VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings. Page 1, 2 --
Mr Speaker, my name is on page 2 of the Votes and Proceedings, number 31. The name “Afriye” has been wrongly spelt as A-F- R-I-Y-I-E. I would humbly want to reiterate that my name is spelt as A-F-R-I-Y-E. More often than not, they think I do not know how to spell my name but I do. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Pages 3, 4, 5--
Mr Speaker, with regard to item numbered 159 on page 5, the name; “Marfo Emmanuel” should have a doctoral title attached.
Page 8…10 --
Mr Speaker, I would want to draw your attention to one issue. We have two different Votes and Proceedings.One is dated Wednesday, 24th January, 2017 and the other is dated Tuesday, 24th January, 2017. Mr Speaker, please, I would want to seek your guidance on that.
Hon Member, for the avoidance of doubt, we are working on the one dated Tuesday, 24th January, 2017. Page 8…10 --
Page 11…12 [Pause.] Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 24th January, 2017 as corrected are hereby adopted as a true record of proceedings. Hon Majority Leader, is there any indication regarding the Order of Business?
Mr Speaker, I come under Standing Order 53 (2), which provides and with your permission, I beg to quote: “By leave of Mr Speaker the Order of Business set out in the Order Paper may be altered on any particular day.” Mr Speaker, I would want to seek your leave to alter the Order of Business set out on today's Order Paper. Mr Speaker, I so move. Mr Speaker, by way of providing further clarification, I would want to seek refuge under Standing Order 78 (k), which also provides, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “any motion the urgency of which is admitted by Mr Speaker.” Mr Speaker, we have had discussions on this and you have approved of this Motion to be moved without notice. I believe I have the concurrence of my Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader.
Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip?
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I guess this intervention is in application to truncate the process. Mr Speaker, the application I submitted has not even been seconded yet. Once it is seconded --
Hon Majority Leader, if you would provide a justification in making your application, we shall all move on with dispatch.
Mr Speaker, I would do so, but I would like to listen to the Hon Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker, consequently, there was no need for a Motion; there was no need for anybody to engage in an effort to second it. As the Hon Chairman of the Business Committee, he only needed to justify before you why he would want to vary the Order of Business, and at your pleasure, you grant it. So, there is nothing more. There is no need for a Motion. He is to seek your leave and once you grant it, he can proceed with how he would want business to be conducted.
Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Minority Leader for this application to provide elucidation on the Motion that I moved. Mr Speaker, any proposal to this House should come in the form of a Motion. Mr Speaker, I would define what a Motion is required to do. Standing Order 7, if we may apply ourselves to that, states that: “In these Orders, unless the context otherwise requires --” Motion means, and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“Motion” means a proposal made by a Member that Parliament or a Committee thereof do something, order something to be done, or express an opinion concerning some matter.” Mr Speaker, I am an Hon Member of Parliament and I make this request that Parliament does something, or order something to be done. Mr Speaker, I must come by a Motion. We have not been doing this, but ordinarily, that is how it should be done. I made the application and as you said, I came by a Motion. Mr Speaker, the reason is that, on the original Order Paper, we have a place for the Report of Leadership on the constitution of the membership of the Pan- African Parliament, and item numbered 4 (b) (ii) on the Order Paper is the Report of Leadership on the constitution of the membership of the ECOWAS Parliament. Mr Speaker, we need to lay the Report first before it could be distributed. I know the Order of Business, and I know Mr Speaker has admitted a Statement. If a Statement is read and we enter the arena of Public Business, there would be scant time for Members to peruse the Report, which is why I applied that we do the laying first, to allow for the Statement to be made and interregnum, Members could apprise themselves of the content of it so that they could then adopt or decide not to adopt the Report. Mr Speaker, that is the reason for the application I am submitting to you.
Hon Minority Leader, a justification has been made.
Mr Speaker, we have no objection to the substance of why he wants to seek your leave and that of the House. With respect, our problem is, if the Hon Majority Leader says he wants to come by a Motion to seek your leave, then we would insist that in granting that leave, you put the Motion to Question, and that would not facilitate the work of this House. Therefore, he should be discouraged from encouraging you to walk that path — [Laughter] — We therefore have no objection to what he wants to do. We would want the business to be done. As we have noted, we have some urgency and efficiency attached to what you are doing. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member can proceed upon the principal issues, but he should be accommodating that it is not every matter on the Standing Orders that the Hon Majority Leader would win — [Laughter] — He must begin accommodating that he would not get it right sometimes. Mr Speaker, I have no objection.
Hon Members, in fact, if we look at Standing Order 53 (2), and I quote: “By leave of Mr Speaker the Order of Business set out in the Order Paper may be altered on any particular day.” A formal Motion is formally seconded, then the decision comes from the House when it is voted on. Such an application, I believe, can simply be made and I will allow the application to proceed. By that, I hereby order that we alter the order of proceedings accordingly for the Hon Majority Leader to make the Motion.
The Rt Hon Speaker invites me to make the Motion, which is what I have done.
Sorry, to lay the Paper.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I do not think that we have to eternally litigate this matter, but I know that in other jurisdictions, applications come before the House either by way of a Motion or a petition. Nothing is left to chance. Mr Speaker, however, by our own conventions and practices, we have decided to be silent on the issue of Motions. I will not litigate it. Once it comes from the Chair, I will bow to the Chair.
Hon Member, are you making the application?
