The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has indicated his ministry’s readiness to work to curb the Constitutional Provision enjoining the president to take two-thirds of Ministers from Parliament.
Article 78 Clause 1 stipulates that “Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with prior approval of Parliament from among members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected as members of Parliament, except that majority of Ministers of State shall be appointed from among members of Parliament.”
This provision, he explains, takes away most experienced members and Parliament becomes a conduit for catching the eye of H.E the President for Ministerial positions. This relegates Parliament to inferior status in government.
Parliament, as the sovereign will of the people of Ghana, exercises oversight of the Executive by ensuring financial scrutiny and control of the Public Purse and also scrutinizes public policy measures. It has legislative, representative and deliberative responsibilities also.
The Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic has been adversely affected by this provision; in addition to the high attrition rate suffered by Parliament.
Just recently, Parliament had to reconstitute the leadership of some of its Committees because the previous leaders were appointed ministers.
Most of Parliament’s work are done at the Committe level, therefore Parliament is considered as strong as its Committees, which are made up of competent, qualified and committed members.
“We must change the narrative, it should be an honour to be a Long serving Parliamentarian and not to be called names like Suame Mugabe,” he noted.
The Minister, who is also the Majority Leader and Member of Parliament for Suame Constituency, made these remarks at the closing ceremony of a one day introductory capacity training workshop for selected media personnel with key interest in parliamentary and governance reporting.
The capacity training workshop was organized by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA), Parliamentary Training Institute (PTI) and the Parliamentary News Africa (PN Africa) under the theme: “Building Media capacity for effective oversight of Parliament”.
Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, further indicated that his ministry is poised to work and contribute to enhancing the dignity and image of Parliament and MPs; promote consensus building and patriotism; and attempt to relegate partisanship and encourage constructive criticism.
Speaking on the topic: “The distinction between the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Parliament, but emphasising on their complementary roles,” Mr Ohene Okai, a Consultant to the ministry pointed out that the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs was established in 1993 out of the Parliamentary Service Act 1993 (Act 460) to facilitate a harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Legislature to re-enforce the Hybrid system of the 1992 Constitution.
The Ministry was re-created by an Executive Instrument (EI28) on Thursday 12th January 2017 by His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo.
The main purpose of its establishment is to enable Parliament (through the Leader of Government Business and Majority leader) gain deeper understanding of government policies that are brought before the House for approval so as to engender the needed buy-in of these policies by Parliament and further enhance good governance for our new attempt at democratic governance.
He noted that the core mandate of MoPA is to serve as the interface between the Executive and Parliament, coordinates the tabling of Government business on the floor of Parliament, harmonise Government business into the calendar of Parliament, and facilitate the development and implementation of citizen centred collaborative interface with other state and non-state actors on matters relating to the Executive and Legislature.
It is also to monitor and evaluate the implementation of government policies and feedback to Cabinet and Parliament, and undertake such research as may be necessary to enhance the collaboration between Parliament and the Executive and Civil Society groups