8th Parliament inauguration chaos unjustifiable – Speaker

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has expressed regret at the chaotic scenes in Parliament that preceded his election as Speaker.

He, however, did not make mention of a possible probe into the fracas, which included scuffles between Members of Parliament and the invasion of the chamber by armed security personnel.

Mr. Bagbin remarked that there was the “total absence of justification” for the security presence, among other occurrences.

He has already been urged and petitioned to cause an investigation into the incidents that marred the inauguration of the 8th Parliament.

It remains unclear who ordered the armed police and military personnel into the chamber when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs were agitating over the election process.

The security personnel eventually left after about 10 minutes whilst being hooted at by the NDC MPs.

The Speaker reserved harsher criticism for the legislators who were engaged in a stand-off that led to the election taking almost eight hours.

For hours, the scuffles broke out, led by the NDC legislators’ Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, who tried to make sure his opposing Whip was not interfering in the secret ballot.

At a point, NDC MPs ransacked the voting areas and snatched the ballot box on live TV.

During the counting of ballots, the Tema West MP, Carlos Ahenkorah snatched the ballots when it looked like Mr. Bagbin, would emerge winner in the election, defeating Prof. Mike Oquaye, the New Patriotic Party’s preferred candidate.

Mr. Bagbin said the breaches of the sanctity of the votes “would otherwise attract severe punishment” but again did not indicate if there would be any sanctions.

“It was, to put it mildly, despicable conduct unbecoming of people of honor. As Speaker, I would like to believe that spectacle of that historical day would not be repeated.”

He further urged the leadership of Parliament to “take the necessary measures to restore the lost dignity of this august House.”

Mr. Bagbin’s comments came during opening remarks as the 8th Parliament sits for the first time.

The Speaker of the Parliament also used the opportunity to declare the NPP as the Majority in Parliament following the decision by the independent candidate for Fomena, Andrew Amoako to “do business” with the NPP MPs.

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