Hon Members, while the House was on the short break, I received Communication from His Excellency (H.E.) the President, and this is related to the absence from Ghana by His Excellency the President, though he has since returned. I will read the Communication to the House for the records.
Hon Members, there is another Communication from H.E the President, relating to nomination of Ministers, dated 17th January, 2017. SPACE FOR COMMUNICATION - PAGE 3 - 11.30 A.M. Referred to the Appointments Committee.
SPACE FOR ABSENCE FROM
Hon Members, item numbered 2; Formal Communication by the Hon Speaker.
Hon Members, the House resumes Sitting this morning after a short recess. The recess has enabled the House to complete some backroom work, albeit offering some of you a little respite to prepare for the arduous work ahead of us. I am thankful to the Almighty God for your safe return to the House. I convey a hearty welcome to you all. My prayer is that, the good Lord would continue to guide and bless us in our deliberations. As a newly inaugurated Parliament, this Meeting in particular, will be eventful. First, there will be an induction course for Hon Members on the ethos of Parliamentary Practice and Procedures and other topics within the polity of governance. The role of Parliaments today, including ours, goes beyond the traditional role of law making. Parliaments, the world over, have become more of a multi-functional institution. Nevertheless, Hon Members are expected to adequately deal with all matters brought before them with efficiency and despatch. There is the need for Hon Members, particularly the new ones, to therefore quickly work out to understand the concepts and working systems of Parliament, and also appreciate the rudiments of governance. This will afford them the opportunity to work efficiently within the parliamentary setting. The induction programme commences this weekend. The Hon Majority Leader will give the details to Hon Members in due course. I encourage Hon Members to take full advantage of the programme, by attending and making good use of the human and material resources that would be made available to Hon Members. Hon Members, while the benefits of the induction programme cannot be underestimated, it is worth acknowledging that it may not be adequate to equip Hon Members with all the knowledge and skills required to deal with the complexities of parliamentary work. I entreat Hon Members, especially the new ones, to please, make it a point to read all relevant documents, including Parliamentary Practice and Procedures on the Rules of the House and allied materials. I will also confer with the Leadership to ensure that sandwich programmes are organised very soon to make up for any lapses. Second, the House is expected to consider the vetting of Ministers nominated which is now ongoing and vigorously so. As you are aware, the House has received further nominees for appointment and I trust that we shall consider this expeditiously. Third, the Budget Statement and the Economic Policy of the Government for the 2017 Financial Year is also expected to be presented to the House for consideration and approval in early March, 2017. We should take note. Aside that, a number of Bills and Legislative Instruments are expected to be laid in the House. Fourth, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana will be in the House to deliver his Message on the State of the Nation, as enjoined by the Constitution. The aforementioned are not the exhaustive list of the Business to be transacted by the House. They are highlights, Hon Members. As repre- sentatives of the people, we trust that you would rise to the challenge and not renege on the pledge to this service. This must reflect in your commitment to the Business of the House. I therefore advise that, we as a House, eschew whatever practices that may not maximise the benefits expected of us. Accept once more, my hearty welcome. May the Almighty God bestow on you all, the wisdom and strength to carry out the work ahead. Thank you very much.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings and Official Report. We would commence with the Votes and Proceedings for Wednesday, 11th January, 2017. Hon Members, please, issues of names would now be dealt with at the Table Office. Yes, Hon Member? Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye: Mr Speaker, I, Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye of Odododiodioo, was present but I have been marked absent.
Thank you. Sorry, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I was present but was marked absent.
Thank you -- [Interruption] -- Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I was present on the said date. I have been marked absent.
I thank you. Any more corrections on page 7? Page 8 -- [Interruption] -- Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, sorry to take you back to page 7. I was present but I have been marked absent. Item numbered 1 on page 7.
Thank you, Hon Member. Page 8.
Mr Speaker, item numbered 12 on page 7; I, Anthony Effah was present in the House but I have been marked absent. May it be corrected, please?
Thank you. Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, may I take you back to item numbered 19 on page 7; I was present but I have been marked absent. Thank you.
