Former President John Mahama has described the fistfight that erupted in parliament over a disagreement during the voting on the controversial Electronic Transaction Bill (E-levy) as a fight for democracy.
According to him, the posture of the Minority was to prevent unconstitutionality from being perpetuated in the Chamber of Parliament.
Mr Mahama made the statement during an engagement with clergymen to discuss issues of national interest at his office.
“That fight was a fight for democracy. There is no way a Speaker can sit in the chair, relinquish the chair, let somebody else come and sit in it and take a vote in something that he has presided over. The constitution is clear,” he noted.
The fight ensued on Monday, December 20, 2021, when the MPs were voting in a headcount to decide whether the E-levy bill should be accepted under a certificate of urgency or not.
The Minority had attempted to stop the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, who was presiding over the House, from leaving his seat and participating in the voting process.
This infuriated the Majority MPs, who met them at the Speaker’s table to challenge the NDC MPs.
The Minority MPs explained that Mr Osei-Owusu, while in the position of Speaker, does not have a casting vote.
But to Mr Mahama argued the Minority acted in the interest of the Ghanaian population who are obviously against the bill.
“Ghanaians have made it clear that they do not want the E-Levy, and the Minority group’s push back is a reflection of what the people want,” he said.
He further charged the clergymen to find a resolution to the events “happening to us in our country.”
Led by the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Most Reverend Paul K. Boafo, the delegation included representatives from the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, and the Catholic Bishops Conference.
Most Reverend Boafo, on his part, noted the Christian bodies were alarmed over the development and decided not to sit for such things to continue, hence the engagement.
“We have come as heads of churches of the various associations and groupings in Ghana. As major stakeholders, when things become of concern, we are all to take it up and see how best we can find answers and resolutions,” he said.
Present at the meeting were the 2020 National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, National Chairman; Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Ajumako Enyan Essiam MP; Dr Ato Forson and Ahmed Ibrahim (MP for Banda).