NDC MP reveals sabotage of referendum
Joseph Yileh Chireh
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Wa West, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, has stated that the Minority played a trick on the Majority on the processes for the referendum.
According to him, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) side of the House pushed its opponent to the point where it could not change, and “pulled a fast one on you.”
He stated these on the floor yesterday during a debate on the financial policy of the government for the year ending December 2020.
He interjected the MP for Nalerigu/Gambaga, who is also the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, who was responding to a claim that her ministry was not focused, and had also been downgraded, as some of its works had been assigned to different ministries like Sanitation.
She cited the upcoming referendum to make her point on the fact that her Ministry, and by extension, the government, was focused. Her argument on the referendum centered on advocacy for a consensus for a YES vote.
She debunked claims that the work of the Local Government Ministry had been given to the Sanitation Ministry.
According to her, per the President’s vision on sanitation, he needed a specific sector, adding that the Minister, through policy directions, works with the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), and that they work in harmony.
She, however, blamed the Minority, using the referendum, for instance, to point out that her outfit had stayed on course.
“Mr Speaker, if there’s anybody that has dampened the work of the Ministry of Local Government, it is this House, and in fact the Minority side. We have worked with you.
“Our focus was on the election of MMDCEs. We went through the processes with you. The referendum process, we went with you. We informed you at the committee level, and at each stage, it was brought to this House. You knew the processes. When it came to the amendment of Article 243 that was to allow for the election of MMDCEs, what was your argument? Your argument was that we wanted MMDCEs to be elected on a partisan basis. Go and look at the Hansard of 29th July. Speaker after speaker on this side indicated that, so we thought we had got a consensus with you. And we were moving towards that to ensure that we work on the referendum, only for you to turn around. The Ministry was focusing on the election of MMDCEs. So if you come today to say the ministry work is low, I am dumbfounded. I asked myself, is that what this side is telling us today? Am I hearing the right thing?”
At this point, the MP for Wa West, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, who was on his feet, caught the eye of the Speaker and was allowed to talk, during which he made the claim.
He said: “Mr Speaker, the Minister is saying something. She is claiming that we were all on board. We were playing them a trick. We pushed them to where they can’t change again, and we have pulled a fast one on you,” the House burst into laughter, including the Second Deputy Speaker, Alban Bagbin, who was in the chair ruled him “out of order.”
Disappointed Hajia then said: “Mr Speaker, the nation is listening. If you can sit here and take some decisions, and then you turn around only for you to tell us you were pushing us to the corner, the nation is listening and watching.”
Yieleh Chireh then stood to say that the U-turn was on the face of new information they had.
Rising on a point of order, on the Minister’s comments on Article 243, vis-a-vis the referendum question on Article 55 (3), referring them to the Hansard of July 29, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said his side stood by every word of the debate as indicated.
He said they are all “with her if she is walking on the path of Article 243, but the matter of the referendum question for the 53(3) is not a matter before the House.”
He said the Minority argued and still stood by it that the amendment of Article 55 (3) was not comprehensive enough for them to support it.
But, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, quoting Article 290 (2), said the Minority Leader was wrong to have said that the matter was not before the House.
He “thought the matter of Article 55 (3) not being before this House has been resolved.”