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Statement Disrupts Tamale Forum

2005-07-15 13:34:55
This article has been read 967 times.

“My friends in the minority are intellectually dishonest”. This seemingly harmless statement was what derailed the hitherto successful forum held on the proposed People’s Representation and Whistle Blowers Bill in Tamale.

And when the contributor was being persuaded to withdraw the statement by a participant,hell broke loose,leading to a cacophony of noise,heckling,casting of insinuations and throwing of chairs.

It took the intervention of security personnel present and some elders to persuade the agitated participants to let reason prevail.

However,when it became apparent that the forum could not continue as most of the audience had left,the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs also left amid hooting by some people who later boycotted the snacks that was served them.

The forum formed part of a nation-wide programme by the committee to solicit views and suggestions from the public in the various regions on the proposed People’s Representative and the Whistle Blowers Bill that were before Parliament.

The forum that had already been held in Wa in the Upper West Region and Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region had, however,been boycotted by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament.

Earlier,the People’s National Convention(PNC)MP for Zebilla,Mr John Akparibo Ndebugri,who is also a member of the select committee was prevented from speaking on the proposed bills by some participants in spite of the incessant pleas from his colleagues.

They hooted and jeered at him while others said “Nde, you are a stomach politician and a liar.”The chairman of the committee,Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh,expressed his disappointment over the incident,saying “it is very unfortunate that this successful meeting had to be marred this way.”

He said democracy was also about freedom of expression and that talking about different views and opinions was always a better alternative to quarrels.

Mr Osei-Prempeh, therefore,called on the youth in the area to learn to tolerate each other on matters of national importance instead of fighting among themselves at the least provocation.

Deliberating earlier on the proposed bills, some of the participants suggested the need for the Electoral Commission(EC)to establish their offices in various countries.

While some also saw the need for the bill to be passed to enable all Ghanaians in the diaspora to exercise their franchise,others kicked against it,as according to them it would create a platform for electoral fraud.

On the Whistle Blowers Bill, some participants entreated the police to offer adequate protection to informants by not disclosing their identity.

source: graphic

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