Page 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 -- [Interruption] -- Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, following the submission made by the Hon Minority Leader on item numbered 7 on page 12, I recall that the Hon Majority Leader associated himself with the submission made and recounted various incidents of post-election violations that had been associated with past successive transitions. The Hon Majority Leader reiterated the call for law enforcement agencies to stop the recurrent and unfortunate pheno- menon. Mr Speaker, may I humbly request for the inclusion of this submission by the Hon Majority Leader in the records.
Mr Speaker, I think the request being made by the Hon Member is out of place. This is because, what he talked about would be adequately captured in the Official Report.
Mr Speaker, the submission by the Hon Minority Leader was supposed to be a Statement even though it did not really conform to our rules, but we agreed at the pre-Sitting meeting to have such a Statement made on the floor. Mr Speaker, if a Statement is made, it will stand in the name of the person who made the Statement. I think the difficulty for my Hon Colleague is how it has been captured as item numbered 7. If it is really recorded as a Statement, then it does not require the inclusion of the name of the person who supported it. Indeed, after the Statement had been made, the agreement was that, I was the only person to comment on it and the Speaker would bring it to a closure and that indeed was what happened. We are all still on the learning curve. So, Mr Speaker, I guess we can make progress.
The Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 11th January, 2017 as amended --
Mr Speaker, I have been on my feet. Page 12 (xxxv). The spelling of my constituency is “South Tongu” and not “South Tango” as captured here. So, it should be “South Tongu”; the Tongu is “T-o-n-g-u”.
Page 13 … 16 -- Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 11th January, 2017 as corrected is adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, Official Report of Saturday, 7th January, 2017. Any Corrections noted therein?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. In respect of the Official Report of 7th January, 2017, I have noticed in column 82 -- Mr Speaker, I am coming under Standing Order 34 --
Mr Speaker, column 82. [Pause] -- Mr Speaker, it is just a matter of caution, that we take very seriously -- [Interruption.] By the provisions of our Constitution, once the President is elected, like your goodself, together with the Vice President, they are all required by the 1992 Constitution to take an oath, which is a schedule to the Constitution and further borrowed as part of the Standing Orders of Parliament. Mr Speaker, I noticed in the official records that the President-elect then, and now President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was taken through the oath which was administered by no mean a person than the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana; Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood; and subsequently, the Vice President- elect, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. Mr Speaker, I come under paragraph 2 of column 82, just for the purpose of the record, that per our assessment of the visual recording, the President-elect substituted “wellbeing” for “welfare” and the Vice President-elect also substituted “in sovereign” for “sovereign”. These words mean a lot to us and we just want to state that there should be no haste in the assumption -- [Uproar]-- that once elected -- Like Mr Speaker, you took your oath here and you were calm. Mr Speaker, this is because the oath is part of the legal instrument that adds to the authority and mandate of that Office. For the President to substitute “wellbeing” for “welfare”, the framers of any dictionary that any of us have ever used, know that the two words do not mean the same --[Hear! Hear!] -- and we do not want to believe that he prefers to seek the “welfare” of Ghanaians instead of “wellbeing” of Ghanaians, as provided for in the Presidential Oath. Mr Speaker, in the Presidential Oath, I refer you to the second schedule of the Constitution --
Hon Minority Leader, we are dealing with the Official Report. Is this a true reflection of what transpired on the day in quo?
Mr Speaker, rightly so. If we were to insist, the Oath would have been printed and I would have insisted that -- Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minority Leader, I am glad you have advised yourself. Hon Majority Leader, do you want to --
Mr Speaker, it is just a matter I am drawing attention to, that elected officials must take the oath and its administering by the Chief Justice seriously and that those words matter. Therefore, if he says: “in sovereign”, this is a sovereign republic. If he says “welfare” instead of “wellbeing” -- So, but for the Hansard Department, we would have let it pass. But yes, it is true that an oath was administered. Tomorrow, we will insist that the oath is printed and the exact words are printed. I thought that there was no need for any haste or any rush. Mr Speaker, I so submit. Thank you.
Hon Minority Leader, a point of correction. You would not now go into the arena of argument and commentary. So, the matters relating to “not taking an oath seriously”, I would be glad if you would withdraw that.