Mr Speaker, yes, and I am seeking your leave to alter the Order of Business as set out on the Order Paper for today, Wednesday, 25th January, 2017, before the Commencement of Public Business, to let us have the two Papers itemised 4 (b) (i) and (ii) to be laid now.
Hon Members, the Reports are laid and they are for distribution.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to a very good Statement made by Hon Afenyo-Markin. Mr Speaker, the decision by ECOWAS to provide troops to maintain peace in The Gambia is in the right direction. Historically, Ghana has been a very responsible member of the international community that contributed troops in peacekeeping across the globe -- whether in Lebanon, Sudan, Mali or every other place -- we have been there. Mr Speaker, the reason this particular deployment was very important and critical is that, many of the times that our troops went round the world and participated in trying to make peace, for example, those countries were already in trouble. This particular situation in The Gambia was a bit different. Mr Speaker, if you would remember, when we went to Lebanon, Liberia and all the other countries to keep peace, we had situations that were making people lose their lives and properties. I was very happy that the ECOWAS troops did not go to The Gambia to initiate war. The reason I am saying this is that, as of the time we were hearing issues about ECOWAS troops going into The Gambia, The Gambians were already living in peace. The presence of ECOWAS troops, if they had gone farther than what they were supposed to do, according to the last ECOWAS Resolution, was rather going to initiate war. Some of us were horrified about that, but thank God, they did not go to do that. Dr Anthony A. Osei — rose --
Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
Mr Speaker, I am rising on a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Statement made by my Hon good Friend, if he does not retract it, may lead people to think that ECOWAS troops initiate wars. They are peacekeepers, they do not initiate wars and so, you would not want to give the impression that ECOWAS troops go to initiate wars. It is incorrect and I think he should retract it.
Mr Speaker, I am very much aware that the Statement and the subsequent comments could initiate debate. I do not think I said anything here --
I said that a commentary leading to the deployment suggests that, while we knew that there was no conflict situation in The Gambia, the presence of ECOWAS troops could have started something. This is because President Yahya Jammeh was still --[Interruptions]-- Mr Speaker, the main point I am trying to make here is that, even when the United Nations, through the Security Council decided to intervene in Iraq, the sovereign countries were asked to go back to their countries and seek approval from their Parliaments before they could do that. I feel a bit worried that ECOWAS could basically get a Resolution that asked member countries to provide troops and how they deployed them and the things they do may not be what we want them to do. Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong — rose
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of correction or a point of order?
Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague keeps prescribing the beautiful work of the
authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS in helping to settle a dispute in the region, through dialogue, by putting together their strength. I do not think that was a war situation. We need not create that prescription for ECOWAS in this House. This is a House of records and if anybody picks up our Hansard and this reflects, it is bad for the image of Ghana. Ghana is one of the countries that is very much respected in ECOWAS.
I do not know which part of my Statement -- I said The Gambia - - [Interruption] -- As of this morning, there has not been any instance of either Mr Yahya Jammeh or President Adama Barrow's supporters ever clashing on anything. There has never been any conflict situation in The Gambia. I support the Statement. I wish to say that, as a Parliament, we should request or it should be good, that any time our troops are deployed in a situation like this, With these few words, I support the Statement and recommend it to the House.
On a point of order. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order to correct an impression my Hon Colleague created --
Hon Member, do you want to make a contribution?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
If it is a point of order, the Hon Member is not on his feet. Yes, Hon Member, your contribution.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Before I make my comments, my Hon Colleague on the other side of the House mentioned that the Iraqi invasion was backed by a Resolution of the United Nations (UN). This is a House of records. Can the Hon Member produce that Resolution number for this House? Secondly, the contribution of ECOWAS troops to the intervention or the support in The Gambia has, once again, tested the foundations of ECOWAS -- the Treaty and Protocols that set out ECOWAS. Mr Speaker, with issues in la Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Liberia on hindsight, I believe that the whole ECOWAS Treaty and its Protocols must be relooked at. Mr Speaker, questions are being raised about the leadership qualities and how we handle election disputes in the sub- region. Also, countries that have adhered to the tenets of democracy must also respect the rules governing elections and accept results that are declared by their national election bodies. Mr Speaker, the resource constraints of some of the standby forces of ECOWAS need to be looked at -- whether these groups are well resourced, whether they have the financial muscle, the logistical and equipment support to order some of these missions within the sub-region. Mr Speaker, October 11, 2017, presents another situation in the sub-region where the people of Liberia would organise their elections. I believe that the leadership within the sub-region must start taking steps to avert some of these issues which do occur. Mr Speaker, all in all, I support the Statement made by my Hon Colleague from Effutu, and ask the leadership within the sub-region to respect the Constitutions of their countries and also accept results and challenge them within the fora set out by their Constitutions. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for permitting me to comment on the Statement on the floor of the House, and to associate myself entirely with the Statement ably made by my good Friend, Hon Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the unique opportunity. Mr Speaker, I associate myself fully with the Statement made by my Hon good Friend, Hon Afenyo-Markin. Mr Speaker, not too long ago, The Gambia was seen as a relatively stable country that was pursuing a develop- mental agenda. After a few months, The Gambia was in the international news again for very bad reasons, where some Ghanaians were murdered in cold blood. Again, The Gambia was in the news for not too admirable reasons, where a successful election, which was conducted, and it appeared that the sitting President had lost the election but was unwilling to throw in the towel. Mr Speaker, President Barack Obama, the former President of the United States of America, made a popular statement that re-echoes in my mind as I stand on my feet. He said that Ghana and West Africa particularly, need strong institutions. Mr Speaker, at this stage of the development agenda of The Gambia, they need to focus on building strong institutions. Again, I am reliably informed that we have the ECOWAS Court of Justice. It should not be enough for Mr Yahya Jammeh to just leave The Gambia. If there are pieces of evidence and strong reasons for him to come before the ECOWAS Court of Justice, he should indeed, be hauled before that august body. Mr Speaker, I have a word of caution for the new President. It has become increasingly clear that the people of the sub-region abhor corruption. My first advice to the new President is to, at all costs, avoid corrupt practices. This is because corruption has sent many Governments into opposition. It is therefore, important that the new Government recognises such and behaves accordingly.
