14th Students’ Parliament Inaugurated

The University of Cape Coast (UCC) Students’ House of Parliament has been inaugurated with a call on Members of Parliament (MPs) to eschew absenteeism. The new Speaker, Rt. Hon. Awotunde Awosika, who said this during a handover and dinner ceremony, indicated that he would strictly enforce the Standing Orders of the House and advised members to acquit themselves honourably in order not to fall foul of the parliamentary rules. “I will enforce strict adherence to the Standing Orders, especially aspects that govern absenteeism in the House. The 14th Parliament is going to be a new age of students’ Parliament,” he added. The MPs were led by Speaker Awotunde Awosika to take the oath of Member of Parliament, as well as the oath of allegiance. This was after the new Speaker had been sworn into office by the outgoing Students’ Representative Council (SRC) Chief Justice, His Lordship Augustine Tankong. Rt. Hon. Awosika congratulated the members on winning their seats, averring that “It is a unique opportunity to serve our dear students.” He expressed optimism that the experienced student MPs would mentor their new colleagues and promised to encourage healthy debates in the Chamber next academic year. He urged the new MPs to keep abreast of parliamentary procedures so as to enable them contribute meaningfully to the business of the House. The SRC President, Mr. Tony Henry Arthur, congratulated the Speaker and student MPs on their elections and inauguration. He assured the House that he would change its status to Parliamentary Council to enable the House gets powers to hold the SRC accountable in all its activities. To this end, the SRC President said he would propose the idea before members of the SRC Executive Council at its first meeting for consideration so that it would be enshrined in the new SRC constitution, which was yet to be promulgated. Citations were presented to hardworking student MPs for their selfless contributions and sacrifices to the House during the academic year. Subsequently, the House suspended sitting to reconvene next academic year. The leadership of the 14th Parliament, which will run for one-academic year, include: First Deputy Speaker, Hon. Caleb Otabil; Second Deputy Speaker, Frank Kyei Baffour; Majority Leader, Frank Owusu; Minority Leader, David Mensah; Deputy Majority Leader, Nimako Akwaa Israel, and Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Asiedu Bekoe Luis. Among the dignitaries at the ceremony were a former Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Acheampong, and a former Majority Leader, Hon. Robert Ubindam. The UCC Students’ House of Parliament is a mock parliament of the National Parliament which discusses issues of students’ concern and channel them to the appropriate authorities for solutions. It is also non-partisan and members are selected to join either the Majority or Minority sides. In March, 2017, the UCC Students’ House of Parliament won the Commonwealth Day Debate Competition, organised by the Ghana House of Parliament at the International Conference Centre in Accra. The competition brought together student Parliamentarians from the University of Ghana (UG), University for Professional Studies (UPS), Islamic University and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The patron of the UCC House of Parliament is Prof. S.Y. Mensah, the immediate past Provost of the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.