Is this the kind of Parliament to rely on?

Thu, 28 Nov 2013 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Folks, no matter what we detest in the operations of our Parliament, nothing seems to be changing for the better.

The lethargy that has characterized the work of Parliament is unrelentingly deplorable; yet, our MPs don’t see the need to improve their performance so their bad public image can improve. They seem not to know the urgency of the situation or they have simply chosen to be mindless of goings-on. What for, though?

As they continue to under-perform, they make me wonder whether I shouldn’t support arguments suggesting that Parliament should be scrapped off altogether and replaced with the local government structure, where the various Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies will be responsible for law-making to take care of governance.

Indeed, there is nowhere in Ghana that doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of an Assembly—and all the Assemblies have the power to enact by-laws. All they will need to do if strengthened and empowered is to upgrade their law-making credentials and capabilities to take full control of affairs.

Then, at the national level, there will be nothing like a Parliament to be constituted by 275 lazy but greedy people whose law-making activities have been over-shadowed by pettiness and lack of enthusiasm. Indeed, everything is done along party lines, crippling Parliamentary work. How can such an institution facilitate good governance?

Those arguing for the abolition of Parliament claim that Ghana can do without these 275 people, most of whom are so-called lawyers, teachers, and other professionals but are more attached to their own quests for personal gains than doing what they are in Parliament for.

How many new laws have they been able to pass to meet the new challenges facing the country and its people? With all the malpractices going on, what have they been able to do to plug the loopholes or to penalize the culprits?

In the United States, for instance, the Federal House of Representatives is actively working to deal with any instance of malpractice that crops up anywhere in the country. Government functionaries are always wary of being hauled before the committees of Congress. In our case, nothing is happening because Parliament is dormant: a toothless bulldog that eats a lot and slouches off to slumber and fart merrily away. This slothful Parliament is a disgrace!!

Proceedings at the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament are farcical; other committees of Parliament don’t function for us to feel their impact as instruments designed to facilitate good governance.

Added to this massive incompetence is another face of Parliament that should annoy every Ghanaian whose tax money sustains that bogus institution. It is in the news:

“Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho stormed out of the Chamber Wednesday in the middle of proceedings. Adjaho’s fury, according to XYZ News’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Ibrahim Alhassan, followed an aside comment passed by Minority Legislator Kweku Agyemang Manu, while his microphone was on.

“He just doesn’t want me to talk”, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee said to the hearing of the Speaker during the second day of debate on the 2014 budget in the Chamber, as he and other MPs struggled to catch the eyes of the Speaker to be allowed to contribute to the debate.

Agyemang Manu’s comment was a protest to a perceived snub by the Speaker, after his fellow Minority MP for Tema East, Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover, was given preference over him.

The PAC Chairman quickly apologised and retracted the leaked comment after Adjaho, in a fit of fury, threatened to walk him out of the Chamber.

The Speaker then handed over proceedings to his first Deputy, Ebo Barton-Oduro, and stormed out of the Chamber with anger.”



How annoying? Emotions riding so high just because an MP expressed concern about being side-stepped? Nothing can justify this high-level pettiness and unproductive conduct on the part of Adjaho. What have Ghanaians done to be so maltreated by these people in Parliament? Woefully regrettable!!

We already know of some despicable encounters in Parliament: open show of gross insubordination and undermining of former President Mills’ integrity by the NPP Minority Leader (Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu) when he was in Parliament to present his State of the Nation address; physical confrontations between MP’s leading to some assault cases; useless shouting matches and exchange of insults, and many more.

How about the involvement of some MPs in criminal activities (rape, visa racketeering, etc.) and the open thievery of state property by the former Speaker of Parliament (Begyina Sekyi-Hughes)—all of which haven’t been prosecuted?

This kind of Parliament doesn’t deserve my respect. Not in the least!!

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.