Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, says the minority in parliament hasn’t broken any law by boycotting President Akufo-Addo’s 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday, February 20.
The Minority which earlier announced they will be boycotting the sitting made their way out just as the national anthem ended.
Clad in black, they moved out repeating a part of the anthem that says ‘and help us to resist oppressors rule with all our will and might forever more’. Members of the majority side however sent off their colleagues with chants of ‘away’.
But justifying the minority MPs’ decision to walkout immediately after the national anthem ended, Alhassan Suhuyini, Tamale North MP, on GBC’s WEEKLY PRESS REVIEW on Friday, February 21, said: “We used one of the democratic means available to all adherents of democracy when they choose to express themselves, either in support or against a situation.”
“You will recall that only recently in the U.S., Speaker Nancy Pelosi adapting one of such tools (democratic tools), tore the speech of President Trump. Did she break any law?”
“That is what democracy is about. There are choices. All you need to do is that your choices shouldn’t break the law. And so, if you think something is so strong morally, you legislate on it. So when we say that maybe nobody should tear the President’s speech and it becomes law and you do that, then it’s wrong. But if Nancy Pelosi decided that after reading the speech, it was so meaningless to her and she tore it into two, what’s wrong with that?”
“It’s democracy and it’s free expression. Expression includes how you demonstrate your support or your condemnation against something. So one of the tools we adopted was the walkout.”
He also added: “We boycotted the event to highlight the undemocratic tendencies of our President.”
“We welcomed the guests that were all invited, and stood for the national anthem and only walked out after the national anthem in protest of what we consider tyrannical behavior of our President, the despotic leader that he is becoming under a democracy.”
“There is no democracy where free expression is not guaranteed. Plurality of the media is a sine qua non to a successful democracy. And clearly, the president and his government, in so many ways than one, have demonstrated their intolerance to a free media by clamping down on critical media houses.”
For his part, NPP National Communication Team Member, Fred Amankwah Sarfo, said the Minority boycott didn’t stop the President from delivering his State of the Nation Address.
Reacting to the MP’s views, he stated: “One of the things I have heard the NDC say was that the Electoral Commission’s desire to have a new voters’ register was one of the reasons the minority boycotted the State of the Nation Address.”
According to him, the decision to compile a new register is also application of the law.
This is not just another law, this is the constitution, he noted, adding that, the constitution is supreme to all other laws.
“So we were ready and support that there was a law being applied. Now another entity is applying a law and that is despotic by the president,” he questioned.
“I’m wondering where the president fits in for the decision of the Electoral Commission. I wished that they would say the Electoral Commission or the President had broken a particular law but they have not been able to do so,” he added.