“One of the ways people bond with each other is through music and dance. After a hard two day’s work, new Members of Parliament took to the dance floor to release some stress,” caption to the photos read.
There was no social distancing.
By that below-par behaviour, the MPs have not only defied the president but have also undermined the law passed by Parliament based on which the president issued the COVID-19 directives.
The president’s televised 23rd COVID-19 address on Sunday 31 January 2021 barred anyone from organising parties, funerals or weddings.
The workshop for parliamentarians ended on Monday, 08 February 2021, which clearly means that the party took place after the president’s directives.
The workshop preceding the dance party was attended by Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of the 8th Parliament; Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Leader; Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader; Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, Clerk to Parliament and some former MPs and experts.
The attitude of the legislators is a great concern especially when Alban Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament, admonished the MPs to take COVID-19 safety protocols seriously and strictly adhere to them because some members have tested positive for COVID-19.
“Even in the House, some members are afflicted by the COVID-19. You may not know who the person is and because of the protocol issues of confidentiality, we are not disclosing those who are now COVID-19 victims. But we have some of us in that category,” Bagbin said.
There were reports in the media that some MPs were unwilling to go for COVID-19 tests during a three-day health screening exercise organised for the MPs.
The reports indicated that less than a third of the House participated in the free COVID-19 testing, forcing the exercise to be extended.
In a subsequent reportage, Joseph Osei Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament revealed: “Some Members of Parliament who have, in fact, tested positive to the COVID are still coming to the Chamber. Mr Speaker wishes me to inform you that if those members do not withdraw and isolate, he will be forced to publish the names of members who have tested positive in order to warn the rest of us.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo during his 23rd broadcast to the nation since Ghana recorded its first two cases of COVID-19 in March 2020 reimposed the ban on public gatherings as part of measures to contain the rise in COVID-19 cases in Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo in his address declared: “Until further notice, funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performance and parties are banned. Private burials with not more than 25 people can take place with the enforcement of the social distancing, hygiene and mask-wearing protocols. Beaches, nightclubs, cinemas and pubs continue to be shut. Our borders by land and sea remain closed. All workplaces, public and private must implore a shift system for workers in addition to the use of virtual platforms for business or work.”
The president added: “Conferences and workshops can take place with all the appropriate protocols. However, I encourage the use of virtual platforms for such engagements. Restaurants should provide takeaway services and should as much as possible avoid seated services. The National Sports Authority and the Ghana Football Association should ensure compliance with the 25 per cent capacity rule with spectators respecting the social distancing rule and the wearing of the mask.”
Check out the MPs on the dance floor: