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General News Sat, 2 Sep 2006

Ex-Speaker Advocates Separation Of Powers

The former Speaker of Parliament, Peter Ala Adjetey, has called for the amendment of a provision in the National Constitution which stipulate the appointment of a large number of ministers of state from parliament.

Additionally, there should be an end to the participation of proceedings of parliament by members of the executive wing of government in the proceedings of parliament so as to ensure effective separation of powers between the legislature and the executive.

That, Mr. Adjetey explained, would help effect a check by poser upon power which is necessary to eliminate or substaintially reduce the opportunities for abuse of power by one wing of government, usually the executive wing on the legislative wing.

Mr. Adjetey made the call in Accra on Thursday at the Second "Kronti ne Akwamu" lecture organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD).

The lecture, on the theme, "Reflections on the effectiveness of Parliament of the fourth republic of Ghana", was to highlight the activities of parliament in the development of the country’s democracy.

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The "Kronti ne Akwamu" is the Adinkra symbol for democracy, duality of the essence of life, compositeness and complementing roles which highlight a system of governance with decentralised political authority.

Mr. Adjetey stated the need for parliament to be fully independent to enable it to exercise oversight and control of the executive, saying, "our present constitution falls short of this goal in many respects and it is in addressing these weaknesses that our efforts in ensuring democracy and the rule of law should be directed."

He stated the need for parliament to be its own master subject only to the control of the electorate in matters relating to the provisions of resources for it to carry out its functions.

The present situation of affairs which has to depend almost entirely on the pleasure of the executive for funds to provide for its functioning, he said, tends to detract substantially from the effectiveness of parliament.

On control over the appointment of ministers, deputy ministers and Supreme Court judges by the President, he said that, the Appointments Committee of Parliament lacks the requisite skills to carry out its functions effectively..

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He cited "a particular, case of the process by which Parliament is expected to exercise control over the appointment of ministers, deputy ministers and supreme Court Judges by the President. "The nominations are not referred to specialized committees which deal with the area of competence of the nominees, but to the omnibus Appointments Committee which lacks specialized advice tendered to it independently or by its own officials or officers".

The Appointment Committee, do not, had to rely on written memoranda from the public to carry out its work due to the absence of qualified researchers and other officials to carry out its work of effectively.

Mr. Adjetey further expressed concern about the attitude of professional bodies not submitting written memoranda of any nominee that appear before the appointment committee.

"Hardly do you ever find professional bodies or representatives of civil society organisations dealing with the matters falling within the portfolios to which the candidates have been nominated submitting written memoranda to the committee or appearing before it by their officers or legal representatives" he pointed out.

Source: Times
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