Mr Speaker, you know I respect you and I will take your guidance. Mr Speaker, the oaths that were sworn, including your own, were sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution which include these words. [Interruption.] The words were not hasty. I have a difficulty with substituting “insovereign” with “sovereign” and “welfare” for “wellbeing” on the record. [Uproar]-- I am not saying --
Hon Minority Leader --
What do you want me to do, Mr Speaker?
Hon Minority Leader, globally, when we come to correct any proceedings whatsoever, wherever, we stick to the correction accordingly. Now, I said, you made commentary, and that is just what I want you -- whether somebody takes something seriously or not, these are matters of comments and you are not allowed to make comments.
Mr Speaker, I would refer you to Order 34(2). And with your indulgence, I beg to quote: “The Official Report, entitled Parliamentary Debates, containing the debates of each Sitting of the House which shall be as nearly as possible verbatim…” I am reporting that, in my assessment of the visual recording of the verbatim report, there were problems with the use of these words: One, in respect of the President substituting “welfare” for “wellbeing”, and the Vice President substituting “insovereign” for “sovereign”. I said that they need not have done that in haste. It is an appropriate legal instrument, very fundamental to the authority they will exercise. They will be exercising the authority in the name of a sovereign Republic --[Uproar] -- not in sovereign republic. They will be exercising and seeking the wellbeing of Ghanaians not their welfare. I so submit.
Mr Speaker, we are dealing with Correction of the Official Report. Indeed, what the Hon Minority Leader drew your attention to was the Official Report, column 82. Mr Speaker, he is totally out of order and I believe the House would forgive him; I believe the House should forgive him. Mr Speaker, we are dealing with print. We are not correcting visuals in this House. Mr Speaker, Order 34(1) should be read in tandem with Order 34(2), and he would understand the import of it. [Hear! Hear!] We are dealing with printed matter. Thank you very much.
Hon Minority Leader, I invite you to withdraw the expression that: “the President should take the oath seriously”.
Mr Speaker, I -- [Uproar.]
Mr Speaker, I substitute it with “He should take the exact words as they are in the Constitution and our Standing Orders” -- to the words. Thank you. Substituted accordingly.
Hon Minority Leader, I have not got your response to that simple matter. If I should make myself clearer, if it is something you wanted to say about what you said earlier, you could have gone ahead without a comment, much more, an unpalatable comment. [Uproar.]
Mr Speaker, I withdraw and substitute “not taking the words seriously” and that he should, next time, follow religiously the citation -- [Uproar] -- by Her Ladyship the Chief Justice in administering the oath to reflect what the Constitution provides for. It is accordingly substituted.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I believe that you have dealt with the very foundation of the point raised by the Hon Minority Leader in respect of the visual that he sought to correct. Mr Speaker, we deal with audios here. He has not referred to the audios; he talked about visuals. Mr Speaker, I would suggest to him that it was much in the same breath that this House did not concern itself with the statement by a former President when he came here and said, “ecominy” -- [Uproar] -- Which was not recorded.
Mr Speaker, “ecominy” did not find expression in this Chamber; it was not recorded.
Mr Speaker, ‘ecominy' was not recorded. So, respectfully, let us begin on a very good note. I believe we are capable of rising above this.
Hon Majority Leader, we shall not go into history, so that we shall economise the time of this House. [Uproar.] Hon Members, in the light of the apparent demand, we can always refer to a factual statement made by a person or authority, but when we make a comment thereon, we must make sure the comment does not lead anybody into trouble. A comment on a statement is different from the repetition or a reference to that statement without comment. So, take note. Is there any correction on the Official Report of Saturday, 7th January, 2017?
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, may I respectfully draw the attention of the House to the alphabetical list of Hon
Hon Member, where are you taking us? Are you taking us to the Votes and Proceedings?
Mr Speaker, I am referring to the Official Report. There is no page number, but I believe that should be page 3 if we should count the cover page. The Official Report of Saturday, 7th January, 2017.
Are you on the Official Report of Saturday, 7th January?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I believe that should be --
It is not what you believe, please. If you are not sure, kindly ask another Hon Member who can guide you into matters of columns.
I believe that should be column 1. [Interruptions.]
Order! Hon Member, which column do you refer to? Please, ask someone else who knows to guide you.
Mr Speaker, I believe that is column 1.
