Members of Ghana’s main opposition party National Democratic Congress (NDC) have called off their indefinite boycott of parliament, which they have been carrying on to protest a jail sentence imposed on one of their colleagues. Following a meeting in Accra Monday of the minority caucus, the members decided to end their boycott and return to parliament today (Tuesday).
Benjamin Kumbuor is an opposition-ranking member for defense in parliament. He said they decided to go back to parliament after considering all their options.
“When we went on the indefinite strike, we had and arrangement for our national executive committee, which is the neck of the party to keep reviewing development. As part of that review, there was a letter that was tend from our colleague who has been detained…he thought Ghana was bigger than him,” he said.
Kumbuor said their detained colleague pleaded with them to go back to parliament.
“He said from the development he was reading while in jail, he’s finding out that a number of things are being rushed through parliament in our absence. So in the interest of Ghana, he thinks we should go back and continue to join the debate whiles the struggle goes on,” Kumbuor noted.
He said some member of the opposition would be in court to support their detained colleague.
“So they reviewed it and decided that the day (Tuesday) that the application for bail pending would be held. So a number of us would be in court to listen to the argument whiles others would be on the floor of the house,” he said.
Kumbuor said those of them who would go to court would make it in time for parliamentary proceedings.
“We know how the court system works. We expect that the application should start to be heard by 9:00 am. And we believe that latest by 10:30, that application should be over and we should be back in parliament. Because parliament starts sitting in Ghana around 10am, I’m sure even those of us who would be in court might be earlier in the house than people who have not gone to court,” he said.
Kumbuor accused the ruling party of using the judicial system to persecute members of the opposition party.
“Definitely, we have a lot of background that most of the people do not have in relation to this particular charge of causing financial loss state and other related charges. The first things is that, you would remember the infamous statement that was made by J.H. Mensah that by the time they finish jailing all the NDC former ministers that party would have disintegrated,” he said.
Kumbuor said they have reason to believe that the prosecution of former ministers has political undertones.
“That was clear signal to us that they intend to use the judicial process as a way of decimating the party. And when you go at the major opposition party it means you are actually preparing the country for one party state…when you take all these things together, we think that this is what makes it difficult for us to appreciate that is politically motivated,” he said.