Members of Parliament (MPs) have stated that the high attrition rate plaguing Parliament is undermining the effective role of the Legislature in Ghana’s democracy.
They said the situation where MPs had to subject themselves to primaries every four years in accordance with political parties’ constitution had caused Parliament to lose some of the most experienced members who played critical roles on its committees.
In their view, Parliament could only be strong with the presence of key members whose contribution on committees helped the Legislature to effectively put the Executive on its toes.
They were speaking at a dialogue with the expanded leadership of Parliament which was held on the theme “The committee system in Ghana’s Parliament: An assessment.
” It was organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
Among those who spoke at the dialogue were the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu; the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and the Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Mr Inusah Fuseini.
Protect good legislators Mr Osei-Owusu said resourcing and ensuring that the calibre of persons who were elected to Parliament to support its functions were beyond the legislature.
“So no matter how good the material is, no party takes steps to protect that material to be in the House,” he said.
Guarded democracy Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said in his view, established democracy everywhere in the world was guided and guarded, saying that “it is not unfettered anywhere.
” He said for one to be effective lawmaker, “you need to be tutored in governance and come up through the ranks of political governance.
” He said although election was the way of choosing MPs “but selecting and acclaiming people is also a way of choosing people.
“So I do not think that necessarily at the end of every four years we should have elections to open the slews gate to allow anybody to come in to contest,” he said.
Qualification and criteria For his part, Mr Fuseini said the work of parliamentary committees were indispensable to the legislature in every democracy.
He, however, said the committees of Ghana’s Parliament had been badly affected by the way “we have chosen to implement our democracy.
” He argued that legislators who stayed longer in Parliament were better at appreciating the intricacies of law-making, mentioning the high attrition rate in the House as one major obstacle affecting the effective performances of committees.