Suspend physical sittings over COVID-19 infections – ACEPA to Parliament

File photo: Parliament of Ghana

After Ghana’s parliament recorded at least 70 COVID-19 infections, the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) has urged the leadership of the Legislature to adopt non-physical alternative to run the business of the House.

ACEPA argued it would be dangerous for MPs to physically attend sittings.

15 Members of Parliament tested positive for the Coronavirus disease. 51 staff of the parliamentary service have also tested positive for the virus.

This was discovered after a medical screening exercise was organized at parliament.

Executive Director of ACEPA, Dr. Rashid Draman told Accra-based Citi FM that Parliament could protect MPs by avoiding physical meetings.

In his view, working remotely is the way forward.

“Today, I think we all have learnt that it is possible to conduct business without being in a particular space. Over the last year, many people have conducted business sitting at their desks and their homes and many Parliaments around the world have done that. I don’t see why it is not possible here in Ghana,” Dr. Draman said.

Though Parliament has reduced sittings to twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Dr. Draman said: “I think they should go beyond that and employ the benefits of technology we have today.”

“All MPs have laptops. I believe most of them have computers in their homes. Just with the deployment of technology, I think it is possible to conduct the business of the house from their own individual space,” he added.

Parliament has already altered its normal proceedings by conducting its business in a tent situated at the forecourt of the house.

This arrangement is to allow for the observance of social distancing protocols in line with preventing COVID-19.

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