Davis Opoku

The General-Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has taken a swipe at the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mpraeso for initiating calls for his removal from the public gallery when he visited the House to observe proceedings on the approval of the 2022 budget.

Speaking on JoyNews’ The Probe, Mr Nketia said the act was simply a display of ignorance of the rules of the House.

“I was enjoying it when the MP for Mpraeso was shouting that I leave the gallery because he is someone who was displaying ignorance on the laws of the House,” he said.

Mr Nketia’s presence in Parliament on Friday, November 28, 2021, generated a lot of drama which eventually led to the rejection of the ‘Agyenkwa’ budget.

Johnson Asiedu Nketia, popularly known as General Mosquito, is a Ghanaian politician and the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress

What happened

The Majority in Parliament staged an unprecedented walkout during the approval of the 2022 budget. This followed the conclusion of the debate on the policy document.

Just before the question on the debate could be put before the House, the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta prayed the House to enable him to hold further consultations with the leadership of both sides of the House.

That was, however, turned down by the Minority and affirmed by the Speaker who argued that time had elapsed for such a request to be acceded to.

Subsequently, Speaker Alban Bagbin put a voice vote at the end of the debate, which saw members of the Minority out-voice their counterparts from the Majority side, per his assessment.

But Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin contested this and moved for the decision to be subjected to a division vote.

Ahead of this process, the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak demanded that the non-MPs including the Finance Minister excuse the MPs in order to facilitate an efficient division vote.

The Speaker agreed. While all non-MPs including the Finance Minister, Mr Ofori-Atta, Transport Minister, Ofori Asiamah, and a Minister of State in charge of Finance, Adu Boahen were being ushered out of the House, the Majority members also demanded that the NDC’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who was seated in the public gallery, be asked to do same.

This demand, which was initiated by the MP for Mpraeso, Davis Ansah Opoku, accompanied by noise and disorder was not honoured following which they walked out.

Mr Nketia believes that the Mpraeso MP’s move was because he was new in the House and had probably not acquainted himself with the rules of the House.

Asiedu Nketia’s reaction

“There were more than 20 people in the gallery and that’s supposed to be the public gallery; it’s a place where any member of the public who chooses to go and observe how his mandate given to his MP is being exercised is free to go and sit.

“So I believe the guy who was shouting has been less than eight months in the House and will need to be schooled on the Laws and the Standing Orders of the House so that he doesn’t embarrass himself next time in the House,” he said.

Worse of the noisemakers, according to him, was the Majority Leader who he said should have known better and called his people to order.

In a reaction, the Mpraeso MP who was also on the Probe justified his action. He indicated that his action was not unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin suspended sitting for five minutes to enable peace to prevail in the House. The Speaker’s decision to get the Finance Minister Mr Ofori-Atta out of the plenary got the NPP MPs’ incensed.

Speaker Bagbin later supervised a voice vote on the 2022 budget in the absence of the Majority Caucus and a unanimous vote was cast against the budget.