Mr Speaker, I beg to associate myself with the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague on the other side. Mr Speaker, first of all, I wish to congratulate the leadership of ECOWAS for initiating the intervention even before the worse could happen. I am particularly impressed because ECOWAS quickly realised that if they did not go into mediation, anything could happen. It is not the first time that we have seen some of these problems that we would not like to be associated with. Mr Speaker, especially, if we look at the Democratic Republic of Congo and its issues, we would not want it to happen in Ghana. We are a peace loving country, we have lived together and I do not believe that we should sit and watch. Wonderfully and good enough, our then President was one of the mediators. We all know that continuity is very important and that institutional memory goes to help with continuity. He continued to go on with the activities to make sure that The Gambia became stabilised. Mr Speaker, I appreciate both the former and current Presidents for making sure that The Gambia stays stable. I also congratulate the people of The Gambia and Ghana, and the troops that went, for making sure that they stayed on to their duties and responsibilities, and that nothing untoward happened until the former President of The Gambia, Mr Yahya Jammeh left peacefully and then the current President, Mr Adama Barrow was sworn in. I congratulate him and I hope that we would continue in this direction, so that in our West African sub-region especially, we do not ever plunge any of our countries into disrepute again. We would also continue to be a model for other African countries to observe and wish to associate with. I congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement and wish us all well. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, two more contributions from each side. Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover (NPP--Tema East): Mr Speaker, I equally beg to associate myself with the Statement made by my Hon Colleague, Hon Afenyo-Markin. Mr Speaker, we can clearly see that Mr Yahya Jammeh, the ex-President of The Gambia was not a democrat. His whole being and demeanour clearly showed that he was not a democrat. Mr Speaker, for that matter, in his effort to subvert the will of the people of The Gambia, he brought international attention to his country. We need to commend the Heads of State and Governments of ECOWAS States. There is a saying in the Ga language that, the strength and beauty of the fowl are in the wings. This means that the Heads of State and Governments proved to Mr Yahya Jammeh, their colleague, that they had the strength and capacity to stop him from turning The Gambia into an inferno. Mr Speaker, that was why efforts were made by his own colleagues, who took steps and had a word with him, that if The Gambians had made their choice, he did not need to take them back. A lot of visitations and efforts were made, but because he was a stubborn cat, he did not want to listen. For that matter, with the backing of the United Nations Security Council, the military arrangement was made, and he had to budge. Mr Speaker, in saying so, the resolve of the Heads of State and Governments to allow the forces of the ECOWAS to go to The Gambia was in the right direction. This was to ensure that the security of the new Head of State and his Government could be sustained to ensure that he had taken full charge as the Commander-in-Chief of The Gambian Armed Forces. Mr Speaker, I thank our President, a former Minister for Foreign Affairs, who contributed to peace missions across the sub-region, and our former President as well. Mr Speaker, one thing I expect from The Gambian President, Mr Barrow, is the process of healing his country. Ex- President Yahya Jammeh has his supporters and so does the new President. If President Barrow would succeed as the President of The Gambia, he would need to start the process of healing his country. Mr Speaker, one of the ECOWAS Protocols that, in my view, was not fully activated, and for which I would want to see the swiftness with which they were able to solve The Gambian crisis, is the free movement of our people in the sub- region. Mr Speaker, when we travel on the eastern corridor road, from Ghana through the francophone countries to Nigeria, I am sure each of us in this House would attest to the fact that the way our people are handled defeats the whole purpose of the Protocol of free movement. Mr Speaker, so, in contributing to this Statement, I would want to add that the zeal and swiftness with which The Gambian crisis was dealt with, we should look at that aspect of the Protocol, so that the free movement of our people should be done in a way to foster brotherliness -- Mr Speaker, again, there is the issue of trade among ourselves. Mr Speaker, the population of ECOWAS in totality is between 300 and 350 million people, which we could take advantage of and trade among ourselves, so that we can develop our economies. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to thank my Hon Colleague, Hon Afenyo-Markin, for this wonderful Statement he has made to the House. Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Afenyo-Markin.
Mr Speaker, I also wish to associate myself with the Statement from the Hon Member of Parliament for Effutu, and I take particular interest in his commendation for the ECOWAS leadership, for not shying away from doing what some may see as a difficult thing, and for not resorting to what he describes as the old model of a passive, sometimes, even a pleaful approach to somebody who is doing wrong to do right. Mr Speaker, what ECOWAS did was under the framework of the ECOWAS Protocol on the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security. If my memory serves me right, that Protocol was signed by former President Rawlings in the year 1999, ratified by this House, I think in January, 2005. And in the recent incident in The Gambia, it was given real life. Without using the same words, it contains the concept of gunboat diplomacy, which is really what ensures that the conversation round the table is given life. This is because while we are talking, nobody is left with the illusion that nothing can be done. Indeed, everybody is aware that there is a clear, real and present determination to use force, if necessary, to get the right thing done. I believe it is a new day for democracy in West Africa. My prayer is that the sun does not set on this day.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Member of Parliament for Effutu, Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin. In doing so, I would like to partly associate myself with the submissions of Hon Kwame Govers Agbodza, when he stated that the ECOWAS troops -- and on that note, I would like to say that, indeed, we know that the ECOWAS troops entered The Gambia not to initiate war and they did not go there to stop war either. This is because none was happening in ECOWAS. Mr Speaker, again, what we know is that they were in The Gambia to present Mr Yahya Jammeh with a bouquet of flowers and it means that the multi- approach that my Hon Colleague, Mr Agbodza spoke about has to be considered in every step of the way.
