Former President John Mahama has backed the strong stance taken by Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislators against the E-Levy, calling the MPs’ campaign against the unpopular tax a “fight for democracy.”
Speaking to the clergy at his office in Accra on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, the former President, who is tipped to stage a comeback as President in 2024, said the opposition of the Minority Group against the proposed tax regime, which led to a brawl in Parliament, was a fight to prevent an unconstitutional decision by the Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration.
The meeting at the former President’s office was made up of a delegation from top leaders of various church groups and associations in Ghana.
Mr Mahama told the church leaders, who said they were on a “peace mission” to find a resolution to “what is happening to us in our country”, that Ghanaians have made it clear that they do not want the E-Levy, and the Minority Group’s push back is a reflection of what the people want.
Led by the Most Reverend Paul K. Boafo, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, the delegation included representatives from the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, and the Catholic Bishops Conference.
Most Rev. Paul Boafo told the former President who was joined by the National Chairman of the NDC Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, NDC 2020 Running Mate Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Dr Ato Forson (MP for Ajumako Enyan Esiam), and Ahmed Ibrahim (MP for Banda) that they were on a peace mission.
“We have come as heads of churches of the various associations and groupings in Ghana. As major stakeholders, when things become of concern, we are all to take it up and see how best we can find answers and resolutions…
“Getting to the last quarter of last year, we all experienced what our country has never experienced before. It came to the hilt when they were about closing with the introduction of the budget and E-levy and what went on the last but one day of parliament were exchanges resulting in some fight and all that. The churches or the Christian bodies became alarmed and we said we will not sit,” he said.
But in his response, President Mahama said “that fight was a fight for democracy. There is no way a Speaker can sit in the chair, relinquish the chair, let somebody else come and sit in it and take a vote in something that he has presided over. The constitution is clear”.
The former President disagreed with suggestions that the Minority should have allowed the process to continue and prevent the fracas.
“It was felt that our MPs should sit timidly and let them pass this unconstitutionality. It won’t happen”, he stressed.
“There is a lot that is happening in this country that if we don’t intervene, it would upset our democracy. The Fourth Republic has been the most enduring and we must protect it” he added.
Before Parliament recessed for the Christmas holidays, a tussle broke out following what the NDC MPs say was an unconstitutional action by the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu during debate and voting on the Electronic Transactions Bill.
Mr Osei-Owusu joined the Majority to cast a vote in support of the bill that will impose a tax of 1.5% on mobile money and some bank transactions.