Walk-out, which was first introduced by the then Minority Leader, the late JH Mensah, during the Second Parliament of the Fourth Republic has become part and parcel of our parliamentary democracy. Though the then opposition, with just 65 members in the legislative house, was severely criticised for boycotting business in the Chamber, it was subsequently adopted by succeeding opposition parties and that has been the practice up to date.
The Chronicle does not, therefore, see anything wrong with the decision taken by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Tuesday, this week, to boycott the swearing in ceremony of the newly-elected Member for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Seyram Alhassan. After all, as we earlier indicated, it was introduced by the New Patriotic Party (NPP), so if others have adopted it and are also using it as a sign of protest, we do not think they have ruffled any feathers.
Our concern though, is the way and manner the NDC MPs threw decency to the dogs in the course of their protest and attacked the new MP in the full glare of television cameras. Ghana has tested customs and traditions introduced by our forefathers many, many, years ago, and, which are still binding on us today. Unfortunately, because of party politics, we no more observe these customs and traditions, which identify us first, as Africans, and second, as Ghanaians.
The description of Madam Seyram Alhassan as a ‘Bloody Widow’, which was openly displayed in the Chamber of the House is simply un-Ghanaian and ought not to have come from the lips of people society consider as honourable. Unfortunately, these NDC MPs were on the air yesterday justifying their action with more unprintable words. To them, the election that brought the lady to Parliament was bloody, and that since she is a widow, they put the two together, hence, the ‘Bloody Widow’ they were calling her.
This weird explanation is even an afterthought, having obviously realised that Ghanaians did not take kindly to the way they spewed out the two words (Bloody Widow) on the floor of the House. Almost all the civil society groups we have in this country came out to condemn the violence that occurred during the Ayawaso by-election, especially the attack on Sam George and others. But what the Minority members have done may even be harsher than the punishment meted out to some of their members during the said by election.
The Chronicle is, therefore, calling on the Haruna Iddrisu-led leadership to sincerely apologise to the lady to settle the issue once and for all. ‘Bloody Widow’ is a subjective word, which the Minority should not make any attempt to justify. Already, the National Women Organiser of the NDC, Dr Hannah Bissiw, had made it clear that she cannot call Seyram Alhassan a ‘Bloody Widow.’ Even though she went ahead to give her opponent a new name whilst speaking on Angel TV morning show yesterday, we think she did the honorable thing by refusing to follow what her sitting MPs were doing in the legislative house.
We hope Mr Haruna and his colleagues will listen to what Ghanaians are saying by withdrawing the offending words and apologise to Seyram Alhassan as sign of respect for our culture, which we all cherish.