Again, the Hon Member made reference to the President's decision to request former President John Mahama to continue with the mediation role alongside other sub-regional leaders in The Gambia, and described it as a lesson in pragmatism and I associate with that. But in the same vein, especially as we talk of lessons, one thing that I see missing on all of us is that, development in The Gambia, which God forbid, could also be a situation in this country. On another occasion, I would like to employ this House, respectfully, for us to consider how, if ever we are faced with situations like that as a country, to deal with them without inviting or waiting for our neighbours to intervene. Mr Speaker, I say this because in the case of The Gambia, my Hon Colleague, Hon Titus-Glover, did refer to the former President of The Gambia as one who is not a democrat. However, monitoring from the attempts that the former President made, however feeble, he constantly referred to the laws, the Constitution and the role of Parliament of The Gambia. Mr Speaker, it is in the light of this that I say, in the year 2012, Ghana was faced with an election dispute. Fortunately, in our case, the President who was challenged was sworn-in. If ever we are faced with the situation, and that is why I am inviting this House on another day, maybe, at the right time, to look at our laws. Mr Speaker, that is the lesson that I draw from the challenge that The Gambia was faced with, and I pray that in the adage that “when your neighbour's beard is on fire, you put water by you” would be a good advice in this particular case.
Hon Nitiwul -- Hon Defence Minister-designate?
Thank you very much. I will take a contribution each from both sides and then move to the Hon Leaders. Hon Members, at this stage, if you may please, mention your names for the benefit of the Hansard and then proceed.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Afenyo- Markin, Hon Member of Parliament for Effutu. Indeed, The Gambia has a chequered political history -- since 1965 that it had its independence, it has only had two Republics. The First Republic ended in 1992 and the Second Republic has stretched so far because of the lack of a two-term limit for the Presidency. So, the President could win election anytime and still maintain power in The Gambia. Mr Speaker, since then several elections had taken place, and the difficulty of the Opposition winning elections in The Gambia was mainly because, there were too many Opposition groups and parties that refused to come together. Mr Speaker, but this time round, most of the Opposition parties came together to unite behind Mr Adama Barrow, and this is what made it possible for him to win the elections with over 45 per cent of the votes. Mr Speaker, while we commend the ECOWAS for the multi -pronged approach that they used, both diplomacy and some pressure through the force of arms, I wish to say that The Gambia is a very small country and the strategy used for The Gambia needs to be refined in order to tackle bigger States in the future. The Gambia is a small country surrounded entirely by Senegal. It was therefore easier to put pressure on The Gambia and have positive results. However, when we are to tackle bigger countries, ECOWAS needs to refine its strategies. Mr Speaker, I would also want to say that the victory was made possible by the teachers unions, university associations and all kinds of associations in The Gambia.
Mr Speaker, I would also want to say that the voting process in The Gambia is not as refined as one would find in Ghana, for example. I have been a consultant in The Gambia for several periods, including the period of the coup d'état, and I know the kind of voting system they have. They use glass marbles in a container like oware. And that kind of system is flout with a lot of discrepancies. So, one of the areas that should be tackled by the new President is to reform the voting system. Mr Speaker, he also needs to reunite the entire country, especially those living in the area of the former President. The former President used to enjoy tremendous support from his home area called Kandili. Therefore, the new President needs to bring these people on board. Indeed, before Yahya Jammeh finally left, there was a fight between ECOWAS forces and the forces loyal to him who were resident in Kandili. Mr Speaker, I would want to congratulate the new President and to wish the people of The Gambia very well in the Third Republic that they have just started. Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity.
The last contribution, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Afenyo-Markin. Indeed, it is extremely exciting that at this time we have a President, H. E. Addo- Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who has demons- trated great leadership and took a decision to allow the former President, John Dramani Mahama to continue with those discussions on The Gambian situation. We are extremely excited, and we know that His Excellency the President would continue to demonstrate such great leadership and make sure that Ghana works again.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, let me thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement ably made by the Hon Afenyo- Markin on the ECOWAS intervention in The Gambia and its implications on the peace and security of the West African sub-region. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I commend the maker of the Statement and wish to state without hesitation that after listening to him and many other Hon Colleagues, one could only come to a conclusion that, the democratic and political developments in The Gambia are a perfect example of a curious jumble of paradoxes and contradictions, par- ticularly relative to Ghana, where open and democratic elections have been conducted, transitions of power done in respect of the law and the Constitution of Ghana. But in respect of The Gambia, it is the opposite. Mr Speaker, it is important that we understand the undercurrent of the politics in The Gambia, that around the year 1994, when the former President, Jammeh came to power at the time -- In Africa particularly, in the 1980s up to the 1990s, military intervention was the practice that was hailed and Ghana was no exception to it. If you would want to be reminded, in many other periods of our democratic journeys in the years 1969 and 1972, we went through those sad experiences. That is why I again agree with the maker of the Statement that the ECOWAS Heads of State together with the new political leadership of The Gambia must act with a pulse of urgency on democratic and
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, subject to item numbered 6 on the original Order Paper, which we are still awaiting some documents, this is on a matter of confirmation of Ministers. We will now move to the Order Paper Addendum, and item numbered 1, thereon, and call upon the Hon Majority Leader to move the procedural Motion numbered 1, on the Addendum.
