Approximately eighty per cent of documents relating to parliamentary business that are provided to Members of Parliament (MP) are not read by the legislators, MP for Kade constituency Ofosu Asamoah has revealed.The MP was discussing the quality of debate in parliament in the aftermath of the State of the Nation Address by President John Dramani Mahama in an interview on Class FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on 3 March 2016.
Speaking to host, Ekow Mensah-Shalders, the MP bemoaned the lack of office space and other logistics as a challenge to most parliamentarians, which, he said, leads to most of parliamentary documents being unread or partially perused.
“The MP has nowhere to sit and read, so about 80% of the documents given to MPs are not read…that is what has also affected debates. They are either not read or partially read,” he bemoaned.
Mr Asamoah explained that the lack of adequate work facilities is a major challenge affecting the duties of parliamentarians. According to him, since 1993, MPs have, all the time, operated from their vehicles and the corridors of parliament and hopes the situation is resolved soon.
According to Mr Asamoah, the contribution by some parliamentarians on various topics is very poor and entreated MPs to do enough research on issues tabled on the floor.
“Personally, I’ll say it is not the best because sometimes it lacks in-depth analysis and adequate knowledge on the subject of discussion for some of the contributors,” he stated.
He says MPs do not have “research assistance to help verify the veracity of issues”.
“Also not all members are lawyers [or experts in certain areas], so at one point in time, they lacked technical knowledge of a subject matter that is put before parliament and that is why we need a research assistant, or aide or somebody attached to the office.”
He also condemned political polarisation in parliament, as legislator’s debate issues based on their affiliation without really considering the effect on ordinary citizens.
“Sometimes, debates in the house are deeply political and tend to lack nationalistic touch… especially issues that will lead to voting on a particular policy and direction of the country. We are politically divided and that is affecting the quality of debates,” he added.