Politics of Fri, 13 Jan 201711

Majority Leader defends re-introduction of Parliamentary Affairs ministry

The Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has defended the re-introduction of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs by the Nana Akufo-Addo government. Mensah Bonsu who is the leader of government business in Parliament was nominated for the Parliamentary affairs ministry on Thursday by the President.

The position which had existed in previous administrations was scrapped by the Mills and Mahama governments. Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Friday, Kyei Mensah Bonsu said the re-introduction of the ministry is key to bridging the gap between the executive and the legislature adding that it will further deepen Ghana’s democratic credentials.

“I thought that I would be afforded the opportunity to move on but the President comes in and talks to me that we need to stabilize my government as far as he and his members were concerned. Unfortunately for you, referring to me, I’m the only one left of the 1997 stock that came to Parliament. So he asked me to be in charge. I was loud on this that I wanted to move on. But then he comes in with this, he was quite persuasive so I decided to accept it and remain for the time being in Parliament to ensure that we are able to deepen our democratic governance.”

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The minister nominee further noted that previous Majority Leaders took up the position in time past but Alban Bagbin rejected it saying “he didn’t like to be referred to as a minister…in order for him to be able to perform in Parliament.” According to Mensah Bonsu, the move affected the then majority in Parliament because they struggled to lay government statements, bills among others on the Floor of the House since only a minister could do that, per Ghana’s laws.

“I remember that in the previous government, Bagbin, Cletus Avoka, even Dr. Kumbour could not even submit to Parliament simple statements on behalf of government because they were not ministers. And because they were not ministers if government intended to lay any paper you would have to go stamping for ministers who may not be very busy in the ministries, summon them to Parliament to come and lay those papers in Parliament because our rules provide that business be transacted on behalf of government should be introduced in the house by a minister.

They were grossly intolerant and sometimes it was to their after embarrassment. This is why it is reasonable to have that status introduced,” he added.

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