The National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) youth wing presented its petition to Parliament on Tuesday, July 6.
Both the Majority and Minority Leaders; Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu respectively received the petition on behalf of Speaker Alban Bagbin, who is currently out of the country.
According to Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Speaker of Parliament is attending to calls from a colleague in Nigeria, hence his absence.
“The Speaker of Parliament has had to respond to an invitation by his colleague in Nigeria and that is why you are not seeing him here. The Speaker is not by any means avoiding the demonstrators. That is the reason the Minority Leader and I are here to receive your petition for and on behalf of the institution and because it was addressed to the Speaker, we are receiving it for and on behalf of the Speaker,” the Majority Leader told the protesters.
The opposition party and its supporters took to the streets of Accra today to protest the “growing levels of insecurity, lawlessness, and impunity under the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government” and also demand social justice for the unemployed youth in the country.
The group marched from the Accra Mall to Jubilee House and the Parliament House to present its petitions for the grievances raised to be addressed.
Interacting with the protesters, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, gave the assurance that the grievances in the petition will be looked at and if need be, the security agencies will be called before the House to respond to the issues.
According to the Tamale South Member of Parliament, the misconduct of the military cannot be tolerated.
“Thank you very much for presenting the petition on behalf of the youth of Ghana. Our assurance to you is that Parliament will not fail the people of Ghana in demanding that right be done and right be done to safeguard the peace and stability of our country. Essentially, the unruly behaviour of the security agencies is not acceptable anywhere. We will look into it where it requires that we reach the security agencies of those concerns raised, Parliament will not hesitate in doing that.
“Freedom of expression is important and freedom to demonstrate is important in a democracy for the expression of legitimate grievances. Where you have come is the forum where these grievances will be digested. So you will hear from the Parliament of Ghana,” he stated.
He further noted that there will be a full debate after the Speaker of the House is apprised of the issues raised in the petition.
Also, the Majority Leader subscribed to Mr Iddrisu’s view on the need to protect the lives of civilians and thanked the protesters for embarking on a peaceful demonstration.
For Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, this action implies that democracy exists in the country although there is the need to strengthen some legislations.
“The right to demonstrate is guaranteed by the constitution. Every life in this country matters and the expression of our constitutional rights should not result in bloodletting and that is why I am happy you are here, that you have organised this peaceful demonstration and come to Parliament. (It) should suggest to everybody that democracy is working in Ghana. We are not a perfect democracy and those infractions must be dealt with in order to correct the system,” he concluded.