Former President John Mahama has claimed that the NPP government led by President Akufo-Addo did not consult him on the Electronic Transaction Levy Bill, popularly known as E-Levy.
The debate on whether E-Levy should be taken under a certificate of urgency on Monday sparked mass brawl among MPs on both sides of the House, sparking public outrage.
According to the former President, it was rather NPP strategist Gabby Asare Otchere Darko who held discussions with him on the E-Levy.
He posted on Facebook yesterday that, “President Akufo-Addo did not seek my intervention on the E-Levy impasse. I received Mr. Gabby Otchere Darko, at his request, at my residence on Tuesday, 21st December, 2021.”
“Among issues we discussed was the desire of Ghanaians to see the two major political parties working together for the interest of the nation. We discussed, also, how dialogue can be deployed to ensure Parliamentary issues are agreed consensually before coming on the floor to avoid what happened recently in the House,” he said, adding “We further discussed opening channels of communication between the leaders of the two parties including a possible meeting with the President at a future date.”
He said “at no time was there any discussion specifically about the President requiring my intervention in the impasse on the E-Levy.”
A source close to Gabby, who would neither confirm nor deny the meeting, said JM as the former President is affectionately called, and Gabby have been friends for over twenty years so it should not be strange if the two meet to discuss matters of such nature, considering the circumstances and how the country can develop in peace.
Brawl In The House
There was pandemonium on the floor of Parliament on Monday night when the E-Levy Bill was being voted upon by MPs.
After the melee, which has received wide condemnation, Majority Chief Whip and NPP Member of Parliament for Nsawam/Adoagyiri, Frank Annoh-Dompreh claimed that a Minority NDC MP allegedly slashed the face of Mustapha Ussif, NPP MP for Yagba/Kubori who doubles as the Minister of Youth and Sports, with a sharp object believed to be a blade on the floor of the House.
The MP said the whole commotion was started by the Minority MPs who moved closer to the Speaker’s seat in an attempt to snatch it and prevent further proceedings of the House.
This is not the first time the NDC MPs have tried to snatch the Speakers seat and even attack the mace as well.
According to Mr. Annoh-Dompreh, several Majority members were also heckled by the Minority MPs during the free-for-all fight.
In the case of the Sports Minister, he was seen receiving a hefty slap from a member on the Minority side.
This came as a result of the sit-in Speaker, Joseph Osei-Wusu’s announcement that he was going out of the chamber after the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, had earlier left the chamber unceremoniously.
The Majority Chief Whip said the Bekwai MP (Osei-Wusu) felt unwell and also decided to walk out and hand over to the second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah (Fomena), to take over the proceedings.
The move by the First Deputy Speaker (Osei-Wusu) got the unruly NDC MPs agitated once again and questioned his decision to vote after presiding over the night’s proceedings.
The NDC MPs then started amassing closer to the Speaker’s seat and issuing threats to the sit-in Speaker.
This also got the Majority side in Parliament to defend the First Deputy Speaker from being harmed and immediately Mr. Osei-Wusu handed over the presiding role to the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, fight broke out leading to Mustapha Ussif taking his share of the unruly action after he received a slap from an NDC MP.
The NDC MPs namely A.B.A Fuseini (Sagnarigu) and Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye (Odododiodio), walked over to the podium and attempted to grab the Speaker’s chair, but they were prevented by the members of the Majority Caucus.
The parliamentary security then jumped in to stop the disturbances and the House was compelled to adjourn abruptly.
The NDC has vowed to stop the E-Levy pegged at 1.75% and even though they claimed they rejected the budget, their MPs on the various committees were involved in the passage of the budget estimates of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the 2022 financial year.
While the ugly scenes were unfolding on the floor of Parliament, the whereabouts of the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin remained unknown, with the members of the Majority Caucus accusing him of unceremoniously leaving Parliament ahead of a crucial decision in order to give the Minority advantage.
The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu later said claims that the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Wusu left the Speaker’s seat to take part in voting on Monday night were untrue.
According to him, the First Deputy Speaker withdrew from the chair to take his medication and not to partake in the vote as the NDC tried to push.
The Majority Leader told the media that Mr. Osei-Wusu was indisposed and was ‘shaking like a leaf.’
“Is it the case that a Speaker can’t even excuse himself to visit the loo? Is it the case? The man was indisposed. He was shivering.
“And he went to the clinic, the record is there. So we had to persuade him to come and sit. He was in the chamber and he was shaking like a leaf,” he stressed.
In the absence of the main Speaker, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Majority Caucus prevailed on the First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
“We had to go and prevail on him to come and preside. Of course, if he’s presiding, given his own long tenure in Parliament, his own understanding of the rules and procedures in Parliament, we thought that he’d be able to navigate crisis periods much more with respect than the Second Deputy Speaker but it was getting too much for him.
“So he said he wanted to excuse himself to take his medication and then perhaps to come back if he felt okay, or perhaps maybe to sit somewhere,” the Majority Leader narrated.
He also said numerous calls he placed to Mr. Bagbin went unanswered.