Despite his superior authority, Speaker of Parliament Rev Prof Ambassador Aaron Michael Oquaye on Wednesday did not mace the faces of the very nice Ghanaian and American legislators in the august House.
He fatherly guided proceedings to a successful conclusion, and with a new mallet, gifted to the House from US House Speaker Nancy Patricia Pelosi, as memento, gavelled his desk, declaring “order,” and suspended proceedings to the admiration of the beautifully togged out legislators.
Pelosi, the California Democrat, the first U.S. House Speaker to address Ghana’s Parliament, accompanied by a delegation which included members of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus, arrived in Ghana on Sunday.
They had met Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and visited Elmina Castle and the “Door of No Return” at Cape Coast Castle. Both were slave forts where people were shipped in chains to the New World.
It is 400 years after the first ship of enslaved Africans, including; those from Ghana, a significant place of origin for enslaved Africans in the Americas.
President Akufo-Addo last year in October 2018, in Washington DC launched a year-long commemorative initiative called “The Year of Return”, to encourage people of African ancestry to make the birthright journey home for the global African family and to visit the West African nation.
An emotional Pelosi, tearfully recollected the cruelty of the slave trade and condemned the “grave evil”, acknowledging the past, while looking into the future.
The friendship between Ghana and the United States of America continues to grow. “God bless Ghana. God bless the United States of America” Pelosi said, adding “May God bless our beautiful partnership.”
Pelosi is back in the US, far away from Ghana, and the House would also adjourn sine die on Friday, August 2, 2019, for the people’s representatives to take a two-month rest from their almost three-months of very hard work.
As the House waited for Speaker Pelosi and her entourage to arrive on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, both the Ghanaian and American flags, with their stars, colours and stripes, stood excitedly, brightly lit and blowing out full in the wind off the masts standing the forecourt of the Speaker’s Block at the Parliament House.
The fountain in front of the Chamber Block spewed water into the atmosphere as some security persons stood sentry and others scanned visitors to the august house for the historic occasion.
And at 1020 hours, there were shouts of “Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker” to herald the arrival of Speaker Oquaye and his special guest, as the drums tamtammed, throbbing to indicate the entrance of the two Speakers into the chamber.
Very soon, the Marshal of Parliament, with the mace at the shoulder, led a retinue of Clerks at Table, with the two Speakers, through the entrance where Presidents and Special Guests to the House passed into the Chamber.
Led by his host, Speaker Pelosi, wasted no time in shaking hands with Special Invited Guests former President Jerry Rawlings, and wife Konadu, former Speaker of Parliament Edward Korbly Doe Adjaho and former Clerk of Parliament and former Board Chairman of the Ghana New Agency Nana Rex Owusu-Ansah, after which the 79 year-old of the better-half of Paul Pelosi.
The mother of five adult children, and last of six children who took to politics from her father Thomas “Tommy” J. D’Alesandro Jr. a former legislator from the Little Italy section of Baltimore at the same U.S. House of Representatives, sporting a yellow beautiful dress, with a nice bead as necklace, was guided tenderly to the royal sofa awaiting her on the Speaker’s dais.
Speaker then said: “Honourable Members, prayers” and beseeched God to look with favour upon the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, his pour his blessings on Ghana.
As he called and introduced the members acknowledging of the US delegation, the Ghanaian members acknowledged them with “hear, hear”, but that of the acknowledgement of Chair of the Ways and Means Committee attracted louder “hear, hear.”
A cross section of the public, including; political party leaders, public administrators, diplomatic corps members, traditional rulers and students in the public gallery listened with rapt attention, and the shutters of the paparazzi clicked to capture memorable moments during the historic delivery.
And so Speaker Pelosi delivered the address in which she acknowledged the unity in diversity of Ghana, and called for the building of stronger ties between Accra and Washington for a better future of their children.
Speaker Oquaye, acknowledged dignitaries present, but after prompting from a member of the Majority acknowledged his “good wife” Alberta, because he would not know the consequences if he did not say so, and then did a “sankofa” to recognise the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Ernest Kwamina Yedu Addison, present.
But, perhaps out of excitement and thrill, Speaker Oquaye “maced” the gavel, and used the wooden hammer to hit his desk, and with that said “Order! after which Speaker Pelosi chuckled and indicated that the gavel was from the congress, as some observers remember late President Atta Mills for saying “Omama” for Obama in a similar situation involving Ghana/US relations.