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 Leadership on the constitution of the membership of the Pan- African Parliament may be moved today. Mr Speaker, the reason for this recourse is simply because time is not on our side as the Pan-African Parliament has programmed to meet in the next coming few days. It therefore, becomes imperative for us to constitute the representatives from Ghana's Parliament to the Pan-African Parliament.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and to associate myself with his comment for it to be dealt with expeditiously. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Hon Members, item numbered 2. Hon Majority Leader, you may now move the Motion numbered 2, on the Order Paper Addendum. Constitution of the membership of the Pan- African Parliament
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of Leadership on the constitution of the membership of the Pan- African Parliament. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would like to submit your Committee's Report. The Pan-African Parliament was established in March, 2004, by article 17 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, as one of the nine organs provided for in the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community signed in Abuja, Nigeria, in 1991. The establishment of the Pan-African Parliament, as stated in the preamble of the Protocol to the Treaty relating to the establishment of the Pan-African Parliament, was informed by a vision to provide a common platform for African peoples and their grassroot organisations to be more involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the continent. The seat of the Pan-African Parliament is Midrand, South Africa. Aims and objectives of the Pan-African Parliament. Article 2 (3) of the Protocol states that: “The ultimate aim of the Pan-African Parliament shall be to evolve into an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage. However, until such time as the member States decide otherwise by amendments to this Protocol, the Pan-African Parliament shall have a consultative and advisory powers only.” The objectives of the Pan-African Parliament as set out in article 3 of the Protocol are as follows: i. Facilitate the effective implemen- tation of the policies and objectives of the African Union. ii. Promote the principles of human rights and democracy in Africa. iii. Encourage good governance, transparency and accountability in member States. iv. Familiarise the peoples of Africa with the objectives and policies aimed at integrating the African Continent within the framework of the establishment of the African Union. v. Promote peace, security and stability. vi. Contribute to a more prosperous future for the peoples of Africa by promoting collective self- reliance and economic recovery. vii.Facilitate co-operation and development in Africa. viii. Strengthen continental solida- rity and build a sense of common destiny among the peoples of Africa. ix. Facilitate co-operation among Regional Economic Communities and their parliamentary fora. Functions of Pan-African Parliament The following are the functions of Pan- African Parliament: i. Explain, discuss or express an opinion on any matter, either on its own initiative or at the request of the Assembly or other policy organs and make any recommendations it may deem fit relating to, inter-alia, matters pertaining to respect of human rights, the consolidation of democratic institutions and the culture of democracy, as well as the promotion of good go- vernance and the rule of law.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for the adoption of the Report of Leadership on the constitution of the Pan- African Parliament, and to crave your indulgence to make a few remarks subject to the debate. Mr Speaker, the Pan-African Parliament, as we have been told, is designed as the legislative organ of the African Union, and in particular, if I may refer you to paragraph 2.1 of the Committee's Report. The objectives of the Pan-African Parliament as set out in article 2 (3) of the Protocol are as follows, but for my emphasis, I will highlight on: “i. Promote the principles of human rights and democracy in Africa.” So, we expect that our representation, guided by developments in The Gambia, and any other parts of Africa, where human rights are not respected and fundamental freedoms are infringed upon, they will work to improve it. Mr Speaker, part of the protocol also provides for encouraging good governance, transparency and account- ability in member States. This will deal with the issues of corruption, that an Hon Member earlier dealt with. I believe that the representations are persons known to us -- Hon Joseph Osei- Owusu, and Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo -- First Deputy Speaker and Deputy Majority Leader respectively, Hon Yaw Afful, Hon Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka and Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh. Mr Speaker, I therefore beg to second the Motion for the adoption of the Report, and I thank you for the opportunity for the few comments. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Members, Resolution.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move that WHEREAS under article 4(1) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, each Member State shall be represented in the Pan-African Parliament by five (5) Parlia- mentarians, at least one of whom shall be a woman; UNDER article 4(2) of the said Constitutive Act, the representation of each Parliament shall reflect the diversity of political opinion in the National Parliament; UNDER article 5(1) of the said Constitutive Act, the Pan-African Parliamentarians shall be elected or designated by the respective National Parliaments of the Member States from among their Members.
