Minority members from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament yesterday came to the chamber in their numbers but ironically refused to participate in the debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by the President Akufo-Addo last Thursday.
The NDC Members of Parliament (MPs) caused a stir when they boycotted the SONA, sparking heated debate on the legality and propriety of their action.
When Parliament sat yesterday to start debating the SONA, the NDC MPs once again boycotted the process.
This prompted the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Effutu in the Central Region, Alex Afenyo-Markin, to describe the NDC MPs as 'irresponsible' MPs.
After the motion for the debate had been moved by Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who is the NPP MP for Ofoase Ayirebi, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, asked the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, whether any of the Minority members was ready to second the motion as the rules of the House demand.
Mohammed Muntaka said the Minority members were not ready to participate in the debate after the boycott of SONA, stressing that it is the 'principled' position of the Minority to abstain from the debate having boycotted the address itself.
From an unimpeachable source, contrary to the decision by Minority members in Parliament, their party, NDC, wanted them to participate in the debate but the Minority Chief Whip in speaking to the parliamentary press later on said that they took the decision as an independent wing of the party to continue to register their protest against the compilation of a new voters' register and suppression of freedom of speech in the country.
Mr. Afenyo-Markin, in his contribution to the debate, described the position of the Minority as very 'irresponsible' having been voted by their constituents to speak for them in Parliament.
According to the Effutu MP, for the Minority to come to the chamber and not to participate in the activities there in relation to the SONA for the benefit of their constituent is even most 'irresponsible.'
Mr. Afenyo-Markin continued to lambast the Minority members for shirking their constitutional duty, stressing that Ghanaians should not make the mistake to give power back to the NDC to roll back the progressive achievements made by the NPP government under President Akufo-Addo which had significantly improved socio-economic status of the poor in the society.
He challenged any of the Minority members to speak on the floor and tell the whole nation anyone of them who had not benefitted from the numerous social intervention programmes implemented by the Akufo-Addo government.
In the heat, the Minority Chief Whip spoke to the media on the sidelines, saying that they might reconsider their position and if there is the need to participate in the debate because it is only the wise that change his or her mind.
He said that for the time being, members would be speaking to the media on some important points in the debate while they would round it up with a press conference on the true state of the nation under President Akufo-Addo.