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15.12.2006 Politics

Members of Parliament request bodyguards

By JFM
Members of Parliament request bodyguards
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Members of Parliament have called on the leadership of the House to provide them with bodyguards and security at their residences.

They said the call had been necessitated by rampant thefts at their residences as well as threats to their lives.

The MPs who were debating the budgetary allocation for Parliament, said they had been living at the mercy of armed robbers and people who did not take kindly to their views on the floor of the House.

The MP for Ahafo-Ano South, Stephen Balado Manu who raised the matter in Parliament said as an interim measure, security ought to be provided at the MPs flats at Sakumono, where he said members were virtually living at the mercy of thieves.

“We debate a whole lot of issues and Members make contributions. Some of the contributions you make may hurt somebody in one way or the other, but if the person decides to revenge, he has every access to you because from the Chamber you are just walking about like any Ghanaian and he can accost you anywhere or hire people to hurt you if he so decides, there is no security. And even where we stay there is no security, now and then our vehicles are burgled, our rooms are burgled, because there is no security. Anybody can break into your room and take whatever he wants because there is no security there.”

He maintained that it wouldn't be out of place for MP's to be assigned police guards just as is done for Ministers. He said MPs stood a great danger of harm if for instance they spoke against the activities of chainsaw operators in their constituencies and the operators took offence and decided to harm them.

“It's a serious matter but because such a thing has never happened, we take things for granted.”

The House approved 219 billion cedis for the Office of Parliament. Other ministries and agencies whose allocations have been approved include the ministries of Energy, Tourism, Information and National Orientation as well as the Millennium Development Authority.

Meanwhile members of the public expressed mixed reactions to the MPs' call when they spoke to Joy News.

Some agreed that the MPs needed to be protected since they make laws that govern the country. According to them the security of the MPs would also ensure the security of the public.

But those who opposed the view said there was no need for parliamentarians to be given bodyguards and security at their residences but rather efforts ought to be made at safeguarding the security of the entire public.

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