Mrs Comfort Doyoe Ghansah, who is the MP for the Ada Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, was commenting on the incident in Kenya where the Speaker of Parliament in Kenya ordered security officers to drive a female MP, Mrs Zuleika Hassan, out of Parliament because she was carrying a baby.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, she said that what happened in Kenya is a wake-up call for Ghana’s Parliament to avoid an embarrassment.
Ghana has 38 female MPs out of the 275 MPs.
The Kenyan incident
Mrs Hassan brought her five-month-old baby to work because according to her she had a domestic emergency.
However, the rules of the House does not allow "strangers" into the Chamber. This includes children.
Speaker Christopher Omulele, therefore, ordered Mrs Hassan out of the Chamber and said that she could return without the baby. The female MPs walked out of Kenya's Parliament in solidarity with their colleague.
Definition of “Stranger” in the standing order of Ghana’s Parliament
Mrs Ghansah said that a change in the standing orders will encourage young politicians to contest for parliamentary seats and avoid any embarrassment to female MPs.
According to the Standing Orders of Ghana's Parliament, "Stranger” means any person other than the President, Vice-President, Mr Speaker, Ministers and Deputy Minister who are not members of the House, a member or an officer of the House.”
Mrs Cudjoe’s view
Mrs Cudjoe Ghansah, who is also the Second Deputy Minority Whip, explained that she could not condemn the Speaker’s action directly. She argued that if the Standing Orders categorized babies as strangers then Kenya’s Speaker of Parliament did the right thing.
She added that if the female MP had informed the leadership of Parliament before entering with the baby, then the Speaker could be faulted for driving her out with the baby.
She called on the female Kenyan MPs to initiate a process to change the standing orders where babies are not captured as strangers.