Economist Kwame Pianim, well-known in his field, has voiced his opinion that Members of Parliament (MPs) who choose to boycott their parliamentary duties as a form of protest should not receive their allowances. According to Pianim, a parliamentarian should not be involved in boycotting parliamentary sessions, and those who do so should face the consequence of losing their allowances.
During an appearance on News 360 on TV3 on July 19, Pianim expressed his concern that the burden of certain issues is being placed on the relatively young judiciary, which he believes is unfair.
His remarks were made in response to the recent decision by the Minority in Parliament to abstain from attending sessions as a way of protesting the trial of Assin North Member of Parliament, James Gyakye Quayson.
The Minority explained that their action was prompted by what they perceived as government-led “persecution” of Mr. Quayson. The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, had requested that Hon. James Gyakye Quayson be tried on a daily basis, despite pending applications before the Court of Appeal against the daily trial. The High Court’s ruling to continue with the daily trial further fueled the Minority’s decision to boycott parliamentary proceedings.
The recent rulings of the High Court have put Hon. James Gyakye Quayson in a situation reminiscent of his position before the Assin North Constituency by-election, as he is now required to appear in court every week day for trial. This situation has raised concerns about his ability to attend to his parliamentary duties and effectively represent the people of Assin North.
The Minority in Parliament is expressing their worry about the limited time Hon. Quayson will have to handle parliamentary business if he is consistently in court. As a result, they are considering all available options to defend and protect their colleague.
Hon. James Gyakye Quayson holds a unique distinction as the only person to have been elected twice within a single parliamentary term. Initially winning the 2020 Parliamentary election in the Assin North Constituency, the Supreme Court later declared the election null and void after two and a half years. Subsequently, a by-election was triggered, which he won again with an overwhelming 57.56% of the votes on the 27th of a certain month.
On July 18, the Accra High Court dismissed Mr. Quayson’s application to stay proceedings and halt his criminal trial until the outcome of the appeal at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
During the criminal trial of Mr. Quayson, the court allowed for the cross-examination of the prosecution’s first witness to proceed. However, one of Mr. Quayson’s lawyers, Abraham Amaliba, raised doubts about the credibility of the prosecution’s witness.
Amaliba pointed out that the witness had taken an oath, stating that his statement was written in English. However, during the cross-examination, it was revealed that the witness actually spoke in Twi (a local language) when presented with his own statement, and this was recorded. Amaliba argued that this raised concerns about the witness’s credibility and mindset.
In Amaliba’s opinion, the prosecution’s first witness did not provide helpful testimony for their case, as his inconsistency regarding the language used in his statement brought his credibility into question. This development occurred after the court hearing on Tuesday, July 18.