Parliament holds forum at Koforidua
Parliament holds forum at Koforidua Website
Members of Parliament (MPs) believe that the demands on them to provide developmental projects are likely to compromise their role as lawmakers and representatives of the people. Majority Chief Whip Okerchiri Adusah held that if MPs were to provide developmental projects, then they would have to be lobbying Ministers of State of the various ministries for such projects. However, he said, MPs were expected to supervise the performance of the ministers and their ministries and so by lobbying them for favours, the MPs could end up compromising their role. He said this at a forum organized by Parliament in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Koforidua on Tuesday. The forum was organized under the theme: “Strengthening the Legislature through public engagement.” It was attended by institutional heads, including public servants and others from different sectors of the economy. In support of the view expressed by Mr Adusah, Minority Chief Whip, Mr Enock Teye Mensah, said various developmental funds given to the MPs were just small fractions, as compared to large amounts of funds given to the District Assemblies. He said allotments made to MPs could not be used for major projects but only to support community initiated projects, adding that even the monies were kept in an account by the District Assemblies with no signature rights to the MP. The Minority Leader of Parliament, Mr Alban S.K. Bagbin, observed that democratic governance had moved away from the concept of “Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, to that of responsible or constructive opposition” where the opposition had the responsibility to be fair in the criticism of government policies. He said minority members had the right to dissent publicly from government policies and decisions. Mr Bagbin said the opposition had an equal responsibility as the government to protect, defend and uphold the constitutional order, the rule of law and the peace and stability of the nation. He said if democracy was to be preserved as a viable mode of governance, the opposition must fearlessly perform its role, adding that it could do so only when it was recognized and accorded rights to enable it act responsibly. Mr Bagbin observed that in a true democratic system, the opposition was as important as the government and it was an indispensable component of Parliamentary democracy. In a welcoming address, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, said the forum was organised to provide the opportunity for all Ghanaians to build on and consolidate Parliamentary democracy in the country. He said for Parliamentary democracy to thrive, Ghanaians must understand and engage with Parliament, adding that the more the citizens understand and relate to parliament, the better Parliamentary democracy would evolve.