Maverick politician and NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, has been cited for contempt for calling the legislature a cheap and useless Assembly.
He has in the process, been hauled before the Privileges Committee of Parliament by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Joseph Osei Owusu, who presided over Wednesday’s sitting, for questioning, over his outburst which Members consider very denigrating.
Mr. Agypong, according to a complaint lodged on the floor of the House by the Minority Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, referred to Parliament a “Cheap” and “Useless House” without which it wouldn’t have had its leader in the person of Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
“Mr. Speaker, I have the video and tape here. Our colleague [Kennedy Agyapong] is referring to this House as a cheap and useless House and just to paraphrase that if this was not just useless, we will not have the like of our leader Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to be its leader. Mr. Speaker, I find this very offensive and unbecoming of a Member of Parliament and for the past week or so he has been on rampaging of insults.
Referring to Order 28 and Order 30(2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament, Hon. Muntaka pleaded with the Speaker to haul his colleague Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, before the Privileges Committee over his outburst which has brought the dignity of Parliament into disrepute.
“Mr. Speaker, Article 115 of the constitution gives everyone of us the right to air our views that are going on in our country – we can feel very strong about them but where we choose to attack individuals and call them names and the very institution that we ourselves belong to as if not this useless Parliament what is GH?11,000? Do we know how much he gives as ‘chop money’? But sadly so, Mr. Speaker, he doesn’t feed anybody here. Mr. Speaker, I think that this is a matter if you will permit me Order 28 of our Standing Orders which states that “An act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions or which obstructs Parliament or impedes a Member or officer of Parliament in the discharge of his duty or affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce such a result shall be contempt of Parliament”.
“Mr. Speaker, permit me to also read Order 30(2) which states that any act or omission which affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to bring the name of Parliament into disrepute” is contempt of Parliament. Mr. Speaker, I think this comment and insults not only on the Majority Leader and many other Members of Parliament, I think it is defamatory and I also think that it is contemptuous. Mr. Speaker, I want to come under Order 78 of the Standing Orders of Parliament which states that “Unless any Order otherwise provides, notice shall be given of any motion which is proposed to make, except the following (a) a motion relating to contempt of Parliament. I am coming under this to move that our honourable colleague, the Hon. Kennedy Agyapong be referred to the Privileges Committee on the basis of his utterances against this House; against the Majority Leader and against well meaning Ghanaians”, he pleaded with the Speaker.
Mr. Kennedy Agyapong sometime this week on National Agenda on Net2, a private television owned by the businessman himself, made disparaging remarks about Parliament and the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
In a video recording of the said program posted on YouTube, Mr. Agyapong is seen and heard calling the legislature a cheap Assembly which does not feed him. He also dared the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, not to disturb him with Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ story because if he does, he will disgrace him with evidence which shows that the ace investigative journalist is more corrupt than the people he has investigated over the years.
“If Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu dares me and I will produce the evidence against Anas, he will be disgraced. Do you know what I have? Does Kye-Mensah-Bonsu think that he is better than the Judge? Are you out of your mind? Parliament is rather cheap – Am I a small boy? Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is older than me but he hasn’t made it in life more than I do. I only respect him but if he dares me I will match him boot for boot. Parliament does not feed me. What is the GH?11,000 they are paying me for? I am daring Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to bring out the investigations which was done by Anas on Parliament. Is Parliament more than the Judiciary? Why did he show that of the Judiciary and refusing to show what he did about Parliament? I will fight for justice for everybody in this country. This is justice for all”, noted the Assin Central lawmaker.
His utterances have since then incurred the displeasure of Parliament with some Members throwing their support behind the Minority Whip for the House to haul the Assin Central MP before the Privileges Committee for questioning.
MP for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Adbulai B. Fuseini, commenting on the issue told the House that the utterances of the Assin Central lawmaker against the Majority Leader is in bad taste, stressing that if the country was practicing a Parliamentary democracy, Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu would have been the Prime Minister.
“Mr. Speaker, I don’t think we are that foolish. The 275 Members of Parliament including him are elected Members. To say that these 275 Members including him are foolish is to say that the people who have elected us are foolish people. And I don’t think that the people who elected Hon. Kennedy Agyapong are foolish people. To say that the 275 Members including the Speaker and the Clark are foolish people is to cast aspersions on our integrity”, he noted.
The Majority Chief Whip and MP for Sunyani East, Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh, on his part, said “what is contemptuous is contemptuous irrespective of who is making the contemptuous statement” but stressed that there is the need to give the Hon. Kennedy Agyapong the right to be heard over the issue.
Kennedy Agyapong should be heard
MP for Wa West, Hon. Yieleh Chireh, on his part said if Parliament wants to be respected; it ought to call its Members to Order. It is not something that we are conjecturing. Because of technology, ever since yesterday, he was threatening. Today, he has threatened and now he has poured out the venom on our leader. I think that we should give him the opportunity to appear before the Privileges Committee and either explain to us why all these. May be he will convince a few more people to his side for the wrong things that we are doing that we are stupid and whatever. I don’t think that we should just allow it like that otherwise it will look to me that if it was Black Rasta, we brought him here; when it was Prof. Dodoo, we brought him here and other people. So, I think that the invitation to appear before the Privileges Committee should be upheld by this House”, he noted.
The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Joseph Osei Owusu, having listened to the submissions of Members directed that Mr. Kennedy Agyapong is hauled before the Privileges Committee to determine whether the Assin Central lawmaker indeed uttered those disparaging remarks about the legislature and recommend appropriate sanctions against.
His ruling was based on Order 31 of the Standing Orders of the House which reads that “In all cases of proceedings where complaint is made of a breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament, Mr. Speaker may direct that the matter be referred to the Committee of Privileges”