NOW THEREFORE THIS HO-
NOURABLE HOUSE HEREBY
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Hon Members, let me take the opportunity to congratulate the Hon Members so elected. Item 4 -- Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that not- withstanding 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 Leadership on the constitution of the membership of the ECOWAS Parliament may be moved today. Mr Speaker, I move this Motion again, with the same premise as I indicated in respect of the constitution of the Pan- African Parliament. Mr Speaker, time is not on our side and the ECOWAS Parliament is required to meet on 8th February, 2017 and we need to reconstitute our membership on the ECOWAS Parliament which has occasioned the resort to truncating the process.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly. Composition of the membership of Ghana's Representatives to the ECOWAS Parliament
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of Leadership on the constitution of the membership of the ECOWAS Parliament. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present your Committee's Report. Introduction The Community Parliament was founded in the year 2000 with its headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria. It has a representation of 115 members from the fifteen member countries. Ghana is represented at the Community Parliament by a total of eight (8) Members of Parliament under article 5 of the Protocol. Following the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament and the inauguration of the Seventh Parliament, it has become necessary to re-compose the entirety of Ghana's representation to the Community Parliament. The Leadership of the House duly met and composed the membership of Ghana's representation at the Community Parliament and it is hereby presented in this Report. Competence of the Community Parlia- ment The function of the Community Parliament is basically advisory and it may consider any matter concerning the region, in particular, issues relating to fundamental human rights and freedom and make recommendations to the institutions and organs of the community. As a Parliament, its opinions are consulted on matters concerning the community especially in the areas of: Community citizenship Free movement of persons and goods Youth and sports Scientific and technological research Treaty review Under subclauses (I) and (II) of article 7 of the ECOWAS Protocol, the House has the sole responsibility of electing Ghana's representatives from among itself to the Community Parliament. The Protocol, however, enjoins member countries to go through the process of direct universal adult suffrage to elect their representatives. The Community Parliament is yet to subject itself to the process. Tenure of office Mr Speaker, the tenure of a Member in the Community Parliament is four (4) years starting from the day the Member is sworn-in. In the period of transition, represen- eatives at the Community Parliament who are not re-elected into their respective
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Leadership on the composition of the Membership of Ghana's representatives to the Community Parliament of ECOWAS. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would like to note that the Community Parliament has been in existence for 16 years. Yet, there are still problems with free movement of goods and services; there are still problems with ECOWAS having a common market. We have made some process with common external tariffs and we would urge our Hon Colleagues and able represen- tatives to do us good by working assiduously and learning from other practices. Mr Speaker, if you take the European Union today, we have no reason as ECOWAS, particularly, through the Heads of State not to learn that they have been able to build strong and viable institutions. The tenure is four years, one can only wish our nominees well, subject to the House's approval.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, just effect some amendment. The name of the Hon Member that I called out, Hon Ama Pomaa Boateng. It is captured on the Addendum Order Paper as Ama Pomaa Andoh. The name should read, Ama Pomaa Boateng. That is the correct name of the Hon Member.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, since the Hon Majority Leader took very little notice of Hon Sampson Ahi's presence in this ECOWAS Parliament, may we, at Mr Speaker's indulgence -- Hon Sampson Ahi, the spelling of your name --
Mr Speaker, there is a ‘P'.
There is a “P”? So, it is “Sampson Ahi”. Correction to be effected by the Table Office at Mr Speaker's directive. Thank you.
Hon Minority Leader, if you can repeat the correction.
Mr Speaker, it is “Sampson” with a “p” after the “m”. “Sampson Ahi.” Question proposed.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to support the recommendation of Leadership for the nominations for the ECOWAS Parliament. Mr Speaker, looking at the list, it is gratifying to note that, the membership or the Hon Members nominated are capable of representing us at that level. I am particularly happy about the selection of Hon Ama Pomaa Boateng and I know that she would project the course of women at that high level in the ECOWAS Region. However, I would have wished that more women had been represented on this delegation. We have eight Hon Members and Mr Speaker, only one position went to a woman. It would have been more rewarding to see more than one woman. All these notwithstanding, I support the Motion and also wish to congratulate those who have been nominated and I know that they would deliver the goals on behalf of all of us. Thank you for the opportunity, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Member, for supporting the Motion. Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, we complain here in Ghana that our Parliament suffers from high attrition. I see here eight new Hon Members nominated to the ECOWAS Parliament. In the last ECOWAS Parliament, we had a Member, who had served for a longer period, for which reason, he was elevated to the position of a Deputy Speaker in the ECOWAS Parliament. Today, we are sending Hon Members and there is no experience being carried over from the old membership of the ECOWAS Parliament. Mr Speaker, if you read the Report, in paragraph 3.0 and with your permission, I beg to quote: “Mr Speaker, the tenure of a Member in the Community Parliament is four (4) years starting from the day the Member is sworn- in. In the period of transition, represen- tatives at the Community Parliament who are not re-elected into their respective country Parliaments still remain in office until new representatives are elected by the respective country Parliament to take up their positions.” Mr Speaker, if you again turn to the second paragraph of 1.0, the introduction, it says: “Following the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament and the inau- guration of the Seventh Parliament, it has become necessary to re- compose the entirety of the Ghana's representation to the Community Parliament.” So, in one breath, we are saying that because the Sixth Parliament has elapsed, we have to re-compose an entirely new membership to the ECOWAS Parliament. However, if you are a Member of the ECOWAS Parliament and you have been sworn-in and you have not resigned, then our Parliament here cannot forcefully take you out of that Parliament.
Mr Speaker, I am addressing you but --
Hon Member, proceed and do so directionally.