Proceed. What is the problem with column 1?
Mr Speaker, it is the alphabetical list of Members of Parliament who were returned at General Election, 7th December, 2017. I have observed with dismay that my name is not in the list. My name is Alexander Kwadwo Kom Abban. Alphabetically, my name should be numbered one but it is nowhere found in the list.
Thank you. The Table Office would take note accordingly. The Official Report of Saturday, 7th January, 2017 as corrected is hereby adopted. Hon Members, the Official Report of Tuesday, 10th January, 2017; is there any correction? Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the issue raised by the Hon Member for Gomoa West is very relevant. And it is so, because there are supposed to be two hundred and seventy-five Hon Members in Parliament. Clearly, his own name is absent from that. It neither finds expression where “Abban” is, nor does it find expression at the “K” column. That then would mean that the total number, which is two hundred and seventy-five, as captured is wrong. If it is not wrong, it would then mean that a name has been inserted here, which otherwise should not belong here. So, we should look at it very well. I believe the Clerk-at-the-Table would look at it. If indeed, the number totals two hundred and seventy-five, it means a name has been included which otherwise should not be here. They should just look at that one as well.
The Table Office would check accordingly. Let us move to the Official Report of Tuesday, 10th January, 2017. [Interruptions.] Those details would be sorted out by the Table Office, so, let us move on to the correction of the Official Report of Tuesday, 10th January thereon. Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Official Report of Tuesday, 10thJanuary, column 142, third paragraph, line 6, “Majority and 47.7272” should read “Majority and 44.7272”.
39” the phrase “per cent” should not appear. It should be deleted. It is ratio and not percentage. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much. The Table Office would take note of that.
Mr Speaker, I would have to take the House back to the Official Report of 7th January, 2017. On page iv, because I am from the Volta Region, I do not know whether it is a typographical error, but the Electoral Commission thought I am a National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament [Laughter.] And so, they put NDC against my name.
It is noted.
Mr Speaker, I also have the same problem. In the “M” column, against the name Isaac Adjei Mensah, New Patriotic Party (NPP) is substituted for NDC. I am from the Western Region, so, I have NPP against my name. 12. 20 p.m.
Any further corrections? Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
On a point of Order
Any further correction?
Mr Speaker, in the Official Report of Saturday, 7th January, 2017, I realised that my title, Dr has been --
Hon Member, let us make progress. You may see the Table Office for any clerical or other matters.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, Official Report of Tuesday, 10th January, 2017.
Hon Member, which paragraph -- [Laughter.] Hon Member, take a cue. Which paragraph?
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 10th January, 2017.]
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would want to take the House back to the Official Report of Tuesday, the 10th of January.
Hon Member, you should take a cue. We are not going back.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, the Deputy Minority Leader made a correction --
Hon Minority Leader, I have no doubt that you would want to advise the Hon Member accordingly.
Official Report of Wednesday, 11th January, 2017.
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 11 th January, 2017.]
Hon Members, we would definitely ask Hon Members of this Honourable House not to give the impression that we do not read our documents before coming and that we notice certain mistakes and errors suddenly. I believe if we advise ourselves that way, it would help the work of this Honourable House. Thank you. Hon Members, we would jump item numbered 4 on the Order Paper for now and move to item numbered 5. At the Commencement of Public Business -- Presentation of Papers. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, the second Report of the Committee on Selection on the Composition of the other Standing and Select Committees is not ready yet. I hope we would be able to lay it tomorrow. So, you may skip it and go to item numbered 5 (b).
Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Majority Leader. I believe that the consultations and the processes by the Whips are almost at an end where they can be submitted to Leadership. So, we can defer that to tomorrow. Thank you.
Hon Majority Leader, any guidance?
Mr Speaker, in the circumstance, I believe we can take item numbered 5(b). I am informed it is ready.
Mr Speaker, Leadership is about concluding the two Reports on the constitution of the membership of the Pan-African Parliament and that of the membership of the ECOWAS Parliament. Mr Speaker, it is anticipated that the two Reports would be ready tomorrow. So, we can take them tomorrow for which reason I would plead that, we defer the laying of those two Reports.
Mr Speaker, we could defer the two Reports till tomorrow, subject to us working to make sure that it is done tomorrow for them to commence work.
