Scores of armed soldiers invaded Ghana’s Parliament as the two main parties – National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – jostled for the majority status of the Eighth Parliament since either side has 137 MPs.
In the midst of the power struggle, the ballot box for voting for a new Speaker was snatched by Asawase MP-elect Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka, on Thursday, 7 January 2021.
The NDC side raised concerns about the sanctity of the ballot since, according to the party’s side, the NPP MPs-elect were displaying their ballots – meant to the secret – to their leadership.
An infuriated Muntaka Mubarak then snatched the ballot box, thus, bringing the voting process for a new Speaker to an abrupt stalemate.
The NDC MPs-elect also rejected a decision by the Clerk of Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, to stop Assin North MP-elect, Mr James Gyakye Quayson, from taking part in the election of a Speaker.
A court has put an injunction on Mr Quayson’s swearing-in over issues concerning his dual citizenship.
Ghana’s laws do not permit a holder of dual citizenship to occupy the seat of Parliament.
Mr Quayson, despite the injunction, showed up in Parliament to take part in the voting process for a Speaker.
The NDC side insisted Mr Quayson had not been served any such court injunction, thus, cannot be prevented from being sworn in and taking part in the election of a Speaker.
However, the Clerk said: “I was duly served, and I am, therefore, unable to recognise James Quayson as MP-elect for the purposes of the election of Speaker. I will, therefore, accordingly proceed in the conduct of this election”.
The Clerk added: “I have spoken to the MP-elect and I have duly informed both leaders. He can decide to vote and bear the consequences thereof”.
As part of the struggle for dominance in the Eighth Parliament, the NDC MPs-elect also occupied the majority side of the House, which generated further chaos in the chamber.