Mr Speaker, I was making the point that in the year 2001, we would recall that the late Hon Hawa Yakubu, who was a Member of the ECOWAS Parliament was nominated and approved as a Minister of State for Tourism. The ECOWAS Protocol also states that you cannot be part of the Executive in your country and also belong to the ECOWAS Parliament. At the time, she opted to stay in ECOWAS and so gave up her position as Minister for Tourism. I have seen that the old ECOWAS membership had Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Hon Dan Botwe and Hon Frederick Opare-Ansah. As we know, two of them have been nominated as Ministers. If they do not resign, our Parliament cannot forcefully take them out of the ECOWAS Parliament. That is my interpretation of paragraphs 1.0 and 3.0 which I read. So, I am only asking Leadership if the necessary consultations have been made, so that we do not have a situation where our eight new Members go to the ECOWAS Parliament and the old ones insist on staying there. It is going to be embarrassing for our country. I am only drawing the attention of Leadership to this situation which has happened in the past. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor of the House. To begin with, I must congratulate the various Members of Parliament who are privileged to be assigned this new responsibility. Mr Speaker, I was privileged to be at the ECOWAS Parliament for five months. One thing I observed was that, out of the 115 Members, Ghana is the second largest in terms of numerical strength after Nigeria, which has the largest numerical
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of order?
Mr Speaker, he said “MTN.” There is nobody like MTN here. He said so and should correct it.
Hon Member, you may continue.
Mr Speaker, these are early days and people are being nominated. I was referring to Hon Michael Teye Nyaunu and Hon Simon Osei-Mensah. At the time of election, one Hon Member from the Majority was of the opinion that since we were from the Majority, definitely, the Fourth Deputy Speaker should come from our side. Another Hon Member from the Minority said he was the most senior in terms of the ECOWAS Parliament and there is a convention that nominations of senior positions are based on seniority. Therefore, since Hon Simon Osei-Mensah had been there for more than six or seven years, he was to be the Fourth Deputy Speaker. We went into our closet and deliberated upon it. We said if there was a convention, we would follow it --
Hon Member, wind up, please.
Mr Speaker, not knowing, the entire membership of the ECOWAS Parliament was so happy with the contributions of Hon Simon Osei- Mensah in terms of seniority and experience. As a result, they said if we had Hon Simon Osei-Mensah, we should give it to him. We gave it to him even though he was from the Minority. So, I am telling the new Hon Members who are privileged to get this opportunity, as they go, their only “Mugabe” -- [Laughter] -- Their only “Mugabe” -- Mr Speaker, I withdraw -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I withdraw “Mugabe”. The most senior in this membership is Hon Sampson Ahi and I hope the old convention which we gave to Hon Simon Osei-Mensah would hold if there is any opportunity in the ECOWAS Parliament for the most senior Member to benefit. Lastly, out of the eight former Members of the ECOWAS Parliament, about five of them, only three survived. Most of them lost the elections. So, as they go, they must learn how to balance their time in the ECOWAS Parliament, Ghana Parliament and their constituencies. They should not let this ECOWAS Parliament insulate them from their constituencies. They must have a head before they can chew corn, according to Hon A. B. A. Fuseini. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity and once again, I congratulate the various nominees.
Mr Speaker, I do not have a problem with the Report, except to seek further clarification from the Committee. In paragraph 2.0, the last paragraph, and with your permission, I would like to read: “The Protocol, however enjoins Member countries to go through the process of direct universal adult suffrage to elect their represen- tatives. The Community Parliament is yet to subject itself to the process.” Mr Speaker, it would help us if the Leadership would tell us why the Community is refusing to subject itself to this process and is sending Members there. If that is the Protocol, why have we not complied? We need to know more since it is a serious matter.
Hon Members, in view of the time and business ahead of us, I direct that business goes beyond the regular hours.
Hon Majority Leader, do you want to make an -- Yes?
Mr Speaker, I would want to respond to a few issues before the Question is put. Mr Speaker, the first issue relates to the application by Hon Ahmed Ibrahim, who is the Deputy Minority Whip, that the Hon Sampson Ahi is the “Mugabe” of the group and by that he submitted an application that if any --
Hon Majority Leader, I do not appreciate the expression “Mugabe”.
Mr Speaker, I would address that.
Hon Majority Leader, in terms of what?
Mr Speaker, the example of “Mugabe”, is not a good one. So, for the Hon Member to apply to us that we should look at the example of a “Mugabe” in this House and sufficiently reward him -- I would not want to be a part of that reward scheme.
Hon Majority Leader, you would oblige us if you would give us some good example for future guidance.
Mr Speaker, he may perhaps, refer to him as the “Goldwater” of the ECOWAS Parliament even though he himself said that Hon Ahi was a Member for barely five months. This represents less than a tenth of the period during which he was required to stay. So, he cannot be a good example. Mr Speaker, that is in a lighter vein.
Hon Majority Leader, I agree so much with you, that in view of your unfortunate losses by Hon Members for having spent some good years in the House only, we better drop such references like “Mugabe” and others and bring some fine references that would attract our people with regard to those Hon Members who have spent several years in the House serving the good people of Ghana. Hon Majority Leader, you may conclude.
Mr Speaker, with the other issue in respect of the numerical strength of the countries, yes, Nigeria has the highest representation and the number is not 40 but 32. Ghana is a distant second with eight members. The other countries have between seven and five Members. Mr Speaker, another Hon Member referred to whether it may be possible for those of them who have been made Hon Ministers, and who still continue as Hon Members of Parliament to go and attempt to take their seats. That is not possible; the Protocol forbids that. Once one becomes a member of the Executive, one forfeits his or her seat -- Which is the example the Hon Member gave. The late Hon Hawa Yakubu who was presented with that opportunity decided that she would no longer serve as an Hon Minister. So, she opted to remain a Member of the ECOWAS Parliament rather than to be made an Hon Minister in this country. Mr Speaker, so, that matter of Hon Ministers attempting to keep their seats in the ECOWAS Parliament would not arise. Mr Speaker, as the Hon Member has related to, the Protocol enjoins member countries to go through the process of direct universal adult suffrage to elect their representatives. The authority of Heads of State and Governments recognises that, the countries in the sub- region are not at this time in the situation where we would be able to marshal resources to do that. For that reason, we have given ourselves a transitional period, which has been extended. The original period was for 10 years and it has further been extended. So, we are in the period of transition, which requires that the Members shall be selected from the various Parliaments in the various countries in the sub-region. Mr Speaker, that should provide for some explanation. Mr Speaker, that is the position.
