Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu has made a passionate appeal to Speaker Aaron Michael Oquaye and Parliament to protect its systems and institutions in the light of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The House, he said, like other institutions should take all the necessary precautions to protect members and provide leadership to flatten the curve and break the tide of the Coronavirus.
According to him, it is imperative for members of the House to also reduce social contact in line with the directives to reduce or avoid large gatherings.
He cautioned that the Minority would therefore not support additional sitting on Saturday as announced by the Majority leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
Parliament, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu stressed, should be seen to be respecting the President’s directive on gatherings as an institution and as individual members.
The Minority Leader who is also the MP for Tamale South made the call on Friday after the Majority Leader read the Business Statement for this week, which indicated the House will sit on Saturday 28th March 2020.
His side, he said, has no difficulty accepting the addition of Monday to the normal sitting days but warned for coming Saturday he cannot assure the Minority’s cooperation.
“Good grounds for health reasons we cannot add the Saturdays. It is not for the Majority leader to bring business late and expect that members will work late, get tired and break down our immune systems.
“Mr. Speaker, you have kept fate with the time. It is time for leadership and members to follow your example,” the Minority Leader stated.
He argued that Ministers who have business with the House must demonstrate diligence in their duties.
“You dont wait one week to rising then you rush to do second reading and expect that we proceed further to do consideration.
“That is why per our rules the Majority leader should engage Ministers prior to the opening of sessions to provide a calendar of what he considers priority to government,” Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu reiterated.
He stressed that the executive cannot bring business at any time and expect the legislature to comply.
In response to Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Majority Leader Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted that the decision has already been taken.
The House, he said, has adopted the recommendation of the Business Committee and therefore the matter of next Saturday’s sitting is settled.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who is also the MP for Suame argued if members are not happy and wish to be overturned the decision of the House, they must come by way of a motion of recession.
He said, “if a decision has been taken by the House and a member desires that the decision be overturned, that person may have to come with a motion of rescission.”
“And it cannot just be taken now, because it is not that simplistic.”