Ho, Feb. 19, GNA - The
African Centre for Parliamentary Journalism and Research (ACPJR) has described
the decision by Parliament to reprimand Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the Member
of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central Constituency for his “contemptuous”
description of Parliament as “cheap and useless”, a “mockery” of the House.
The Centre said the decision was a bad precedent, which was likely to open the floodgate for indiscipline in the House.
A press release signed by Mr. Harrison Kofi Belley, Executive Director of the Centre and copied to the Ghana News Agency said “the practice where some MPs are allowed to speak against Parliament and go free but seen to be hard on non-MPs seems to be creating the impression that, the Privileges Committee of Parliament is always heavy handed on outsiders as against their own”.
The release said Parliament over the years had been lenient and reluctant to cite its members for contempt and “it is important that Parliament started applying the rules because the reluctance of the House to apply the rules was fuelling indiscipline in the institution”.
It said “the MP should have been punished severely by Parliament for describing the law-making arm of government as “cheap” and “useless” after the Privileges Committee pronounced him guilty of contempt of Parliament”.
The release said “public confidence in Parliament is eroding and many people in Ghana are fed up with the behaviour of some MPs especially Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, so, it is only proper and fair that, Parliament would do something about the institution if they want the dignity of Parliament to be held in high esteem by Ghanaians”.
It urged the leadership of the House “to muster the courage and caution its members to be civil and measured in their utterances especially when engaging the media, and the implication of being cited for contempt of Parliament and severely punish any member who fall foul of the constitution and the Standing Orders of the House”.