I leave it to all to judge.
    Mr Speaker, I was only re-echoing the point? I would not belabour it I think that the point have been made.
    I thank you so much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    We will take the last contribution.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Minister for Roads and Highways (Alhaji Inusah Abdulai B. Fuseini) (NDC -- Tamale Central): The Chairman gave his position to the Hon Deputy Ranking Member.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor and to urge Hon Members to support the Motion to come into force so that we can put the matter of the District Assembly Elections behind us.
    Mr Speaker, we had to defer this matter because of the directives from the court and the fact that as a legislative organ of the State, we must be seen to be doing things in accordance with the law. But the Hon Member who just spoke raised a very important and germane issue. He was inviting you to pronounce on whether or not the twenty-one days was inclusive of the day the subsidiary legislation was laid.

    Dr A. A. Osei — rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:55 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague was not inviting Mr Speaker to rule. He was not. He did not generally understand it and he was seeking Mr Speaker's guidance; not his ruling. And the matter was solved in a way that we all found it. He was not inviting Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Very well.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Alhaji Fuseini 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he was inviting him and seeking his guidance in the matter.
    Mr Speaker, I am basically saying that whether it was for Mr Speaker's guidance or he was inviting him to rule, a solution was found to the problem.
    Mr Speaker, let me firmly establish that from the day the L. I was laid in this House, up to today that we are considering same is twenty-two days. So, we do not have the issue of whether it is matured or not.
    Mr Speaker, the second matter that he has raised -- It is important that we do not -- This is because we were almost thrown into a constitutional crisis and the Distr ict Assemblies had to be re- organised and re-ordered to run by a certain regime. As a body which is founded on law, we ought to be giving effect to these things.
    Mr Speaker --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Members, I direct that having regard to the nature of Business, that this House Sits beyond the stipulated time period.
    Alhaji Fuseini 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the second most important matter that he has raised -- I agree with him -- Is the matter of the forty-two days before elections.
    The directive that the Electoral Commission's attention is drawn to this matter is well placed, but it is not out of place. This is because, the Regulation says that transfers must be done within
    Alhaji Fuseini 1:55 p.m.

    forty-two days -- The elections are not done yet. The forty-two days is the time frame within which we can open and transfer. We are yet to do the elections. What the Electoral Commission should be guided to do, is to be able to fix the time so that they have forty-two days from the time they did the transfer up to the time of the election and that would reconcile the matter.

    Indeed, going forward Mr Speaker, even though the issue that he raised is mute, it is mute because we have so resolved it. But jurisprudentially and legally, I would invite him to take the public spiritedness that he characterised his first action in court for the court to pronounce whether or not twenty-one days include the day the subsidiary legislation was laid.

    So that, in future, we can always be against time; count and include. People might embark on a voyage of their own seeking to test the legal basis of our actions and throwing thereby, the whole process into jeopardy.

    So, it is important that -- I invite any other person to try -- Including myself - - To seek an interpretation whether “after” includes the day that the legislation was laid.

    In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I support the Motion on the floor and urge Hon Members to support it to pass because it is not an annulment. We are being recommended to pass the subsidiary legislation and let it come into force. I urge that all of us support it.

    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, I am sorry. We have had quite a lot of debate on this particular issue when the Electoral Commission truncated the
    duration and so on and so forth. So, I do not expect that we should continue on and on.
    I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Muntaka 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have been looking at the time. We just want to thank Hon Members but we are at your mercy.
    ADJOURNMENT 2:05 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 2.06 p.m. till Thursday, 11th June, 2015 at 10.00 a.m.