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Ghana Parliament issues apologies for incidents at inauguration

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Parliament has acknowledged that the events that characterized the inauguration of the eighth Parliament and the actions that took place during the night were regrettable.

Parliament would therefore like to put those incidents behind it and work towards a more focused and unified membership aimed at promoting the best of Parliamentary practices and good governance.

A statement issued by Ms Kate Addo, Director of Public Affairs of Parliament and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) also refuted allegations that one of its staff tried to stuff the ballot boxes with papers.

She explained that by the very nature of Parliament’s voting system the allegations of ballot stuffing were impossible, saying there were two hundred and seventy-five (275) members present and voting.

She said the introduction of any voting material would have meant that there would have been an increase in the number of votes cast and this would have exacerbated an already volatile situation, adding that staff of Parliament do not participate in proceedings including voting on the floor of the House.

The statement said Parliament would like to put on record that the Officer, a Deputy Marshal, was stationed at a particular spot in the Chamber to protect the ballot box. As things started getting out of hand, the Marshal was reaching for his taser which was hanging behind his belt to use in the protection of the ballot box. The Deputy Marshal then looked at the taser to turn it on and actually went on to use the taser to prevent one Member from forcefully taking the ballot box, which at the time had two ballots cast in it.

She said the box in question was taken away and examined in the presence of some leadership of the House. The Leader in question later came to the Chamber to assure his side of the House that nothing untoward had happened.

The statement further explained that the Marshalls in Parliament are mandated to maintain peace and order in the House and doing anything contrary to that would be at variance with the dictates of their job. Indeed, it was the same Marshall who intercepted the member who snatched the ballot papers at the time of collation after the votes had been cast.

She admitted the staff had a difficulty and most of them including the Clerk of Parliament bore the brunt of some of the actions on the floor.

The statement pointed out that the staff at all times during the night remained calm and saw to the peaceful resolution of all the issues, which culminated in the successful selection of the Speaker Parliament.

She assured all citizens that its staff were dedicated to assisting the Speakership, Leadership and the Membership of Parliament in the discharge of their duties.

Source: GNA

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