Former President John Mahama has called for a probe into the invasion of Parliament by armed soldiers and the snatching of ballot papers by the MP for Tema West, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, amidst the chaotic standoff between the two main parties – the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – during the election of a Speaker for the 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
The process got chaotic when NDC MPs-elect took over the majority side of the house and the Clerk of Parliament barred court-injuncted MP-elect for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, from taking part in the voting process for a Speaker.
Amidst the melee, Asawase MP Muntaka Mubarak snatched a ballot box and subsequently, Mr Ahenkorah snatched ballot papers, as they were being counted to determine which of the two candidates for Speaker – Prof Mike Oquaye and Alban Bagbin – won the race.
In a statement congratulating Mr Bagbin for emerging winner of the Speaker race, Mr Mahama, who lost the 2020 presidential election, said: “The events of last night stretching into the morning of 7th January have been both a great occasion for Ghana’s democracy and at the same time a day of infamy, which will go down as a low point in our democratic practice”.
Specifically, he said: “The attempt to snatch ballot papers by the MP-elect for Tema West and the invasion of the Chamber by armed military personnel are images one had never expected to see in our 4th Republican Parliament”.
“The recent use of the military in civil democratic processes has become a major worry and gives the impression that this administration is continually seeking to resurrect the exorcised ghosts of our military past. Parliament must conduct an investigation into the two incidents and exact appropriate sanctions”.
In his view, “the election of Speaker Bagbin affirms what a great democracy we can build for ourselves and how dialogue and consensus-building can make us even stronger as a nation”.
“Congratulations to the leadership of the NDC Caucus and the Caucus members for your dedication and commitment”.