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Chaos In Parliament Over Hannah Bissiw Comment
 
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28-Nov-2013  
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The Second day of the debate on the government’s 2014 financial policy and budget statement yesterday degenerated into chaos and emotional reactions when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Tano South, Dr. Hannah Louisa Bissiw, who is also the deputy minister for Food and Agriculture, referred to the Minority in Parliament as ‘abro’ meaning members of the opposition are agents of retrogression.

She said for the opposition in Parliament not to see anything good in the budget is like the proverbial mouse who because of ‘abro’ decides to eat bits of pepper on the farm of its archival even though pepper is not a delicacy of a mouse.

After her comment, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Kwabre East, Kofi Frimpong shot up angrily to question why Dr. Bissiw used the derogatory word to describe members of the opposition and impugned that they were ‘abro’ for speaking their minds on the budget.

“Mr. Speaker, I find it strange for the hon. Member on the other side to say that we on the Minority side are ’abro’ people for criticizing the financial policy of the government and if she does not know I must tell her that our duty as members of the opposition is to put the government on its toes and ensure that the right thing is done for the people of the country. We are not saboteurs and cannot be described as ‘abro’ people for doing our legitimate work as MPs,” Mr. Frimpong said angrily.

Mr. Kofi Frimpong’s intervention on a point of order sparked chaos and emotions in the House, as most Members of Parliament from the Majority side also defended their colleague while the Minority also backed Mr. Frimpong.

The Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho was so confused about the real meaning of the word, being a non-Akan.

Members of Minority and Majority battled each other as to whether Hon Bissiw had to withdraw her comments about the Minority or not.

Mr. Frimpong took the floor again and asked the speaker to put his feet down and ask Hon. Bissiw to withdraw her comments and apologize to the Minority because the ‘Twi’ language used in her contribution was not permissible per the standing orders of the House.

“Mr. Speaker, if you fail to direct that she withdraws her comments, I am afraid other members especially from the Minority side will also take a cue and also make similar derogatory statements about their colleagues and if you ask them to withdraw they would refuse to do that.”

The Speaker took offence at Mr. Frimpong’s comment and said “your comment is threat to the chair and you know I don’t take such threats,” he said, adding that as much as possible he had tried to be fair to all sides of the House.

In the course of the hullabaloo, the Majority leader, Dr Ben Kunbour tried to clam tempers down and asked Hon Bissiw to withdraw her statement but adamant Bissiw said she was ready to replace the word ‘abro’ with ‘woahyeda’ since according to her, her interpretation of the word ‘abro’ meant that the opposition people were intentionally refusing to recognize the good works of the government.

The Speaker, at this juncture, asked Hon Bissiw to completely withdraw every derogatory statement made in reference to the Minority which she eventually did.

After the dust had settled, the Speaker, Doe Adjaho confronted Hon Kwaku-Agyeman-Manu, NPP MP for Dormaa Central and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for casually making a comment that he (Speaker) had failed to recognize him because he did not want him to contribute to the debate.

The speaker, in a fit of anger, asked the First Deputy Speaker to take over proceedings and subsequently stormed out of Parliament.

Debate on the budget continues today.
 
 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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