Parliament of Ghana is leading by example in this times of Coronavirus outbreak, following the confirmation of cases in the country and the measures and the announcement of measures being taken by officialdom to ensure that there are no further spread of the virus locally. Before business begun on the Floor on Monday, March 23, 2020, the Speaker of the House, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, announced measures to ensure social distancing between MPs while in the House.
“For the time being, we will want to let one seat in between every two MPs so that we sit in a way that will be healthy for us and also we will showing a good example for our country men and women because of our stature as Members of this Honorable House.”
He also indicated that the House is working on the idea of moving Parliament to a wider space such as the International Conference Center temporarily, while he also seized the opportunity to rekindle his advocacy for a new Chamber for Parliament.
“Meanwhile, as the Majority Leader suggested the other day we are in the process of making all relevant arrangements if we can relocate temporarily to the Conference Center. Of course with the permission of the Executive and carry on with our business there.
“And maybe these things will make the people realize that Parliament really is in need of a more spacious space to do the business that we are mandated to do. So in future all these things will be considered accordingly,” he said.
Ever since the first announcement of confirmed cases in the country, the Parliament of Ghana under the directive of Speaker Michael Oquaye, has taken a number of precautionary measures aimed at managing the possible spread of the disease in and around the precincts of Parliament.
In the first few days, the Speaker ordered for hand sanitizers to be provided at vantage points within the precincts of Parliament. This was carried out with alacrity and by the next day there were hand sanitizers affix to the walls around the halls, the lobby and foyer of Parliament.
This was followed with the supply of nose mask to every Member of Parliament, all staff members and members of the media working in the precincts of Parliament. While a direction was given to MPs and staff members returning from official assignments from outside Ghana to self quarantine for a mandatory period of two weeks.
And now, Parliament has taken it upon itself to practice social distancing by maintaining some distance between two MPs while they continue to provide their services to the nation.
However, some critics don’t think these measures taken by Parliament are enough in the sense that it undermines the President’s directive to ban all social gathering which brings together more than 25 people.
According to the MP for Ajumako/Ryan/Essiam, Cassiel Ato Baah Forson who spoke to Africanewsradio.com in an interview, Parliament should have shut down by now. In his view, is being reckless and unnecessarily endangering the lives of the people.
He observed, “what Parliament is currently considering is not of an urgent nature and we should not be risking the lives of MPs doing what is not urgent. This is unnecessary.”