The chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Josephine Nkrumah, says Members of Parliament who have contracted COVID-19 should be arrested if they insist on coming to the chamber.
The suggestion comes after the revelation by the Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, that some MPs, staff and journalists who have tested positive for the coronavirus are still reporting to work in defiance of the safety protocols which require them to self-isolate.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has consequently ordered another round of mandatory COVID-19 testing for those who could not be captured in the first two exercises.
Speaking to Francis Abban on The Morning Starr on Monday, Mrs Nkrumah said it is irresponsible for legislators with the virus to continue to endanger the lives of others.
“I think it is downright preposterous and irresponsible. I think people should be made to answer for why they are endangering other lives.
“I don’t understand why some of the MPs have chosen to lament about it. It is almost nonsensical to think that this is going on.
“Personally, I can’t believe that somebody has COVID-19 and is still walking around. How do you convince your constituents that this is real? I think honestly they must be brought to book. None of us is above the law.
“The Speaker of Parliament should call them to order and insist that they self-isolate. They shouldn’t be allowed into the chamber. And if they insist, the security agencies should pick them [up].”
Meanwhile, the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) says Parliament has failed to provide leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Speaking on Starr Today on Friday 12 June 2020, the executive director of ACEPA, Dr Rasheed Draman, said the latest development in Parliament sends the wrong message to Ghanaians.
“It sends all the wrong signals. You tell us citizens, observe social distancing, when you have the virus self-isolate; people are coming into the country that are infected and are quarantined; so on and so forth. And then we have Members of Parliament who have the virus and they are not self-isolating, they are not being quarantined, just so as to avoid the spread of the virus. I mean, it’s sad …”
Dr Draman reminded the legislators of the havoc COVID-19 is wreaking in Burundi, East Africa. Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, is rumoured to have died after contracting coronavirus but the rumours have not been confirmed as government officials there emphasise that Nkurunziza died of cardiac arrest.