Posted on August 5, 2020 by Pnafrica
The expanded Leadership of Ghana’s Parliament has expressed concern about the current political system in the country and its attendant effect on the development of a sustainable democratic culture to support the country’s democratic process.
According to the leadership, the theories of politics and democracy imbibed from the connoisseurs of democracy from elsewhere where Ghana has borrowed a leaf from their book, are in complete dissonance with the political culture of the people and the practice of democracy in the country.
For example, the evidence adduced to indicate that the Ghanaian electorate cares very little about the traditional roles of Members of Parliament as legislators, an import function in the democratic space. But rather, the people put more weight on the representative functions of the MP and the material things they can directly benefit from the Member of Parliament.
These concerns of the expanded leadership made up of the leadership of the various committees of Parliament including the Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons, as well as the Ranking Members and Deputy Ranking Members, are concerns shared by the entire leadership of the House including the Speakership.
Therefore, the expanded Leadership is advocating for a paradigm shift in the political system and the democratic culture in the country. This came up during their deliberation on issues concerning the Committee system in Ghana’s Parliament at a day’s dialogue organized by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs on Wednesday, July 30, 2020, within the precincts of Parliament.
Outlining the objectives of the dialogue held under the theme: The Committee System in Ghana’s Parliament: An Assessment, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Evans Aggrey-Darkoh, indicated among others that the Ministry sought to examine the institutional framework and its effect on the committees of Parliament; discuss the nature of the relationship between the committees and the Parent House.
It was also aimed at evaluating the performance of the Committees; identify and discuss the institutional and operational challenges of the Committees of Parliament; interrogate the relationship between political parties and their Parliamentarians on various Committees, and offer recommendations to rejuvenate the performance of committees of Parliament.
In his address at the programme, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, bemoaned the fact that Parliament was going to lose out on the rich experiences of some very competent Members of Parliament in the next Parliament because the democratic system has failed to recognize the value they bring to the table and has also failed to reward their dedicated service to God and country.
The Minister who also doubles as the Majority Leader, recognized the Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Ben Abdala Banda and the Ranking Member on that same Committee, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, and pointed them out for special mention for their exceptional dedication and performance in their respective roles. Both of whom will not be returning to Parliament because the system failed to protect them from political contests.
“It is rather sad to relate that the 8th Parliament will not enjoy the privilege of the latter two fine gentlemen aforementioned, and in addition, many others on both sides of the House, who have acquitted themselves and have been a joy to work with since they entered Parliament,” he indicated.
He, therefore, averred that democracy everywhere in the world was guarded and protected and therefore Ghana’s democracy cannot be any different where it is open to all to contest sitting Members of Parliament.
“This phenomenon of excessively high attrition must be of grave concern to all who have our Parliamentary democracy at heart. The phenomenon, where after every term, some of our finest Legislators are peeled off, should be troubling to all who believe in good democratic governance,” he said.
The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu who graced the occasion with his presence, suggested that the entire political system was working against the progress of Parliamentary democracy in the country.
“Have we really prepared Parliament in terms of resourcing and populating the House with the kind of persons who can do the kind of things we envisage that Parliament should do? In my view, the answers to these questions are beyond Parliament itself.
“Who comes into the Parliament is out of the control of anybody. Indeed, even the political parties have deliberately or by default ceded the power to determine the people who come into Parliament to the general population of their party. No matter how good the material is, no party takes steps to protect the material to be in the House,” he observed.
According to the Deputy Speaker who is also the MP for Bekwai in the Ashanti Region, the country should focus on building the political culture which would support the ideals valued by the people in the community.
“We must understand that we operate within a certain political environment; political culture. Maybe what we should be focusing on as a country is the kind of culture that would support the ideals we preach.
“As at now, our system and our values are different and in my view, they do not support the theories we have braced ourselves with. Probably, the Chief Director and your group would start looking at new theories which will support the kind of political system we have,” he said.
Story By: Clement Akoloh