By Frederick E. Aggrey .
Rt Hon. Professor Michael Aaron Oquaye, Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, has expressed his dissatisfaction at the mode of arrest of Collins Dauda, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asutifi South by armed Ghana Police Service personnel.
According to the Speaker, the house of the member, in both his constituency and in Accra, have been searched by personnel believed to be from the Ghana Police Service, adding that the mode employed by the personnel was communicated to him by members of the House as not being in consonance with Parliamentary privileges.
He further gave strong direction to the police not to invade, or appear to invade, the premises of any Member of Parliament, especially, in a manner that would raise unnecessary difficulties for Ghana.
He reiterated that Members of Parliament are not above the law, however, “the privileges given to them by the Constitution, which we have all agreed to abide by, must be protected.”
He further indicated that there was considerable deliberation on this at the pre-sitting meeting of the House, where the members expressed their displeasure over the incident.
He, therefore, reminded all and sundry that “the privileges of this House has been clearly set out in the Constitution of Ghana,” and that “it applies to all members on whichever side and at all times, and in all circumstances. Those in charge of security are also very much aware of this.”
He admitted that the members of the House are also not above the law, but stated that all that parliamentarians ask for is “not to be taken by surprise, or not to be treated in a manner that would not be consistent with the dignity that an honourable Member of Parliament should be attended to.”
According to the Speaker, that is the essence of their Parliamentary privileges, hence, their “query in such circumstances,” which, of course, “we know has arisen from time to time, and our stance would continue to be the same, with regard to emphasising our privileges, which is universal and attendant to the work given to us by the people.”
“We want to put it on record that, in future, the leadership of the House and the Speaker of the House should be informed of all such issues, so that it can be done with the appropriate decency.”
He reiterated that when any invitation is required by the security agencies, it must be done rightfully, and that the appropriate member would attend to the appropriate invitation at the highest office, preferably the Commissioner of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in charge of investigations.
Meanwhile, Members of Parliament, through the Minority Leader, expressed their strong reservations at the treatment meted to their colleague by the police personnel, warning that the Minority was capable of responding to such threats.