Hon Member s, we would go back to Statements. I have admitted a Statement by Hon Ras Mubarak, Member of Parliament for Kumbungu on the use of live ammunition in crowd control by the Police.
Mr Speaker, in December last year, one of my constituents, Ganiu Abdul Rahman, a nineteen-year old student, was returning home from a class when he was hit in the leg by a stray bullet, fired by the police in his community in Dalun, during a standoff between the Police and some youth of Dalun. The young man was admitted at the Tamale West Hospital where he is receiving treatment. I have been to the hospital to see the extent of his injury and commiserated with his family. Mr Speaker, we have seen and read reports about the use of live ammunition by the police during riot control. Such brutal use of force, have in other cases, resulted not just in severe injuries like that of my constituent, but in the loss of lives. Mr. Speaker, the shooting of Ganiu, and several other innocent Ghanaians by the Police during riot control situations bring to the fore the debate about the use of live bullets or ammunition. Mr Speaker, I believe the whole House will join me in expressing revulsion at the use of live ammunition to disperse crowds during riots/demonstrations; and one, to call on the Police Administration to institute an inquiry into the matter; second, make public its findings; third, take up the full medical bills of the victim; four, provide adequate compensation to the victims and five, put in place stringent measures to ensure that incidents like that do not recur.
Mr Speaker, I would like to add my voice to what my Hon Colleagues have just said, and I believe it is not only the reserve of Ganiu Abdul Rahman.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement for having made a very critical Statement. It is a fact that most of the times, we hear of the reckless use of firearms by some personnel of the Ghana Police Service, and it is obvious that, if the police have been well trained, we would not have such situations. It is in this direction that it is very crucial the authorities of the Ghana Police Service would ensure that they give the necessary training to their men and women, so that in situations of crowd control, we would not have cases of reckless warning shots -- situations that would lead to what has been painted by the Hon Member for Kumbungu, who made the Statement. Mr Speaker, we have had several situations in this country, not only what happened in his constituency or what the Hon Member on the other side of the House talked about, but even to the extent that guns are now in the hands of people who ought not to have them. Recently, we got a report on how a young man who was a student of Achimota School, wanting to display and prove to a colleague student in his home that his father owned a firearm, accidentally shot the young lady. Mr Speaker, we also have situations where landguards are in the possession of firearms, some unregistered, and these are used to create lawlessness in this country often times. Mr Speaker, not too long ago, after the very peaceful elections that we had in this country, reports abound that rampaging young men, excited about a victorious electoral process, were moving round the country, wielding guns and all kinds of weapons, creating mayhem in this country and in the process, people got injured, some close to the peril of their lives. Mr Speaker, as much as we are worried about the Security Services' reckless use of firearms, we must also be very concerned about a growing trend which is very dangerous, where people who are not supposed to be in possession of firearms, have them in abundance. Threrfore, as we admonish the Security Services, especially the Ghana Police Service, we must also ensure as a House of Legislature that --
Again, Mr Speaker, on the issue of relevance, the Statement that has been made by the Hon Member has no correlation with what the Hon Member for Keta talks about. So, we should stick to relevance, and again stick to Standing Order 70 of our Rules which require that, when Hon Members are making comments on Statements on the floor, we should keep out all issues or matters that can provoke debate. So, Mr Speaker, I request that he withdraws that portion and continue to make comments on the Statement..
Hon Members, a Statement made on the floor and subsequent comments must strictly relate to the facts thereof and they must also not be designed to provoke debates. Therefore, let Hon Members be guided accordingly. Hon Member, you may continue.
