A heated clash unfolded within the walls of Ghana's Parliament during a debate on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021; commonly referred to as the anti-LGBTQ+ bill.
The incident occurred when the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee presented the bill to the plenary session.
As members from both sides of the aisle engaged in debate, the proceedings came to a halt when the deputy speaker intervened, requesting that the Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Murtala Mohammed, withdraw a statement he made regarding the MP for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu.
Although Murtala Mohammed did not address the microphone directly, his comment caught the attention of the speaker, prompting the deputy speaker to urge him to withdraw the statement. "Hon. Murtala, withdraw that statement you made; I heard you. Please just withdraw the statement," stated the deputy speaker.
In response, Murtala Mohammed argued that he had not made any official statement on record and therefore saw no reason to withdraw a passing comment.
He asserted, "Mr. Speaker, if the Hansard comes and whatever you said I said is in it... Mr. Speaker, if you think I said something, the honorable minister also said something. What did she say? She said I am mad."
Murtala Mohammed further emphasized that parliamentary conduct is governed by the Constitution and the standing orders of the House. He challenged the deputy speaker's request, stating that there was no provision in the rules stating that a statement made without being captured by the speaker should be considered a statement of the House.
He questioned the specific statement he was asked to withdraw, as multiple statements were made by himself and his colleagues throughout the debate.
Amidst the ongoing exchange, the Minority leader, Cassiel Ato Forson, intervened, acknowledging that Murtala Mohammed had allegedly made unparliamentary statements. He suggested that even if Murtala did not address the microphone directly, the speaker would have heard his comments. Therefore, he urged Murtala Mohammed to withdraw the statement.
Murtala Mohammed took the floor once more, asserting that it was also fair for Ursula Owusu to offer him an apology.
However, Ursula Owusu, visibly angered, responded, "Mr. Speaker, I sat here and repeatedly heard Murtala refer to me as an LGBTQ+ practitioner, to the hearing of everyone in this House. I sat here and repeatedly heard him. When you haven't seen me have sex with your wife, daughter, or mother, you sit there and refer to me in those terms," she expressed and reported by Ghanaweb