Politics

E-levy Bill: “If it takes fisticuffs to defend the constitution, so be it” – Asiedu Nketia

The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has defended the incidents of violence in Parliament over the last two months.

Speaking in an interview with Blessed Sogah on The Pulse on Monday, the NDC’s chief scribe stated that, the mayhem by the country’s legislature has been for a good cause.

According, to him, since there was no way to prevent the abuse of the constitution by the Majority, it was necessary for the Minority to deploy moderate force to keep the constitution from being violated.

“I think that what is happening in Parliament is good. Because you see, I participated in writing the constitution, and we put in there that every citizen must fight and protect the constitution with all your mind, with your heart and with everything. So at any point in time, whether it takes fisticuffs to defend the constitution, so be it. Fighting may not be good, but it is worse to sit down unconcerned and allowed your constitution to be [disregarded] .

So for instance where you have a Speaker who the constitution denies a vote while sitting, if someone decides that despite what has been provided in the constitution, he is going to have a vote, and then influence a decision, then they have no option. And so yes, I’m endorsing it fully. Not violence. When the police are arresting a criminal, don’t they apply violence? They do. This is reasonable force. This is to prevent the abuse of the constitution”, Asiedu Nketia said.

He also added that, “What happens on the floor of Parliament has nothing to do with Parliamentary Service Board. I have been a member of Parliament for twelve years. I’m speaking from my experience and I’m saying that when you come to a point where there’s no other option to prevent the abuse of the constitution and you need to use this type of activity to make sure that the constitution is respected, I will endorse it.

Those who are condemning this, has anybody, put forward any suggestion that could have prevented the Deputy Speaker from presiding and also casting a vote, against the cosntitution? If anybody presents any solution like that, I’ll go for it. But so far nobody. All our lawyers that we have. The problem is that when you’re there and you allow this type of voting to happen, it becomes law. And there’s no court that will change it”, he emphasised.

Commenting on the deadlock in Parliament on the E-levy Bill, Asiedu Nketia, said the government cannot blame anyone, especially the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, for the delay in having the Electronic Levy bill (E-Levy) passed.

According to him, Speaker Alban Bagbin, since the resumption of Parliament in 2022 had been in the House expecting the government to put the bill up for discussion and subsequent voting. In his view, it is the government that delayed the discussion till the Speaker had to seek medical attention.

“The Speaker has done absolutely nothing. There are people who are reneging on their responsibility and they want a scapegoat, so they get out there blaming the Speaker, blaming the Minority, blaming everybody but themselves Again, the Speaker was available all week. It had been announced that the E-levy would be taken on the 25th of January and the Speaker was in the house from 25th to 29th. So, what were they doing? If the Speaker has to leave because of a medical situation, you are now blaming him, when he was here with your 138”, he stated.

Meanwhile, government is having relevant stakeholder engagements to deepen consensus on the matter. According to the Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, the levy when implemented will help government raise enough money to improve development across various sectors of the economy.

But the Minority is still not convinced about the 1.75% E-levy, thus their decision to fight against its implementation.


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