Minorities in Parliament are irrelevant, noise makers – Amoako Baah

A Political Scientist, Dr. Richard Amoako-Baah, says the constitutional setup of Ghana’s legislature has rendered Minorities irrelevant as far as the promotion of good governance is concerned.

“They can make all the noise but the bill (brought by the Executive) is passed by a simple majority,” the Head of Political Science Department at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) stated Tuesday, August 5, 2014.

He made the comments on the Joy FM Super Moring Show which was broadcast live from the Golden Tulip Hotel in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.

Some analysts suggest opposition parties in parliament which largely make up the minority, must take part of the blame for the current economic downturn for failing to make an impact when the governing party submits to the house its policies and bills for Parliamentary approval.

They argue minorities have failed to properly scrutinise bills and hold the executive in check. The Minority party representative have often fended off this criticism insisting that no matter what argument they make, the Majority will always have its way.

Structure of Parliament
Dr. Amoako-Baah blames the Minority’s apparent ineptitude on the current parliamentary system which allows bills to be ratified by a simple majority.

He accused parliament of failing to check the powers of the Executive making it a “rubber stamp” for the decisions of the president.

He suggested that “important bills” sent to the House, including presidential nominees, should be approved by a two-thirds majority at the committee sitting as a first step to limiting the powers of the executive.  

“If we know that a certain decision must be passed by two-thirds majority in parliament…that is what [will] bring about reasonableness and compromise”

“If you do just this, it means in effect that, the majority will know that they cannot have that simple majority…Parliament is supposed to check those powers and parliament has refused to do that; because of this situation, Parliament is becoming a rubber stamp…That is the reality,” he stressed.

Rallying round the government
Executive Director at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, says the nation must support the government in its efforts to overcome the present economic challenges.

Government has apart from introducing what it called home grown policies to tackle the economic challenges, also entered into negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and other donor partners, to help the rescue the economy.

Government, the governance expert noted, “comes to work with our support” despite the fact that it has the sole responsibility to transform the economy.

“Labour and businesses would have to put forward proposals that will also encourage government…”

“It doesn’t mean that government doesn’t have solutions or doesn’t know what to do but it also means that government…at a certain point needs to convene the nation to find solutions to our problems which we have failed to do,” he said. 

He however wants leadership to create the framework that will win the support of the people to buy into the government’s homegrown policies. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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