Hon Minority Leader, are you inclined to --
Mr Speaker, it is just a slight correction to page 3. With regard to Hon Mahama Ayariga's name, there is no letter “h” after the “a” in the “Ayariga”.
Yes, Hon Member, you may give the last contribution.
Mr Speaker, I would like to make a few comments in relation to the Motion. Mr Speaker, any time we talk about the ECOWAS Parliament, what comes to mind immediately is that of conflict resolution and barriers in terms of trade and physical barriers. Mr Speaker, one very key ingredient, which if it is addressed, would help us in terms of integrating well in the West African Region as well as boosting our economy, in terms of regional trade, has to do with the concept of exchange programmes. Mr Speaker, it is easier for a lot of Ghanaians to access Europe than to go to Benin, The Gambia or Nigeria. I believe a lot of Hon Members, if asked of their travel experience, would mention Germany and the United Kingdom (UK). But when we ask of Benin, there would be a few who have been there. Mr Speaker, when I was in the medical school, I had a friend who came from Croatia and chose Ghana for his exchange programme. I asked him why he chose Ghana and he said his father was in school with a Ghanaian during the Employee Self- Service (ESS) era, and the father told him that Ghanaian students were very brilliant. So, in choosing a country in Africa, he should consider Ghana. Mr Speaker, I would like to propose that our Hon Members who are going to the ECOWAS Parliament should consider a legislation that would make it possible for Ghanaian students at the high school level to be able to visit families in our West African countries. If one has a son who stays with a family in Benin for about a month, learning the French Language would no more be theoretical, but would become easier. Secondly, that son in the future, might have friends who are active economic players in Benin. One would also know of foods that are very tasty in Benin. So, the
“when you speak to a man in the language that he understands, you speak to his head but when you speak to him or her in his or her own language you speak to the heart.” Mr Speaker, if we had leaders in the West African Region who could speak The Gambian language fluently, it would have been possible to get former President Yahya Jammeh to concede at an earlier stage. Mr Speaker, I am stressing on the essence of language, which can be attained when integration is made very easy to access even at the high school level. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Majority Leader, the consequential Resolution.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move. That, WHEREAS under article 5 of the Protocol relating to the Community Parliament of ECOWAS, a total of eight (8) seats have been allotted to the Parliament of Ghana out of a total of one hundred and fifteen (115) seats for the entire fifteen (15) Member ECOWAS Community; UNDER sub-clause (ii) of clause 1 of article 7 of the said Protocol, elected representatives to the Community Parliament of ECOWAS shall be drawn from the National Assemblies of member States or their equivalent institutions or organs which shall elect such Members from among themselves; UNDER subclauses (i) and (ii) of the clause 2 of article 7 of the said Protocol, the term of office of representatives to the Community Parliament of ECOWAS shall be four (4) years, except where a representative ceases to be a Member of his/ her national Parliament, whereupon he/she shall remain in office during the transition until a new Member replacing him/her takes his/her seat.
NOW THEREFORE THIS
HONOURABLE HOUSE HERE
BY RESOLVES THAT
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Hon Members, may I take this opportunity to congratulate the Hon Members accordingly. Hon Members, as I indicated, we had not exhausted item numbered 6 on the original Order Paper, with regard to the Report on the Appointments Committee by the First Deputy Speaker. If it is ready, we will proceed, otherwise, we will have to suspend Sitting for an hour or so. This is because, this is a very important business and we definitely have to put Hon Ministers in place.
Mr Speaker, the Leaders have a different opinion. The Report is with them. They are making further inputs and they request that it be taken tomorrow.
Shall we proceed or suspend Sitting?
Mr Speaker, we have been consulting with Leadership. It is true that the Report has been made available to Leadership. It is important that, in fairness, Hon Members have copies, peruse them well and adequately prepare themselves for a debate on the issues and for its adoption tomorrow. Prior to that, we would urge the Hon First Deputy Speaker and the Clerk to the Committee to ensure that at least, within the next few hours, subject to the recommendations in some aspects of the Report for improvement, it would be important that we take this tomorrow. It is a very important Motion and Hon Members should have sufficient time to study the Report of the Appointments Committee. But it is certain that tomorrow, the first batch of Hon Ministers would have the consideration of this House.
Mr Speaker, indeed, I have been in consultation with the Hon Minority Leader, who is the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee, and I have also had some discussions with the Hon Chairman of the Committee. The Hon Ranking Member has given an indication that he has perused the draft Report and has made some observations for some amendments. I guess that in order not to give the impression that the House is being stampeded into taking the decision on the first batch of the nominees of the President, we could stand it down and do it tomorrow. Mr Speaker, we have consulted sufficiently and I believe we would be able to bring the matter on the first batch of the President's nominees to a closure tomorrow. Mr Speaker, for this reason, I may suggest to you that, it being past 2.00 p.m., you may adjourn the House on your own volition.
The House was adjourned at 2:05 p.m. till Thursday, 26th January, 2017 at 10.00 a.m.