The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli/Kaleo, Alban Bagbin, has shot down an attempt by members of his party to politicize the recruitment of private security personnel by the Marshall Department of parliament to beef up security in the house.
Some minority members, including MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga; MP for Adaklu, Kwame Agbodza Governs and MP for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak, have allegedly gone on air to criticize the recruitment, saying that those who are being recruited to be trained as security personnel in parliament are members of the Invincible Forces – a group affiliated to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP)
The minority members said that unless the backgrounds of those being recruited are made public, they cannot guarantee the safety of NDC MPs in parliament if those being recruited are employed.
The minority members further argued that the policemen attached to parliament could do the work of those being recruited.
But speaking to the issue on the floor of the house yesterday after the second deputy majority chief whip, Moses Anim, had raised the matter, Bagbin, who is the longest serving MP, said the NDC MPs were being too partisan on the issue and that their arguments were misplaced.
According to Mr Bagbin, the Parliamentary Service Board, which endorses recruitment of parliamentary staff, has the exclusive right to sanction any recruitment into the Service.
He said that since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1993 when he came to parliament, it had always been the Parliamentary Service Board that had given the authority for the recruitment of private security people to beef up security.
He said when recruitment is being done, advertisement is placed in the newspapers and people are recruited based on their qualifications and not on political lines.
According to Mr Bagbin, it is very wrong for the minority members to say that those being recruited belong to a certain group.
According to him, it is also wrong for matters that could affect the image of parliament as an institution to be discussed on radio stations by members.
He said if the image of parliament is brought into disrepute, the image of members is also affected.
Mr Bagbin, therefore, cautioned against what he termed the ‘rumour mongering’ attitude of MPs that affect the image of parliament, adding that members must always help to protect the image of the institution and not unnecessarily bring its image down.
The majority leader, Osei Kye-Mensah-Bonsu, said that the internal security of parliament rests with the Marshall Department.
According to him, the Parliamentary Service Board sanctioned the recruitment of 50 people for the security department but about 23 had been recruited and trained.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said there are certain areas in parliament that police personnel cannot be stationed to work, particularly in the chamber and offices of MPs.
He said even before police services were provided to parliament as an institution in 2015, it had always relied on private security people for internal security and so the minority must not unnecessarily polticise such recruitments.