FONKAR And GAME In Parliament

GHANA’S PARLIAMENT was a spectacle to behold yesterday morning as the current competition between Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings (FONKAR) and Get Atta Mills Endorsed (GAME) was virtually carried to the floor of the House. It all started when some ministers of state including those holding Health; and Environment, Science and Technology portfolios, failed to turn up in Parliament to assist in the work of the House, virtually stalling the business of the legislature. Registering his displeasure with the conduct of the ministers, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi, insinuated that the ministers were absent because they were busily ‘gaming’, indicating that the ministers who were all said to be members of GAME were running around the country to outwit members of FONKAR, in order to get President Mills elected as the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer for 2012 general elections. However, E.T. Mensah, MP for Ningo/Prampram and Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, protested against the assertion by the Sekondi MP, saying the claim was not true. However, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, who is also a former minister of state in the Kufuor administration, stood his grounds, albeit on a friendly note, saying E.T. Mensah was a leader of GAME and therefore could not be oblivious of the current happenings within the ruling NDC. Adding more humour to the debate, MP for Ayawaso West Wagon Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, who is also a gender activist, said as far as she was aware, E.T. Mensah was a member of SADAM (Sons and Daughters of Atta Mills) and not just GAME, generating laughter in the House. The House had to adjourn abruptly after the FONKAR and GAME issue, as some ministers were not present to assist in carrying out the business for the day. Minister for Environment, Science, Technology Sherry Ayitey was expected to answer five questions, for which the House had been programmed for her, but unfortunately she was ‘missing in action’. The minister was to inform the House about the measures her ministry had instituted to control the black fly nuisance which is threatening the smooth implementation of the Bui Hydroelectric Project. She was also, among others, expected to answer urgent question on how the people who had been adversely affected by the spillage of cyanide from Newmont Ghana Limited’s operations in the Asutifi North, benefitted from the payment of GH˘7 million by the mining giants. A number of legislators including Joseph Osei-Owusu and Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, MPs for Bekwai and Manhyia respectively, expressed their frustration about the way the business of Parliament was sometimes held up by Ministers of state who were supposed to appear before the House to either answer questions, or help in the consideration of crucial bills.