Edward Doe Adjaho, Speaker of Parliament
Some Members of Parliament (MPs) particularly those on the Minority side have described as disgraceful the constant postponement of dates for commencement of new meetings in the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic which in most cases are unofficially attributed to lack of money to keep Parliament running.
The Second Meeting of the Second Session of the Sixth Parliament was supposed to begin on Tuesday, May 27 but a circular dated Tuesday, May 20 and signed by the Clerk of Parliament and left in the pigeon holes of MPs in Parliament said the date for the re-opening of Parliament had been postponed to Tuesday, June 3.
It added that order 32(2) of the Standing Orders of the House which basically says that the Clerk of Parliament has the power to write on behalf of leadership not later than 14 days before commencement of a meeting, the rescheduling of meeting date to Members of Parliament.
The latest postponement had irked some members who think that such developments would definitely affect the work of Parliament.
‘This is unprecedented in the history of Ghana’s Parliament with such frequent postponements of meetings because Parliament is financially handicapped,’ the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwabre East, Kofi Frimpong, who was one of the MPs who spoke to DAILY GUIDE yesterday said concerning the new date.
‘I just heard on the news this morning and came to Parliament this afternoon to find out from my pigeon hole the letter communicating the new date to us,’ he said and added that President Mahama’s term of office had seen Parliament as the second arm of government being weakened day in and day out because of the non- availability of funds to let Parliament discharge its constitutional mandate.
‘We want President Mahama to come and tell us what is indeed happening to our legislature without which government machinery cannot run,’ he demanded.
The NPP MP for Nkoranza North, Major Derek Oduro (rtd) said members of the Minority had openly drummed home the negative effect of the apparent lack of funds for the running of Parliament, adding that he and the NPP MP for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah had been vocal in Parliament about the sorry state of Ghana’s Parliament.
According to him, each time such issues are raised, the leadership of Parliament, especially the Speaker comes to defend the government.
The Nkoranza North MP told the DAILY GUIDE that as a result of lack of funds, the Select Committees of Parliament were made redundant because they could not move to the field to properly undertake their oversight functions.
‘The security system, lighting system and the furniture at the foyer and MPs’ coffee shop are in a terrible state and need to be improved,’ he said.
The NPP MP for Atwima Nwabiagya North, Benito Owusu-Bio said the financial problems affecting the work of Parliament was a big minus for the Mahama administration.
‘How can a whole nation’s legislature cease to run because of financial problems the NDC government has plunged the country into? he queried.
Meanwhile, parts of the roofing of Parliament House had been ripped off following a heavy downpour on Monday and feverish preparations are underway to fix it.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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