Chaotic scenes erupted after the ruling party MP attempted to grab the ballot box during the vote for the speaker of parliament.
Ghanaian soldiers intervened overnight to quell a clash between opposing parties in parliament ahead of the body’s oath scheduled for Thursday, witnesses said.
Chaotic scenes erupted after a ruling party MP attempted to grab the ballot box during the vote for the speaker of parliament. The ensuing clash lasted for several hours until the military intervened, with national television broadcasting the drama live.
“There has been a total collapse of law and order,” said MP-elect Kwame Twumasi Ampofo of the opposition National Democratic Congress. “To see a member of Parliament and a Minister of State snatch ballots… was so shameful.
The new parliament will be practically split in the middle between the two main parties, posing a risk of deadlock with key issues on the agenda, including how to turn around an economy hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was narrowly re-elected in the vote on December 27, will also be sworn in on Thursday.
His new patriotic party lost 32 seats in the 275-member parliament.
Ghana stands out as a stable democracy in unstable West Africa, although the elections were marked by accusations of opposition fraud and five people died in the violence.
Observers, both Ghanaian and foreign, viewed the ballot as generally free and fair, but controversies remain over the work of the electoral commission.
More than a dozen opposition MPs were accused of illegal assembly on Monday after protesting against the election results.
Footage from the nightly confrontation in parliament showed some of the lawmakers screaming and scuffling with their rivals.
“It’s a bad story. We have to bow our heads in shame, ”said ABA Fuseini, another new opposition MP.
“They thought they could call on the military to intimidate us, but we will resist it. The whole world was watching and everyone had to be worried. It is testimony that Nana Akufo-Addo did not win the election, ”he added.
Samuel Abu Jinapor, an elected member of Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP), described the events in parliament as “complete disorder”.
The NPP won 137 seats in the 275-member parliament, after losing 32 in the election, leaving it equal to the 137 held by the NDC.
Only one independent won the remaining seat.
On Wednesday, an NDC MP was suspended for legal reasons due to his dual nationality, which brought the opposition ranks down to 136.
Severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the West African nation of 30 million people is expected to see its economic growth fall this year to its lowest level in 30 years, at 0.9%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF ), compared to 6.5%. in 2019.
The government also faces the urgent task of bringing the growing debt under control, which exceeded 70% of gross domestic product (GDP) in September.
“If we don’t see a consensus building, I can bet we will see the NDC make life very difficult for the executive for the next four years,” said Rasheed Draman, executive director of the African Center for Parliamentary Affairs. . .