The Chairperson of theNational Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Josephine Nkrumah, has said it is “damn right irresponsible and preposterous” for MPs diagnosed with COVID-19 to keep mingling with their other colleagues at the chamber.
Last week, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu expressed worry and frustration about the manner in which some MPs, parliamentary staff and journalists who have been identified as having had contacts with some MPs and parliamentary staff who tested positive for COVID-19, still troop to the legislature to freely mingle with the rest of them even though they are yet to have the results of their tests relayed to them.
Complaining about it to the Speaker on the floor of parliament on Friday, 12 June 2020, the Suame MP complained that those people are putting the rest of them in danger of contracting the disease.
According to him, even though the affected MPs, parliamentary staff and journalists have been advised to stay away from the house, they are not heeding that counsel.
Their intransigence, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, may compel parliament to do another round of mandatory test of everyone in the house.
“The arrangement was that anybody who, unfortunately, tested positive, will not be openly identified but that the testing team will have the arrangement to contact them behind the curtain and have the situation managed”, he said, noting: “Mr Speaker, that has been the arrangement but unfortunately, some people have elected, after contact has been made to them, to ignore the appeal from the team and they visit parliament and endanger the lives of all of us.”
“The issue, Mr Speaker is: if you’ve submitted yourselves and tested negative as some of us have, it doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. If anybody tests positive and comes close to you, chances are that you may contract the disease. It goes for everybody”, he warned.
“We want to appeal to honourable members, to the staff and to journalists who have been contacted behind the curtain and who are not submitting themselves to the testing team, you are imperilling the life of all of us,” he complained.
Reacting to the issue, the NCCE boss said: “I think it is damn right preposterous and irresponsible. I think people should be made to answer for why they are endangering other lives.I don’t understand why some of the MPs have chosen to lament about it. It is almost nonsensical to think that this is going on.”
“Personally, I can’t believe that somebody hasCOVID-19and is still walking around. How do you convince your constituents that this is real? I think honestly they must be brought to book, none of us is above the law. The speaker of parliament should call them to order and insist that they self-isolate. They shouldn’t be allowed into the chamber. And if they insist the security agencies should pick them,” she told Accra-based Starr FM.