The national energy crisis assumed an unexpected dimension yesterday as it led to the trading of insults between the Minister of Energy, Hon. Joseph Kofi Kowe Adda, and the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Edward Korbly Doe Adjaho, in Parliament House.
Mr. Adda, who was visibly angry, accused Doe Adjaho of chewing the ear of a policeman after the MP had described him as incompetent and the 'most confused minister'.
According to the minister, the ear-biting incident took place during the counting of ballots in an election.
The verbal war began after Mr Adda had presented a 21-page statement on the energy crisis and measures Government was taking to resolve it.
Soon after the 33-minute presentation, Hon. Adjaho, in his comment on the statement, described the minister as “the most confused minister in the country and should therefore resign.”
He explained that Mr Adda had been making some statements about the crisis in public which were inconsistent with what his outfit had told the law-making body.
The Deputy Minority Leader cited an instance in which the minister had made some pronouncements about the removal of the Osagyefo Barge from Efaso to Tema, which was in sharp contrast to what the House had been told.
It was at that juncture that the Member of Parliament (MP) for Adenta, Hon. Kwadwo Opare-Hammond, drew the Speaker's attention to the “unparliamentary” nature of Adjaho's diction with particular reference to his branding Adda “the most confused minister in the country.”
Had it not been for Adjaho's reiteration of the afore-mentioned phrase, the matter would have ended at that moment.
His repetition however brought the Majority chief whip, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, to his feet to protest Adjaho's use of “offensive language” in the House and called on him to retract the phrase, “the most confused minister.”
In response, Adjaho said:
“I don't know if they want me to withdraw the word 'confusion' and use 'incompetence.” That, as well, did not sit well with the Majority side, which quickly protested and asked Adjaho to retract the statement.
“If it is the word 'most' that they are not happy about, I will withdraw it,” Adjaho said amidst shouts of “shame, shame” from the Majority side.
On a point of order, the Energy Minister said he was very much appalled at the Deputy Minority Leader's description of him as “most confused” and that if anyone was confused, then it was Adjaho.
Adda, Adjaho and Hon. Moses Asaga of Nabdam were on their feet speaking simultaneously, with other MPs shouting while the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, kept screaming “order! order!”
When calm returned, the Speaker warned that if the confusion continued, he would ask for no more comments on the statement.
Adjaho then ended his comments with a call on the Minister to resign, as he had failed to find a solution to the nation's energy crisis, which had persisted for almost a year.
Other parliamentarians such as Alfred Agbesi also called for the minister's resignation.
On another point of order, the minister said Adjaho was rather the person to resign as an MP since he had allegedly “chewed a policeman's ear” during an election.
That allegation was the last straw that broke the camel's back, as it quickly brought Adjaho to his feet denying the allegation and calling on the minister to retract the statement and render an apology immediately.
When the Speaker asked the deputy leader to calm down because “we shall deal with that matter”, the minority side shouted, “now, now.”
The Majority Leader, Hon. Felix Owusu-Adjapong, and the deputy Minority Leader went out of the chamber briefly to come to a compromise on the matter while proceedings continued.
On their return, Adjaho threatened “to use the rules of this House to deal with” Adda if he did not retract the allegation and apologise accordingly.
Adda then said he would only retract the said allegation, which he read in the newspapers, if Adjaho did same as regards his earlier assertion.
The Speaker then asked the Energy Minister “to do the proper thing” in line with the rules of the House by retracting the allegation and apologising to Adjaho.
Adda then said: “Mr. Speaker, I apologise out of respect for you and not this…” Some minority members took exception to that statement and the Speaker told Adda: “Minister, you are to show respect to the whole House.”
Before that, the minister had told Adjaho that it was wrong for him to describe him as incompetent and the most confused as he had been a consultant for this country for several years in areas which had fetched the nation “hundreds of millions of dollars”, which Adjaho said was not germane to the issue, as his (Adda's) consultancy money “went to his own pocket”
The arrival of the minister in the House to present a statement on the energy crisis was initially opposed by the Minority side as it argued that it was improper for him to do so since a half hour motion on the matter had been slated for today, Friday, June 8, 2007.
The Minority described the minister's action as “an attempt to undermine the motion” as the statement was likely to pre-empt the debate that might take place.
By Sylvanus Nana Kumi