Mr Speaker, thank you so much. I thank the Hon Deputy Majority Leader for --
Hon Member, you would not respond to that which I have made a direction on. So, go on and make a comment in such a manner that would not provoke debates.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, further to the issue that was raised in relation to firearms -- it becomes pertinent that we look at it from a holistic perspective, where firearms would not become a danger to the lives of the people of Ghana. The Hon Member who made the Statement has indicated that, indeed, there is the need for the Police Administration or authorities to actually put in place the necessary measures to ensure that their men do not recklessly use firearms which would lead to loss of lives of members of our Ghanaian society. Mr Speaker, in the same vein, it would also be very pertinent, crucial and important that we extend the same argument to the use of firearms by any individual in this country, as long as that threatens the life of any individual or any member of our society or community. Mr Speaker, it is in this light that I say it is becoming very worrying and disturbing, that all manner of people now have in their possession firearms that are recklessly used, and that leads to the unfortunate loss of lives of other individuals. Mr Speaker, I would crave the indulgence of this Honourable House, that we ensure that necessary measures and efforts that ought to be made are made to ensure that people who do not need to possess firearms do not have them in their possession.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement made by Hon Ras Mubarak. Mr Speaker, save to say that, in my practice as a lawyer, what I have come across among the Police in particular, is that, they have certain operational phrases and clauses that they use and that led to what my Hon Brother's constituent has found itself in. For example, they have what they call the ‘application of minimal force' and they also have what they call -- ‘when your life is in great danger, then you would need to take certain remedial actions'. Mr Speaker, what constitutes “minimum force” and what constitutes “life being in great danger” are subjective. In this particular respect, in the light of what my Hon Brother has stated, if you have such a situation, where perhaps the Police defence would be that their lives were in great danger and they had to act in a certain manner to avert it, then they could try to justify it. Mr Speaker, if as a House, we put in place measures, as my Hon Brother indicated, to assist to avert these things, then the better for us. This is because in the case of the Statement, it was an injury but I have had occasions a number of times, when lives had been lost due to -- sometimes, over zealous and reckless conduct of certain Police persons. Mr Speaker, in associating myself with the Statement, we ought to also situate it in the context of the rules of engagement of the Police and the public. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, it is not for nothing that this House is recognised as a House of records. Indeed, every Statement that is made on the floor of this House is captured in the Hansard and other relevant documents of this House. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, a while ago, sought to correct what she called -- a wrong perception. Mr Speaker, I hold in my hand Standing Order 70 --
Hon Member, your Hon Leader would advise you that at this stage you are out of order in making reference to a statement that had long been ruled on. Hon Deputy Minority Leader, I recognise you.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, the reference to the Hon Deputy Majority Leader at a point when she had long made her point, and which I had made a direction on by reference to the appropriate order, does not allow that matter to be revisited. Could we make any other contribution to the Statement?
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Order! Hon Member, you would refer to the Statement which is the subject matter on the floor of the House and make your contribution.
Mr Speaker, thank you. I support the Statement made by Hon Ras Mubarak. In fact, in recent times, you would realise that most demonstrations are normally escorted by the Police. Unfortunately, most of the Police officers are given guns and I do not see why. This is because Police officers are supposed to be friends and very sociable to demonstrators. Mr Speaker, but these days, people are given live bullets instead of rubber bullets, and instead of using water guns to disperse people, they rather use live bullets. Instead of shooting in the air, they rather aim at human beings. We are still on the learning curve. So, it is very important that the Police are given very good education on such things. In fact, such things are happening and like an Hon Member said, we have people who are not within the Police fraternity but move around wielding pistols; and this is very dangerous to our society today. Mr Speaker, what is happening in other countries in West Africa -- today, we have the Boko Harams of Nigeria and we have others in Kenya. It is because of these kinds of things where pistols and other guns are given to young boys to go round frightening people. But I believe that, with what is happening -- I would call on the Hon Minister-designate for The Interior -- when he takes office, this is something that he would have to work on seriously. And to caution and entreat the people to surrender their guns willingly.That would save this society. Otherwise, the way this country is going, it would not be good for us. It is very important. Unfortunately, our brother was shot. I am sure that by now, he is doing well, and is walking, but that is dangerous for us, and so, I associate myself with the Statement on the floor. But at least, the Police must also bring the officer to book. I do not understand why the Police should give police officers live ammunition to escort people. After all, they are neither going to fight nor going to war. So, they should have been given rubber bullets and be escorted by the Trojans and water cannons. Mr Speaker, on this note, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Statement on the floor. [Interruptions] --
