Mrs Joyce Bamford Addo, Speaker of Parliament on Friday walked-out from the Chamber in an unusual wrath to register her displeasure for a comment that could dent her credibility as moderator of Ghana’s Parliament.
Her action was activated by Mr Rashid Pelpuo, Deputy Majority Leader, who was hesitant to withdraw and apologise for describing Ghana’s Parliament as chaotic.
The wrath of Mrs Bamford-Addo ran riot when Alhaji Rashid Pelpuo, was giving reasons for his comments when given the opportunity to apologise for the statement the second time.
The incident ensued during business statement discussion in which Ms Akua Sena Dansua, Minister for Tourism scheduled to answer questions the previous day, pleaded for the questions to be rescheduled because she was not aware of them.
A number of Minority speakers questioned why such leverage should be given to the Tourism Minister some of whom did not even wait for others to finish making their points before they took their turn.
This compelled Alhaji Pelpuo to rise up to make a submission quoting from Parliamentary Standing Orders 97 and 86, which jointly indicated that: “Any member desiring to speak shall rise in his place and address the Chair only after catching Mr Speaker’s eye. When Mr Speaker rises to address the House any member standing shall immediately resumes his seat and the Speaker shall be heard in silence.”
When he finished quoting he said: “Madam Speaker I am very serious about this. This is a very chaotic situation we are seeing. We often rise up without your permission, take the floor without your permission and we indulge in it in this House,” he said.
He said he had visited other parliaments and heard a critic who described Ghana’s Parliament as chaotic because of this attitude.
“We must stop, it must stop,” he said.
Responding to the comments, Mrs Bamford Addo said: “Whoever described Ghana’s Parliament as chaotic does not know what he is talking about. This is a very happy place. We come, we make our views heard, we do not stop people,” she said.
She stressed that whoever said that “I wonder why he said it is chaotic”, adding that “there has been no fighting and the job is strenuous that if we come with straight faces like classroom we are going to die of high blood pressure.”
I have not found a chaotic House and that is why I am going to get you to either tell us who said that or withdraw because this goes against me, adding “I do not keep a chaotic House, I keep a happy House where in happiness we transact our business.
“I would not like to have on record that it is a chaotic House and for this reason please withdraw and then you can carry on,” she said.
Surprised Alhaji Pelpuo, whose plea was not taken, said “I do not intend indicting your competence and ability to run this House.”
Mrs Bamford Addo insisted that “No no do not argue, just withdraw.”
Alhaji Pelpuo then said he got embarrassed when a Zambia parliamentarian, Mr Clever Silavwe observed that proceedings in Parliament were not the best since Ghana was seen a model of democracy for Africa.
The Speaker, not satisfied with the revelation insisted that the Deputy Majority Leader retracted his statement but further comments from him made her (the Speaker) rose from her seat and went out of the Chamber in anger.
The Leadership of the house quickly orgainised a meeting and later met the Speaker in her office to plead with her to return to the Chamber.
When sitting resumed, Alhaji Pelpou, unconditionally apologised moving the wheels of proceedings forward till 1300 hours in the noon when the House officially adjourned.