Speaker & MPs Angry as Local Gov't Ministers 'dodge' Urgent Questions

Paliament of Ghana

The Speaker and Members of Parliament are livid with the Local Government Minister and his deputies for disrespecting the House.

The three men have on three occasions refused to appear before the House to answer an urgent question in respect of the floods that claimed over 150 lives in Accra.

MP for Aburi-Nsawam OB Amoah wanted the minister and his deputies to explain to the House the circumstances under which the June 3 flood and fire disasters occurred and similar other floods across the country.

The question has been hanging because the men to whom the question is addressed have been busy with other things.

According to OB Amoah in June when the urgent question was put before the House the three ministers said they had the National Sanitation Day programme to attend to in the Upper West and could not appear before the House.

The Goil station that claimed over 100 lives during the June 3 floods

There has since been two other invitations all of which have fallen on deaf ears.

The substantive Minister Collins Dauda later informed the Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho about his decision to travel out of the country hence his inability to appear before the House.

His deputies have also not heeded the call to appear before the House. On Tuesday the Speaker and MPs went berserk, accusing the three men of disrespecting the House.

Deputy Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak said he had gone through a lot trying to drag the people before the House but all that have proven futile.

"This is a very serious issue. It is unacceptable. You cannot behave like that. A serious thing like this has happened in this country where the whole country is mobilising resources to help; come and give account you refuse to come; the substantive minister gives excuses and promises to come but they disappear; you will see and hear them every day from assembly to another assembly giving directives and things but they [can't appear before us]," MP for Manhyia fumed.

"Ghanaians cannot be ridiculed by the ministers like that," he added.

The Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho could not but agree with the sentiments shared by the MPs.

He ordered the Deputies to appear before the House tomorrow to answer the urgent question or face sanctions.

"This is the third time this House is being called upon to defer this matter. I have been in this House for well over twenty years and the least said about this conduct the better.

"One thing i can say for now that the deputies should be summoned to this House tomorrow to answer the question.

"If they do not come the House will look at any sanction that is available.

The democratic path we have chosen as a country should not be allowed to be undermined by few individuals.

He warned that the "right of oversight over the executive must always stand."

Shortly after the warning, one of the two Deputies Nii Lante Vanderpuye told Joy News it was never their intention to disrespect Parliament.

He said the last time they were invited they had already moved to the Upper West Region for the NSD and could not make it.

However it was his intention to appear before the House today to answer the question but received an information about some floods in other parts of the country and had to mobilise equipment to ameliorate the impact of the flood.

He said he got the House at 1230 GMT by which Parliament had adjourned sitting. He promised however to make himself available tomorrow to answer the question.

Chairman of the local government committee in the house, Dominic Azumah told Joy News the Deputy Minister would have to explain to the House the unnecessary delays as well as respond to the urgent question.

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