Mr Speaker, I associate myself completely with the Statement made by the Hon Ras Mubarak. I wish to further add that, this House may direct the Police to stick strictly to their operational manuals and guidelines for crack control, so that when they stick to such guidelines, some of these unfortunate incidents which in most cases lead to fatalities, may be reduced. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I think we have to be cautious of the matter being raised here. Inappropriate use of ammunition by unqualified persons is a matter of concern, but the one on issue here is the use of ammunition or weapons by qualified persons, in an indiscriminate manner or in a manner that is unprofessional. Mr Speaker, I actually share the concern of the Hon Member. Why do we have repeated cases of officers within our Security Services, harming civilians sometimes, without much reason or bases? One of the reasons this keeps on recurring is that, when we have such issues, we end up having the same security force being asked to investigate the issue. How can a body that is perceived to be going in a way that is harmful to civilians sit on their own cases and be judges of the same matter? I remember that some few months ago, we had a senior police officer, who was allegedly involved in this scandal or scheme, concerning the recruitment of officers. He was interdicted by the Police Administration and phrases like “house arrest” were used. What has happened to that matter? I believe that going forward, the way to make sure that such things do not happen, is to have an agency, perhaps, under the Ministry of the Interior, constructed with the support of appropriate legislation, to make sure that civilians and members of the society, who are not necessarily police officers or soldiers or security men, sit on matters like this that are raised, to give ruling or recommendations. That would be seen as very objective and not tainted because of the affiliation to a security service like the Ghana Police Service. Second, this is so crucial because people are losing faith in the Police for reasons like this. This is because when something like this happens to a person's relative and they go and report, the matter goes through the same Service, and at the end of the day, whatever comes from the Ghana Police Service, is nothing to write home about. So, we must look at an agency, which will be constituted of not only police officers, but also civilians, such as the clergy, organised labour, and all of that, so that when a policeman is engaged in an act, which is seen as unprofessional, he will know that he is not going to be investigated by his own kind, who will be soft with him. But he will meet people who will be objective, and make sure that justice is done, so that civilians would feel protected in their own country. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, I will call on Hon Dery, and we shall have the last two contributions. Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Yes, Hon Member for Bantama?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to associate myself with the Statement on the floor. We are speaking as if the Police themselves are not afraid of the guns they hold. During our campaign in the Bantama Consti- tuency, I was approached by a policeman, who asked me, saying: “as you go to Parliament, I need you to tell the House that we the policemen are afraid of using real arms.” This is because, sometimes, when they are over powered by armed robbers, it means they would have to deal with it. So, I believe this is an important Statement and an issue of national interest, that should be looked at, because even the policemen, who seemed to be accused in this House, are afraid themselves. Thank you.
Yes, Hon Member for Pusiga. I cannot ignore the presence of the female Hon Member standing.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I rise to support the maker of the Statement and to associate myself wholly with that Statement.
Fortunately, on our part, listening to the Statement, the victim was a victim of circumstance. He was not even part of the rioting. This is because from the Statement, he is a student, who was only passing by when the incident occurred, and that is very unfortunate. I wish him speedy recovery. Listening to the Statement, what I would want to know is, was it a stray bullet and was it targeted at somebody? If so, how serious was the riot, such that a policeman could target somebody and unfortunately, miss his target only for another person to be affected? If the shot was meant to scare the crowd, then I believe it should not have been targeted; it should have been fired in the air where most probably, nobody would have been hurt. Mr Speaker, one of us has just mentioned that some of them are just excesses. It is a fact. This is true because, sometimes, the crowd could be over- whelming and even go to the extent of attacking the police. In that case, if unfortunately, the policeman who is being attacked is not careful, he could take an action that could result in what we have just heard. Mr Speaker, whoever is put in charge of our security services should be given the needed equipment which they can use to disperse crowd yet make sure that we do not have such excesses. Otherwise, we would continue to have excesses and at the same time lose lives which are not retrievable and that would be very bad for us. However, I wish to support the notion that the security services should take the full cost for treatment of the student who has been affected. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Thank you very much, Hon Members. This brings us to the end of Statements. Indeed, this is a very important Statement contributed to by --
Yes, Deputy Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I was waiting for you to probably find out if the Leadership has contributions before -- I wanted to contribute to the Statement.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you may continue.
