True to his word during an interview on dropping the ceremonial cloak the Speaker is supposed to wear during parliamentary proceedings, the Right Honorable Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin heralded the first sitting of the year’s parliamentary session with the regalia of a Ghanaian chief.
The Speaker commenting on his outfit during his welcome speech encouraged the legislators to join in depicting the Ghanaian culture by saying, “We must showcase it and market it to the world as a brand and create a unique set of values and norms that will give a unique character to our Parliament and set it apart from the colonial legacies of the British system and my outfit today as the Speaker and the presiding officer is to set in motion that agenda.”
He further added that “the practice of Members of Parliament decently dressed in traditional attire led by the Speaker is long long overdue. Ghanaians accept representation of the people to include the representation of the full identity of the Ghanaian, that is, the culture, tradition and more importantly their dress code. I am glad that this decision resonates with some propositions of the first President of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and other founding members of the first Parliament of the first republic. The dress code of members of the National Assembly of independent Ghana was Native Costume .’’
The Speaker was also wondering how we got it wrong as a people referring to the first speaker of independent Ghana Joseph Richard Asiedu who practised it, he explained that Speaker’s ceremonial wear is to distinguish him from the legislators and to reflect the pomp and pageantry of special national occasions and not meant to be the daily apparel of the Speaker even the British had abandoned this code stressing that they are not a walk in the park on this matter on a journey of renaissance and transformation alone we have a lot of followers and supporters in this matter adding that “I invite all of you to wear Ghana, Eat Ghana, Grow Ghana and Transform Ghana,” he said.
He added, “I will want to see more Members of Parliament decently adorn in traditional attire” he then called on both the Majority and Minority Chief Whips to enforce the dress code, while commending members who have been practising it for a long time.
Mr. Bagbin urged them to dig into the weal of their innate wisdom to do this in peace, joy, love and respect for diversity in cultures in ways of dressing in the country.
Being the first sitting of the year, the Speaker seized the opportunity to advise and caution both sides of the house while also stressing that Ghanaians need to be more tolerant of what happens in Parliament
He revealed that per the results of the 2020 elections a new negotiation order has been birthed in Parliament, cautioning that the era where the Majority marshals its numerical strength to push government policies leaving no space for deliberations and compromise is no more and also added that the blind opposition and obstruction is gone.
Making the clarion call to legislators to embrace the new era by thinking of our dear nation first and not political party first.
The Speaker hinted that he will not hesitate to whip on legislators who will not embrace this new era since it is all now about cooperation