The Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Murtala Mohammed, has refuted claims that he referred to the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, as an LGBTQ practitioner.
In a media appearance on Wednesday, Mohammed clarified that he never used the term “practitioner” and did not specifically mention the name of the Communications Minister.
Addressing his previous statement that sparked the altercation, he explained, “The only remark I made, which the Speaker has requested me to withdraw, was that every parliamentarian should have the opportunity to debate the bill and that no one should remain neutral.”
“And that you are either for the bill or against the bill, those who refuse to support the bill, then everybody will know their position.”
According to Murtala Mohammed, based on the aforementioned statement, he was not aware of Ursula’s stance on the matter, which led to the confrontation.
“… I never used the word practitioner. In fact, I don’t know the last time I used the word practitioner…perhaps, it is a case of who the cap fits. I never mentioned Ursula’s name, I never said Ursula you are a practitioner,” he insisted.
His remarks come after a momentary disruption during a parliamentary session when microphones in the chamber captured a whispered comment while the South Dayi MP, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, was addressing the legislation of the Anti-LGBTQ bill.
The Second Deputy Speaker, presiding over the session, called upon Murtala Mohammed, the Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, to retract a remark that was deemed to be inappropriate for parliamentary conduct.
On the other hand, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful was incensed by the development and accused the legislator of calling her a practitioner of LGBTQ.
“I sat here and repeatedly heard Hon Murtala refer to me as a practitioner of LGBT to the hearing of everyone in this house… and in response to that if I say he is mad, it is only a mad man who will refer to his colleague in this house as a practitioner of LGBTQ when you haven’t seen me having sexual intercourse with your wife or your daughter or your mother,” she flared up.
She burst out and called out all other legislators who she believes heard the comment but turned deaf ears to it.
“And you all [parliamentarians] heard it and pretend that suddenly you’ve lost your sense of hearing,” she added.
Following the intervention of the Second Deputy Speaker, both individuals retracted their statements as requested, allowing the proceedings to resume.
Murtala Mohammed defended himself by explaining that remarks made in Parliament when the microphone is off are not considered official statements recorded in the Hansard. He emphasized that only statements made using the microphone are documented.
Furthermore, Mohammed highlighted that even Ursula had gestured “you are mad” during the debate conducted by Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor in the House. However, since it was not spoken into the microphone, it was not officially noted.
Although Mohammed complied with withdrawing his comments in the House, he does not view this act as an admission of guilt.
“I just withdrew to allow sanity to prevail and that is why I didn’t withdraw a specific statement. It is not an admission of guilt,” he said.