REMARKS DELIVERED BY HE JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA
AT THE CLOSING CEREMONY OF A MINORITY CAUCUS WORKSHOP AT THE VOLTA SERENE HOTEL- SUNDAY 17TH JULY 2022.
My brother the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu Leadership of the Minority Caucus
Members of the Caucus
Ladies and gentlemen
It is a real pleasure to join you at the end of what I believe has been an a very useful workshop to sharpen your skills and boost your repertoire of knowledge as Parliamentarians.
Though many, including my good self, have gone through this path you find yourselves as MPs, the composition of the 8th Parliament under the Fourth Republic, places you at the centre of history. It has also brought in its wake, a unique responsibility and burden of expectation never witnessed.
The people of Ghana, in their own wisdom, have decided to produce a hung Parliament in which none of the two major parties who have dominated the house in the recent past, have a clear advantage. As the Rt. Hon. Speaker ruled at the inception of this Parliament, there is no Majority or Minority side. What we rather have is a Majority group and a Minority group.
We in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) maintain that, but for the abuse and misuse of security goons with the connivance of the Electoral Commission to overturn the true outcome of the 2020 elections, we would have secured a clear majority in Parliament.
This unprecedented Parliamentary outlook reflects years of criticism and demands by our people for a strong and assertive legislative arm of government that is truly independent of the excessively powerful Executive. It also reflects a desire for greater scrutiny of the Executive and more efficient exercise of your oversight functions, especially for those of you in the Minority group.
From the very first day therefore, your work was cut out for you. On the evidence of what we have seen so far, you have done what is within your power to shield Ghanaians against some draconian and very poor policy proposals of the Akufo-Addo government.
You have stood firmly and pushed back against blatant abuse of Parliamentary rules and standing orders.
Deploying unorthodox methods on some occasions, you have held a marauding government, that has viewed itself as invincible and that treats Ghanaians with contempt, at bay and prevented them, as far as possible, from ramming very unpopular policies down the throats of our people.
As you have done this, the Akufo-Addo administration has intensified its efforts to whittle down your numbers. It has not shied away from using bizarre judicial processes to achieve this objective. A case in point is how our MP for Assin South remains an MP yet is barred from performing his functions in Parliament.
This has unjustifiably and inexplicably denied the people of Assin South, representation in Parliament at a time when other constituencies where legal disputes have arisen over the Parliamentary elections of 2020 have their MPs discharging their duties until the determination of the substantive maters brought against them.
They have also sought to use malicious prosecutions against some of you as a way of intimidating you into silence and docility. These tactics have not diminished your resolve and you continue to remain resolute. That said, a lot is still expected from you as a Minority group in Parliament.
Given the way state agencies including some arms of government pander to the will of the Akufo-Addo administration and are prepared to undermine the rules and long-established principles to do their bidding, you remain perhaps the last true bulwark between the long- suffering people of this country and total misrule.
You have become the immediate hope of a people who labour under irresponsible governance and abuse of office. There is the need therefore to meet this expectation by injecting further impetus into your work by keeping an even keener eye on the activities of the Executive.
The scrutiny that you are required to do on behalf of the people who elected you also extends to all state institutions. The framers of the 1992 constitution intended that a number of these institutions complement the efforts of the Legislature at ensuring good governance.
The style of this administration has been to subjugate and dominate these institutions for parochial and partisan gain. These institutions have thus become pliant tools for the furtherance of the political ends of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and President Akufo-Addo..
One such institution is the Electoral Commission, which instead of making it easy for our citizens to take part in elections, rather takes delight in making it difficult. They appear determined to ensure the disenfranchisement of sections of our population at all costs through a misguided insistence on the use of the Ghana card as the only source of identification for a voter card.
How do you do this, knowing that the Ghana Card is not available to everyone who should have one?