A section of the Members of Parliament breached the COVID-19 protocols on social gathering and held a dance party to end a three-day training on processes and proceedings of Parliament for new MPs at the Aqua Safari resort in Ada.
In photos recently published on the official Facebook page of the Parliament of Ghana, (pictures now taken down for reasons only known to themselves), the MPs from both sides of the House were seen dancing joyfully on the floor which showed no social distancing between them.
In the president’s 23rd nation address on COVID-19, aired on Sunday, January 31, 2021, he barred everyone from organising any social gathering such as parties, funerals or weddings if the people will be more than 25.
The workshop for parliamentarians ended on Monday, February 8, 2021, puts the function after the ban on such activities per the directive of the President.
The dance party was attended by Mr. Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of the Parliament, including Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, Clerk of Parliament and some former MPs and other invited guests.
By their action, this has become a matter of great concern especially when Speaker Alban Bagbin, only a few days ago had admonished the MPs to take the COVID-19 safety protocols seriously and strictly adhere to them in the light of some members who had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Even in the House, some members are afflicted by the COVID-19. You may not know who the person is and because of the protocol issues of confidentiality, we are not disclosing those who are now COVID-19 victims. But we have some of us in that category,” he said.
It will also be recalled that there were reports in the media that some MPs were unwilling to go for COVID-19 tests during a three-day health screening exercise organised by Parliament for them.
The reports indicated that less than a third of the House participated in the free COVID-19 testing, forcing the exercise to be extended.
Hon. Joseph Osei Owusu, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament also revealed in a statement read in Parliament saying;
“Some Members of Parliament who have, in fact, tested positive to the COVID are still coming to the Chamber. Mr. Speaker wishes me to inform you that if those members do not withdraw and isolate, he will be forced to publish the names of members who have tested positive in order to warn the rest of us.”
But despite all these precautions voiced out in the House, they still disregarded the President’s directive and went ahead to party after the workshop.
In the light of rising cases of COVID-19 in the country the President in his 23rd address to the nation declared:
“Until further notice, funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performance and parties are banned. Private burials with not more than 25 people can take place with the enforcement of the social distancing, hygiene and mask-wearing protocols. Beaches, nightclubs, cinemas and pubs continue to be shut. Our borders by land and sea remain closed. All workplaces, public and private must implore a shift system for workers in addition to the use of virtual platforms for business or work.”
“Conferences and workshops can take place with all the appropriate protocols. However, I encourage the use of virtual platforms for such engagements. Restaurants should provide takeaway services and should as much as possible avoid seated services.
The National Sports Authority and the Ghana Football Association should ensure compliance with the 25 per cent capacity rule with spectators respecting the social distancing rule and the wearing of the mask.” he said.