Even DCEs have security, why not MPs? – Minority Leader revives debate

Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, has revived a debate on the security of MPs following the killing of the Mfantseman MP, Ekow Hayford, Friday dawn.

As he expressed condolence with the bereaved family of MP for Mfantseman constituency, he called on the state to intervene to prevent a repeat of the incident on another MP.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South has suggested police attachment to each of the 275 legislators due to the threats on their lives.

He was of the view that Metropolitan/District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and ministers enjoy police defence hence legislators should not be excluded under any circumstance.

Addressing parliament, Mr Iddrisu said: “Mr Speaker, I should thank you for the opportunity but with a heavy heart with some difficulty accepting that this morning, we are without our colleague, Ekow Hayford.

Photo: The late Ekow Quansah Hayford

Describing the incident as “unacceptable”, he noted that the development should prompt parliament to make the security of legislators a primary concern.

He pointed out that members of Article 71 office holders under the constitution enjoy police protection and question why they have been omitted.

“Indeed, District Chief Executives are not higher, even in terms of political elevation, to members of parliament. Ministers of State are not above Members of Parliament by the constitutional framework,” he vented out.

He believes MPs are elected by citizens to represent them but ministers are only appointed.

To justice his demands, he revealed that ranking member of the Roads and Transport Committee, Kwame Agbodza and Chairman of Parliament’s Roads and Transport Committee, Mr Samuel Ayeh-Paye escaped death on November 3, 2019.

MP for Nhyiaeso Constituency, Kennedy Kankam, had also come face-to-face with death but survived narrowly, Mr Iddrisu narrated.

He said all Ghanaians must exist in the country knowing that they are being protected by the state but MPs “are only asking that due to the job they do, we are given personal protection”.

In his submission, he bemoaned refusal of the police to offer security in a letter dated October 6, 2020, after the Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye presented a formal request.

Mr Iddrisu said the letter was addressed by the Director-General of Administration at the Ghana Police Service, Dr George Akuffo Dampare.

In the response, the Majority Leader, Dr Dampare stated that considering the forthcoming elections, coupled with insecurity threats in some parts of the country, it will be difficult to provide additional permanent protection officers for the leadership of parliament.

“This is how we are treated as an institution,” he lamented.

He was concerned that the most important institution for any democracy would be robbed of protection.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has communicated his sympathy to parliament and indicated that he expects “the perpetrators of this gruesome, cruel act to book as soon as possible”.

But Mr Iddrisu wants action to be taken on assurances by President Nana Akufo-Addo to ensure maximum protection.

Mr Iddrisu further directed that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Minister for the Interior must produce details on the murder to the House and steps to address attacks on MPs.

“We need to know the circumstances leading to the murder of our colleague,” he demanded.

Ekow Quansah Hayford was been shot dead in a suspected case of contract killing at about 1 am on Friday, October 9.

By: Dave Alamisi

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