Manhyia South MP Matthew Opoku Prempeh says the demand for state protection for parliamentarians can no longer be trivialized following the murder of Abuakwa North MP JB Danquah-Adu.
He said Joseph Boakye Danquah-Adu’s fatal stabbing in his bedroom last Tuesday dawn has added to several dangerous, though not tragic, attacks on MPs.
“In a short while in parliament, not less than seven MPs have been attacked in the bosom of their bedrooms which could have easily ended up in murder”, he said on Multi TV/Joy FM Newsfile Saturday.
Picking out examples of MPs who have found themselves in harm’s way, the Manhyia South MP popularly known as 'Napo' recalled that Lower Akim West MP Gifty Klenam was attacked by five armed robbers right in her bedroom.
“Benita Owusu Bio was sleeping on the bed when armed robbers entered the bedroom” and MP for Atwima Mponua Isaac Asiamah Kwame was robbed twice in his bedroom, the out-spoken MP said.
Napo mentioned that Abokobi-Madina MP Alhaji Sorogho and Bia West MP Michael Kofi Boampong have all been robbed.
Matthew Opoku Prempeh said the ‘excuse’ made in sections of the public, that improved general security will translate into better security for MPs is unsustainable because Prime Ministers have been shot dead in countries with better general security.
According to the Manhyia South MP, many more MPs have had to hire security men for their private protection, a situation he considered unfair.
The 1992 constitution under Article 71 lists certain public office holders who are required to be protected by the state. It includes ministers, judges and parliamentarians.
But Matthew Opoku Prempeh suggested that between the executive, parliament and the judiciary, MPs have suffered discrimination when it comes to security entitlements. Judges and ministers plus their deputies have police protection but the MP is left to take care of his security, Napo lamented.
Making a comparison, Matthew Opoku Prempeh said “the cost of replacing an MP is probably 10 times more than replacing a cabinet minister because you have to go and do a bye-election”.
“Ask all governments the cost of conducting a bye-election” the MP built his case for state protection.
Joining in the discussion, veteran journalist Kweku Baako Jnr, a panelist on the news analysis programme also backed the MP’s call for protection.
He said those against the provision of security for MPs usually consider the expense involved in protecting 275 MPs, a figure deemed too huge and hence too expensive.But rejecting this basis, Kweku Baako described it as populist.
“Populist nonsense must give way to popular sense” Baako quoted former President Jerry John Rawlings.
Deputy Communications minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu assured MPs, it is “not beyond the capacity of the state” to foot the bill for the protection of parliamentarians.
He pointed out that the security at parliament house is too lax.
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