Minority challenges Speaker over ‘bloody widow’ comment; refuses to apologise

The Minority has refused to apologise to the new Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Lydia Alhasssan.
Madam Alhassan won last Thursday’s by-elections by a landslide but her colleagues on the other side are not in favour of the election process, and her election.
They accused government of sending thugs on them and innocent voters after Ningo-Prampram MP Samuel George was assaulted by so-called officers from National Security.
After boycotting the polls and demanding immediate justice for their colleague, the Minority on Tuesday stormed out of Parliament when the new MP was being sworn in.
As they walked out of the House, they held placards with the inscription, ‘Bloody Widow’ signifying their disgust for the new MP they have threatened to ignore in the House if nothing is done about their concerns.
Madam Alhassan was sworn in regardless. And while that was being done, the NDC MPs marched to the Police Headquarters to demand justice for their colleague and many other innocent voters, who in their view, were treated unfairly during the by-election.
A section of the public has condemned the Minority for their behaviour towards the new MP and called on them to apologise to the new MP.
But the Minority will have none of that. Not even after the First Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Owusu who performing the role of Speaker in the absence of Prof Mike Ocquaye, asked them to.
Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo who was in Parliament and reported on the drama that ensued between the Minority and the Speaker when he made the demand for an apology for their behaviour.
The Speaker described the ‘bloody widow’, comment as unparliamentary.
Reading out sections of Parliament’s Standing Orders on the conduct of members, he chastised the MPs for their unruly behaviour towards the new MP, describing it contempt of the House.
“In this debate, we have demonstrated how insensitive we can be towards other members. We have attempted to redefine what we mean by ‘bloody widow’.
“We have tried to use Bible verses to try to either justify or castigate the other side…Has anybody made an allegation against the candidate? Nobody has alleged that she did anything untoward herself, so why do we make her a target of our anger, ridiculing and embarrassing her,” the Joe Osei Owusu queried.
He criticised the Minority for trying to create the impression that the new member is ‘bloody’, adding “I am not impressed by the attempt to change the definition of what we meant.
“So I think it is proper that I asked the leadership of the minority on behalf of the minority, to apologise to her,” he added.
His request was met with a loud ‘No’.

Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi said the Speaker’s demand cannot be met, adding that it was against the Standing Orders.
“Mr Speaker, it will be difficult for the leadership of the Minority to apologise on behalf of the Minority. We have used placards in this Chamber countless times. To the extent that a former president was on the floor here and we used placards.

“Most of the times that placards are used in the House, their use is not sanctioned by the leadership of the various caucuses. So if we can identify, Mr A or B – which will be difficult to do - it will be difficult for the leadership of Minority to render an apology on behalf of the Minority.
“We do not have such rules in this House,” Mr Avedzi added, urging the Speaker to reconsider his ruling.
The Speaker did, ordering the Clark to review video footages of Tuesday’s proceedings and identify the MPs who used the placards.
He said they will be referred to the Privileges Committee where they will be dealt with for their behaviour.

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