The Progressive People’s Party, PPP’s Parliamentary Candidate for Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency, William Dowokpor has observed that Ghana’s legislature will be stronger, more responsive to the needs of local communities it represents and effectively hold the Executive accountable if Article 78 of the 1992 constitution is amended to prevent MPs from doubling as Ministers of state.
Article 78 (1) of the 1992 Constitution states that; "Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament from among members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected as members of Parliament, except that the majority of Ministers of State shall be appointed from among members of Parliament."
William Dowokpor said, by giving the President powers to appoint majority of Ministers from the legislature, Article 78 diminishes the independence of the legislature and its effectiveness in enforcing horizontal accountability in government. He said MPs who double as Ministers pay less attention to their legislative and representative duties while showing more concern in the Executive's interests and agenda, in accordance with meeting the demands of the principle of collective and ministerial responsibility.
The PPP candidate made the observation while explaining the party’s proposed policy direction of making government more effective, efficient and accountable to the people at a town hall meeting held at West Legon, on Tuesday night. He said 20 years of Ghana’s democratic dispensation is more than enough incubation time for the country’s democracy to mature to enable progressives to begin to demand and offer alternative ideas and policies that will deliver good governance to guarantee evident transformational development that the people can see and feel in their lives.
“Some people consider the past 20 years as wasted, while others say they are years of experimenting democracy and governance, depending on how they see it. But I want to see “a government of the people, by the people and for the people” in my life time instead of the governments of the party, by the party and for the party, which has characterized the administration of the two old political parties that have had the privilege of forming governments in this country since 1992” he demanded.
He contended that it was progressive to separate the Executive arm of government from the legislature, decouple the Attorney General’s office from that of the Minister of Justice and give power to the people at the district level by allowing them to determine who becomes the Metropolitan, Municipal or District Chief Executive through the ballot box.
“These are the reforms we will deliver to make government work in the interest of the people. If the NDC and NPP agree that we are capable of electing our Presidents as well as our Parliamentarians, there is no justification what so ever for us to be denied the opportunity to exercise our democratic rights of choosing who leads us in our cities and districts” William Dowokpor charged.
He reiterated the PPP’s commitment to sponsoring amendment of several portions of the 1992 constitution to make government more responsible and sensitive to the needs of the people, insisting; “ that is what election to 2012 is all about. It is about electing a progressive government that is very clear on the direction this country must go and is capable of leading us on that path to transformational development with a shared national development plan, the one most important ingredient of good governance which is clearly missing in Ghanaian politics.”
The PPP Parliamentary hopeful told the residents to avoid the mistakes of promoting and maintaining the political duopoly that has turned out to be inimical to the establishment and maintenance of good governance in the country. “This year I challenge you to vote differently, get your family and friends to vote differently and see if you will not experience different governance in Ghana. The Progressive People’s Party represents change and I am counting on you to deliver that change when you get out to vote on December 7th” he appealed to the electorate.