The exchanges were concerning the proposed restriction of strategic product imports into the country, which has both the majority and minority sides of parliament divided as the latter has raised objections.
Sit down; you're in parliament, not your ministry – Bagbin orders Ursula [video]
A dramatic banter between the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin and Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful ended embarrassingly after the former ordered the latter to sit down, reminding her that she was in parliament, and not in her ministry.
During a debate by both sides of the House, Ursula caught the Speaker's attention and when she rose, she questioned why the House was deliberating on the L.I. before it had been formally laid before them.
“Mr. Speaker, I believe that the L.I. has not been laid. So I have no idea what they are debating in this House today. There is nothing before the House. So, as you indicated to the minister that we are not yet there, I was of the opinion that you would tell my colleagues on the other side that there is nothing before us,” Ursula said.
While she was making her submission, the Speaker interjected, asking: “Hon. Minister, were you here from the very beginning?” to which Ursula Owusu-Ekuful responded, “No, I have been here since morning, even before the prayer.”
The Speaker further questioned her, saying, “Then why did you say no? Do you really listen to yourself when you are talking?” Ursula responded: “Yes, I do.”
The Speaker interjected again, saying, “If you were here from the very beginning, and I asked if you were here from the very first beginning, you said no. Then you continue, and now you are telling me you were here even before I entered. So, it meant you were not listening to yourself.”
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who is also the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, being her defensive self wouldn’t allow Bagbin to get away with his assertion.
“This is the first time I am appearing in the House this week. I have been here since the beginning of proceedings today, and I do listen to myself very carefully,” she stated.
Her explanation didn’t convince the Speaker and he stated that Ursula was speaking absentmindedly, saying: “I don’t think so,” to which Ursula said he was entitled to his opinion.
It was at this point that Bagbin appeared to have lost his cool and said: “Hon. Minister, this is not the Ministry of Communication; this is parliament. Resume your seat!”
Ursula resumed her seat immediately without uttering any further word.
Later, the Speaker explained that he raised the issue about the proposed Legislative Instrument (L.I.) seeking to restrict strategic product imports, on the floor after the Minister of Trade, Kobina Tahir Hammond, presented the case to him. He added that he thought it prudent to hear from the House although the L.I. had not yet been laid.
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