We’ll resist mobile phone ban in Chamber of Parliament – Sampson Ahi

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Sefwi Bodi in the Western North Region, Mr Sampson Ahi has said the Minority Members of Parliament (MP) will resist the proposal to ban mobile phone use in the Chamber of Parliament.

To him, MPs were not “school children” for the Majority Leader to be imposing his wishes on them.

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on Thursday announced on the floor that MPs will soon be banned from using mobile phones during proceedings in the Chamber,

He said the ban will take effect once the legislative body “adopts and accepts the reviewed Standing Orders.”

Read also: Why Parliament wants to ban MPs from mobile phone use in the Chamber

But responding to the proposal in an interaction with journalists, Mr Ahi said they will resist it.

“…we’ll not accept that, we’ll resist that. He [Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu] cannot impose his wishes on us, we are not school children,” Mr Ahi said.

He maintained that if it is incorporated in the new Standing Orders, “it will be voted down.”

To Mr Ahi, the Majority Leader, who was spearheading the proposal himself was a culprit of receiving mobile phone calls in the Chamber whilst proceedings are ongoing.

He argued that the noise that comes with even heckling on the floor of Parliament cannot be compared to making phone calls in the Chamber.

“Have you ever seen a Member of Parliament receiving a call in the Chamber and then speaking out of his voice as against heckling on the floor. I’m not sure what he [Majority Leader] is talking about is anything to be considered,” he said.

Read also: Why Parliament wants to ban MPs from mobile phone use in the Chamber

Graphic Online’s Nana Konadu Agyeman reported from Parliament that the Majority Leader, who was responding to questions raised by some MPs about matters related to Parliamentary proceedings on Thursday?, recalled how a popular television station showed the manner legislators fidgeted with their phones when serious business was taking place on the floor of the House.

“Mr Speaker, I believe the House must make a determination of this and let me emphasize, that it is the reason why it is being proposed that the next Parliament, in fact, once we accept and adopt the reviewed Standing Orders, no Member of Parliament will be allowed to bring a cell phone into this Chamber,” he said.

“We need to demonstrate seriousness”

“We need to demonstrate seriousness in this House. When the President of the Republic is talking, Members of Parliament are fidgeting with their phones.

“When the Minister responsible for Finance comes here, members are fidgeting with their phones. When questions are asked and ministers are providing answers, members are fidgeting with their phones.

“It does not tell a good story about us. Mr Speaker, let us be honest with ourselves,” he stated.

There should be order

The Majority Leader told the House that the Parliament of Ghana was not the only Parliament in the world.

He explained that there were established Parliaments in the world where legislators were not allowed to go to Parliament with their cell phones.

“That should be the order. Mr Speaker, we shall apply this religiously once we adopt these Standing Orders,” he emphasised.