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Financial Analyst Sydney Casely-Hayford has apologised and withdrawn his comments, which sought to cast a slur on parliament’s image.
The leading member of pressure group Occupy Ghana says he is looking forward to meeting the House to discuss other ideas he has about making the country’s legislature more efficient.
In an interview with Joy News’ Evans Mensah on Top Story programme Thursday, he said his comments were in line with advocating for a new paradigm of how parliament should be coordinated across the country.
“My delivery was that instead of having a single parliament sitting in the centre of Accra we should have ten regional parliaments where each parliament could manage the affairs of their region separately to take care of the need of their communities and localities.
“In the event, I got passionate and I might have used a few strong words here and there but basically it was about how parliament could work better.
“I must admit that on hindsight, I did go over the board and apology is in order because I was a bit extreme but it was a passionate delivery,” he said.
The outspoken anti-corruption campaigner Occupy Ghana said the legislative body has outlived its usefulness and “the first thing I will do if I had the opportunity, is to break down parliament. We don’t need it.”
Mr Hayford said the country would be better off saving money as the legislature only adds to the nation’s budget but does little to develop it.
He made the comments at a summit last Saturday on the topic ‘The Economic and Political Rise of Africa.’
Mr Hayford observed, “these people are sitting there, spending money like crazy, making stupid decisions, and passing stupid laws. They don’t read the papers that they are given, they don’t think through what the challenges are.”
“All they can think of is, let’s pass this thing quickly, let’s go to Senchi Royal, let’s go and sit there and chill and come back and that’s the pattern”, he added.
According to him, “maybe if we break it down we are wasting money but maybe we can use it as a tourist attraction, we can say, this is what we used to do in the past, so come for a tour.
“We should have regional parliaments, every region, we have 10 of them in Ghana, every region must have its own legal parliament, every region must have its own law courts, every region must have its ministries and down at that level, let the decisions be made as to where they want to go”, he said.
His comments have angered members of Parliament who are threatening to drag him before the Privileges Committee of Parliament.
Hayford later told Evans Mensah what happened was not in character of him “at all. It was not intended to insult or maim anyone in parliament, it was passion and nothing else.”
Enraged by the comments, Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak urged parliament to invite Mr Hayford to the House to answer for his “insulting comments” which he said impugned the integrity of the House and legislators.
Making the plea for Hayford to be brought before the Privileges Committee, Mubarak said on the floor of the House, Thursday, the comments are “not only an attack on the integrity of all members of Parliament, past and present “but it even bothers on promoting hatred and vandalism when he talked about breaking down parliament.”
He described the comments as “damn right offensive, they are outrightly benighted.”
“And coming from a man who seems discombobulated from the world he inhabits, his comments if allowed to pass will set a very bad precedent and create more room for people to impugn the reputation of this House.”
Following his pleas, the Speaker has referred the matter to the leadership of the House to consider its next move.
Mr Hayford said although he is “close” with the Kumbugu MP, he could not hide his surprise for his actions but “it is okay, somebody has to bring it up if he feels concerned about it.”
He said he would not mind appearing before the Parliament’s Privileges Committee adding, “I would be happy to have an opportunity to explain my position and render an apology for the way it came out.”