Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the MP for Effutu, has justified the military presence on the floor of parliament during the election of a Speaker for the 8th Parliament in the early hours of January 7, 2021.
According to him, the Marshalls in Parliament who were to give protection to every individual in parliament were helpless at the time.
“The rioting must be looked at and I am surprised that their flagbearer did not issue any statement condemning the conduct of his party,” Afenyo-Markin said. “House of Parliament is for MPs. Ordinarily, the security of parliamentarians within the chamber is provided by the Marshalls. We have police officers, some of them sit at the gallery…they are there to protect us.
“All of us were in danger, the Marshalls were helpless. One of the Marshalls was hit, he fell, he was pushed, he was helpless. The police officers were helpless. The Table Office Head was hit… the Clerk himself was hit when he was taking the order to Haruna Iddrisu. So, if the view is that under those prevailing circumstances, there was no such requirement for a further boost because things had escalated, and if anybody is saying that, at that point, there was no need to boost or beef up security then I’m afraid, that person would not be acting fairly,” the Deputy Leader of the NPP caucus in parliament explained in a Citi News interview on Tuesday, January 12, monitored by GhanaWeb.
The soldiers on the day entered when calm had been restored and a few NDC MPs were insisting on the constitutional requirement for a “secret ballot”, by asking that the ballot box and the poll booth be moved to a more secure location.
The Marshall had not made a judgement call to invite soldiers. Even the police present in the chamber were not armed and observed proceedings under the direction of the Marshall.
Afenyo-Markin added: “All of us were in an escalated state of insecurity and I’ve underscored the fact that, Marshalls themselves were being threatened, assaulted, molested and disrespected by the NDC MPs-elect […] the state of insecurity as was created is a matter that requires further interrogation and if for nothing at all security officers coming in to, as it were, protect us and to help in ensuring sanity must be construed to mean they were all there to work together with the Marshalls to ensure the peace of House floor.”
Afenyo-Markin further stated: “Don’t look at the form, look at the substance. Did they come in to molest one side against the other?”
When asked if he supports a probe into how the military entered the chamber, Afenyo-Markin obfuscated: “For me, anything that as [a] parliament we can do to ensure decency going forward, we must. The House has what it takes to ensure law and order. I’m sure that now that there is a Speaker, it does not require a third person to make such a call; it is for the Speaker and Leaders to come to a certain understanding of how to go about things going forward.”
Some armed military officers entered Ghana’s parliament to break up a scuffle between rival lawmakers when the Clerk of Parliament called on the MPs-elect to secretly vote for a Speaker for the 8th Parliament hours before President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was due to be sworn in on Thursday, January 7, 2021.
The December 7 elections left a hung parliament, without a dominant party to push through the appointment of a Speaker.
MPs were seen on live TV, many of them unmasked, pushing and shoving before some military officers entered the chamber. Ranks of MPs then faced each other and chanted over a dividing line of masked soldiers and police.
Eventually, Alban Bagbin, the NDC candidate was voted in as a Speaker for Ghana’s 8th Parliament.