The Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, says the Minority in Parliament is not ready to back down on its decision to abandon the legislature in solidarity with two of their colleagues facing criminal charges in the courts.

The Minority members boycotted parliamentary proceedings on Thursday, July 6, to solidarise with their leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson and Assin North MP, James Gyakye Quayson over their respective trials. 

Speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story on Thursday, Mr Ablakwa said the Minority members will only resume full duties if the persecution of their members is halted.

“We are saying that we now have to scale up, we are no longer going to adopt the business-as-usual approach. If they would stop the persecution, if they will stop the witch-hunt, then we can sit down and build consensus,” he told Evans Mensah.

The NDC accused President Nana Akufo-Addo of making prejudicial comments about the Assin North MP, James Gyakye Quayson’s criminal trial prior to his re-election at the bye-election.

While campaigning for Charles Opoku, the President urged the people of Assin North not to make a mistake by voting for the NDC’s parliamentary candidate in the bye-election. 

The President suggested that Mr Quayson cannot deliver on the duties expected of him as a Member of Parliament because he could end up in jail due to the criminal trial he is facing, leaving the constituency without an MP. 

On the back of these comments, Mr Ablakwa said “after listening to the President, it is so clear that this is a kangaroo process, this is a political witch-hunt and there is a clear attempt to prosecute political opponents, particularly in the era of hung Parliament so that they can weigh their options in a bye-election and see if they can snatch the seat and get a comfortable majority.”

The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said although the Minority is not enthused about neglecting their parliamentary duties, they have no option under the circumstances.

He, however, stated that the rank and file of the party and their constituents are backing them up on their resolution.

“Since the Minority Leader’s announcement, I can assure you that I was in the constituency over the weekend and I arrived to a rousing welcome…they say that it’s even been too long in coming,” he said.

About the respective cases

Dr Ato Forson is facing a trial in relation an alleged financial loss of €2.37 million to the state. The case involves a deal to purchase 200 ambulances between 2014 and 2016.

Mr Quayson is being tried for forgery and perjury after he was charged by the Attorney-General’s Office.

He is also accused of deceiving a public officer and knowingly making a false declaration when he filed nominations to contest in the 2020 election when he had not renounced his Canadian citizenship.

However, he has filed a motion on notice at the High Court for a stay of proceedings, pending an appeal.