Let's Maintain Experienced MPs In House- GJA President
Let's Maintain Experienced MPs In House- GJA President Website
Frequently changing Members of Parliament after every four or eight years retards the growth of parliamentary democracy in the country. The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Ransford Tetteh made the observation at the launch of the 15th anniversary celebration of the Ghana Parliamentary Press Corps. He said some MPs should be maintained in the house to give them more time to develop their skills to be effective legislators. The theme for the week-long celebration is, "The Role of the Parliamentary Press Corps in Parliamentary Democracy". The celebration is being marked with a symposium, a float, clean-up exercise, and dinner dance and thanksgiving service. The phenomenon of voting out an incumbent MP, who has served for one or two terms for a new one, nicknamed "moko aya ni moko aba", has become fashionable in some constituencies, but Mr Tetteh noted that the job of an MP was a complete life-long career in some advanced democracies. He said there were instances in advanced democracies where some legislators had served close to or more than 40 years. Such MPs, he said understood fully the nitty-gritty of lawmaking and parliamentary work and are able to craft legislation for the proper development of the nation. Mr. Tetteh urged media houses to maintain reporters on the parliamentary beat longer to get the knack for effective reportage on parliamentary proceedings. The Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Frank Agyekum, advised the press corps to maintain professional ethics and not allow themselves to be used by self-seeking politicians during this election year. He said the essence of parliamentary democracy was the ability to hear all voices, both at the majority and minority sides, and called on the corps to constitute itself into a strong lobby group for the deepening of democracy. Mr. Andrew Edwin Arthur, Dean of the Corps, reiterated the need for journalists in Ghana to be circumspect as they reported on activities in the run-up to the 2008 General Elections in December, so as not to create tension. "We must know that our reportage has the potential of plunging the nation into chaos and confusion if we do not carefully handle statements and utterances from politicians. "Bad reportage has thrown some nations into turmoil, but I trust that Ghanaian journalists will distinguish themselves in their reportage before, during and after the December elections. Let us desist from inflaming passions and taking sides, since that has the tendency of throwing out of gear the peace we are enjoying" he emphasised. The Dean also advised politicians to conduct their campaigns in a decent manner devoid of insults and utterances that can set the nation ablaze. Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Abraham Osei Aidooh, commended the press corps for holding the Legislators in check and informing Ghanaians on what happens in the House. He, however, criticised the press corps for falling into sensationalism, over-summarising of coverage of proceedings, misreporting and failing to educate the Ghanaian populace on the work of the MPs. Minority Leader Mr. Alban Sumani Kingsford Bagbin said the press corps was part and parcel of the institution of parliament, adding that it was incumbent on Parliament to resource the corps to effectively execute their task. He urged the corps to rise above partisanship and commit themselves more to the work of parliament.