A parliamentary aspirant has observed that the Legislature would be able to effectively check the Executive if Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution is amended to prevent Members of Parliament from taking up roles as Ministers of State.
Mr. William Dowokpor, Progressive People’s Party’s (PPP) parliamentary aspirant for Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, who made the observation, said giving the powers of the President to appoint majority of Ministers of State from the Legislature, Article 78 diminished the independence of the Legislature and its effectiveness in enforcing horizontal accountability in government.
The parliamentary aspirant was speaking at a meeting of PPP Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency members in Accra on Thursday.
He noted that 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."
Mr Dowokpor said the PPP had a proposed policy direction of making government more effective, efficient and accountable.
He said MPs who doubled as Ministers of State paid less attention to their Legislative and representative duties, while showing more concern to the Executive's interests and agenda, in accordance with the principle of collective and ministerial responsibility.
Mr. Dowokpor said Ghana’s 20 years of democratic practice was more than enough incubation time for the country’s democracy to mature to enable progressive-minds to begin to demand and offer alternative ideas and policies that would deliver good governance to guarantee evident transformational development which the people could see and feel in their lives.
He said: “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, instead of government of the party, by the party and for the party, which has characterised the administration of the two old political parties that have had the privilege of forming governments in this country since 1992” .
Mr. Dowokpor stressed the need to separate the Executive arm of government from the Legislature, decouple the Attorney General’s Department from that of the Minister of Justice, and give power to the people at the district level by allowing them to determine who was appointed 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 whatsoever for us to be denied the opportunity to exercise our democratic rights of choosing who leads us in our cities and districts,” he said.
Mr. Dowokpor reiterated 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 2012 is all about.
“It is about electing a progressive government that is 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.”
He told the residents to avoid the mistake of promoting and maintaining the political duopoly that had 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 PPP represents change and I am counting on you to deliver that change when you vote in the December 7 polls,” Mr Dowokpor said.**