In a move that will bring Parliament closer to the people, the Speaker Prof Mike Ocquaye has held a press conference promising a more responsive parliament to the needs of the people.
Flanked by the leadership on both sides of the House with Deputy Majority Leader Adwoa Safo on his right and Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu to his left, the Speaker spelt out a new vision of cooperation and accountability the House intends to pursue under his leadership.
While the Speaker’s press conference may be the first in many years under the fourth republican constitution, the Speaker hinted similar interaction will be held at the regional and district levels to deepen the parliamentary democracy the country is practicing.
Speaking on ways to strengthen parliament with a new vision, the Speaker promised a leadership of accountability in Parliament.
“We will insist that parliament can enquires into anything and ensure accountability. Whether it is sports, nobody can stop the people of Ghana from knowing what is happening,” he said.
“Accountability is important,” he reiterated and promised that every step necessary will be taken to ensure the House is accountable to the people of Ghana.
The second arm of government has over the years come under serious criticism for failing to keep the executive in check.
There has also been series of bribery and corruption allegations over the years that have threatened to injure the credibility and reputation of the legislative body.
But the Speaker explained that the many years of military takeovers have only weakened the second arm of government and they are just trying to reestablish itself.
Any time there is coup, the arm of government that is disbanded is Parliament. The executive remains intact, even if it is under military rule. The judiciary also remains intact, he stated.
“This institutional memory loss is a great blow to Parliament,” he stated and asked for more assistance constructive criticisms and suggestions that will make Parliament stronger.
“It is society that will empower Parliament so that parliamentt will serve society,” he stated.
The Speaker of Parliament said there is the need for Parliament to have a new chamber and a stronger well resourced library that will help the House function better.
He did not understand why documents about the Gold Coast are not available in Ghana’s Parliament even though the same documents can be found in the Legislative Council in the UK.
The Deputy Majority Leader Adwoa Sarfo applauded the move by the Speaker to make Parliament more accessible to the media and to the people.
“We cannot be seen to be doing our work well without engaging the media,” media she said.
The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu also commended the Speaker for opening himself up to the media, adding “so far we are encouraged with his leadership and will try to build consensus at all times.”