Mr Speaker, first of all, I would thank the Hon Member who made the Statement on this shooting incidence. In fact, contributions from the floor indicate clearly that Hon Members are of the view that the Police who are to protect and maintain peace in our country, do their best in protecting the citizens of this country. Mr Speaker, what the Hon Member who made the Statement wants the House to do is to ask the Police Administration to investigate the incident and probably compensate the people who were involved. But Mr Speaker, the question is, who will conduct the investigation? It is going to be the same Police Administration that is going to conduct the investigation. I agree with the Hon Member who said that there must be a body set up to carefully investigate things of this nature, because if the Police are going to be the same people going to do this investigation, probably it would end up with results which would not capture what exactly happened.
Mr Speaker, having listened to the contributions of Hon Colleagues, I only have a few words to add. Mr Speaker, the public has a right to protest against government policy; they have a right to protest against programmes and indeed, the siting of projects. Mr Speaker, pursuant to the concept of decentralisation in our democratic governance, issues that concern local people should be determined by themselves. So, if government does not factor the concerns of the local communities before siting projects or introducing programmes, the public have the right to protest. Mr Speaker, I also believe that the Police in these instances could also be trusted to conduct a thorough internal investigation in order to sanitise the structures within the Ghana Police Service. Mr Speaker, Parliament, as an arm of Government, is charged with performing oversight responsibilities over the other arms of Government. Yet, Parliament is also supposed to oversee itself. If it is possible for Parliament to oversee itself, it should be possible for the Police to also do serious introspection and do internal cleansing, if anyone of them falls foul of the law. Mr Speaker, I also agree with the Hon Minister-designate for the Interior that while we lament the recklessness of a few among the Ghana Police Service, we should also go to the heart of it, considering the issue about adequate training and the provision of adequate equipment and logistics for them to be able to perform their functions.
Mr Speaker, at every budget hearing, we lament the paucity of resources that are allocated to the Ghana Police Service. We should rise in unison on this occasion to defend the Police in the performance of their functions. Some of them fall foul of what is expected of them and others are sometimes even identified as armed robbers. Certainly, as a human institution, we would find a few among them who perhaps, may become over zealous and do things that are otherwise not permitted by the Ghana Police Service. I believe our concerns should be to task the Service to act promptly wherever such events occur. Mr Speaker, while we are at it, I believe that, as citizens, we are not left to rot in such events. The Constitution provides adequate resorts and recourses.At least, the Constitution in article 218 puts this charge in the hands of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). Mr Speaker, so, article 218 (a) and (c) will show us what to do as citizens in the event of such occurrences. So, we are not left to rot in the ledge. Let us avail ourselves of these we call social provisions to test the law. And I believe the Police would sit up. But the bottom line is that, we should also provide them with enough logistics and enough resources, in order for them to be able to offer proper training to the Ghana Police Service. Mr Speaker, while we are at this, I believe it is imperative we also put it on record that the Ghana Police Service should be allowed to do what is otherwise expected of them. Every now and then, we have injection of some political considerations even in the recruitment and we pretend as ostriches not to know what is happening. Political parties want to influence the recruitment, chiefs want to influence the recruitment instead of leaving the Ghana Police Service itself to do its own recruitment. Ethnic heads would want to find their own people there. The Constitution is clear, so, let us allow them to do their own function and I guess we would have little to lament about in these instances and the law would take its place and deal decisively with the errant ones. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader. Indeed, this is an important Statement to which both sides of the House have contributed very dispassionately. We should for now develop an approach whereby Parliament would not just make Statements but there would be follow-up systems and mechanisms to ensure compliance with the law. I will therefore, refer this matter to the Committee responsible for the Interior, together with Leadership, to examine the matter and consider it and the appropriate communication made to the appropriate quarters for maximum effect to avoid the mischief that Hon Members are so much concerned with. Thank you very much. Hon Majority Leader, any further indications at this stage?
Mr Speaker, I believe we have about exhausted the agenda slated for today, except the joint Caucus meeting, and I would, at this juncture, pray that we adjourn the Sitting of the House and allow for the meeting of the joint Caucus. In the circumstance, Mr Speaker, I would want to hereby move that this House adjourns until tomorrow at 10.00 in the forenoon.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.14 p. m. till Wednesday, 25th January, 2017 at 10.00 a.m.