General News of Wednesday, 11 October 2017
The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has presented a report on a meeting held with the leadership of Parliament on enhancing the effectiveness of Parliament in Ghana’s democracy to the House.
Below is the full report:
REPORT ON THE MEETING HELD WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF PARLIAMENT ON THE THEME: “ENHANCING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PARLIAMENT IN GHANA’S DEMOCRACY” THE ROLE OF THE MINISTRY OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS.
On Wednesday, 4th October 2017, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, as part of its mandate in ensuring that Parliament has a deeper understanding of government policies, that are brought before the house for approval, in order to engender the needed buy- in of these policies by Parliament and further enhance good governance for our new attempt at democratic governance, engaged Leadership on both sides at the Ministry.
The Minister, Hon. Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Majority leader in Parliament, submitted to leadership present at the meeting that the objective of the maiden meeting, was to introduce the Ministry and the purpose for its recreation, by H.E the President of the Republic of Ghana. The Honourable Minister in his brief presentation indicated that, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has existed for 16 years in different forms, since the coming into force of the 1992 constitution, to serve as an interface between the Executive and Parliament and assured Leadership that, the Ministry has not been recreated by the President, to emasculate the work of Parliament, as has been the perception.
The Hon. Minister also submitted that, though on matters of policy the Majority and Minority may differ; it is his hope that the Ministry will seize the opportunity, using the instrument of the Ministry to build consensus for the good of Ghana, in order to enhance democratic governance. The Ministry will serve as a platform for the sharing of ideas between the Majority and Minority. The Minister indicated that as a nation, citizens must be accommodating of their differences and the Ministry is ready to position itself in taking up that responsibility, of being the bridge builder.
The Minister also spoke about one of the thorny issues which is mostly the acrimony between the MP’s and MMDCE’s and that the Ministry is ready to position itself in collaboration with the Ministry responsible for Local Government to address that to address that challenge, to bring a harmonious working relationship between the MP’s and the MMDCE’s, which will result in serenity in the governance process as a nation.
The Hon. Minister sighted instances where citizens had presented their complaints to Parliament for redress yet, Leadership faced challenges in addressing their concerns. The re-creation of the Ministry will become the vehicle to address those complaints from the citizenry. He shared examples of how in India the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is the lead agency in the capacity building of Members of Parliament and added that his Ministry will learn from the Indian experience.
The Hon. Minister also spoke about how his Ministry will become the clearing house to dialogue with both sides of the political divide (Majority & Minority), when there is deadlock in Parliament and that, the Ministry was not meant to gag any Member of Parliament.
The Hon Minister concluded that, it is his desire to leave a legacy of consensus building in Ghana’s democratic governance and assured Leaders that he and Staff of the Ministry will ensure that.
In his response the Hon Minority Leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu took the opportunity to congratulate the Minister on his appointment as the substantive Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.
Hon. Haruna Iddrisu submitted that, it is their responsibility as Leadership of Parliament to reduce the excessive partisanship in Parliament and added that, even though they have policy difference the country must come first. He indicated that he and his team would support the Hon Minister, to use his Ministry to achieve that for the benefit of the country.
The Hon. Minority leader emphasized the importance of holding high the image of Parliament and expressed a strong conviction that, under the able Leadership of the Minister, that can be achieved. Further, he submitted that the experience gained as a a Member of the Majority Leadership, then as Minority Leader and now as Majority leader in Parliament would position him better as the substantive Minister for the Ministry. He said harmony in their thoughts as Leadership of Parliament is paramount, regardless of their political differences and that the interest of Ghana is key.
The Hon. Minority leader also stated that, sometimes people misconstrue his restless temperament for getting results when pursuing something and that the Minister should be assured of his unflinching support. He also intimated belief that under the Leadership of the Hon. Minister, the lingering suspicions in Parliament will be a thing of the past and that the Minister has no excuse to fail in his role as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs because of his principled position and championing the cause of democratic governance in Ghana.
In his contribution, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu, who is also the 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament, enquired of the Hon. Minister what Parliament’s expectations of the Speakership and leadership of the House from the Ministry should be. The Hon. Minister in his response, reiterated that the Ministry will be the medium through which Parliament will have unfettered access to the Executive arm of government, the platform for the building of the capacities of Members of Parliament, the carrying of Parliament to the doorstep of the citizenry and the watering down of the acrimonious relationship between MP’s and MMDCE’s.
Hon. Ibrahim Ahmed (Deputy Minority Whip) proposed that the Minister make use of the former MP’s who have been in leadership position as Resource Persons, when it comes to the building of capacities of the current crop of Members of Parliament. He also assured the Hon. Minister that, the Minority side of Leadership of Parliament, they would cooperate and collaborate with his Majority Leadership and Majority leader in particular to enhance democratic governance
Hon. Sarah Adwoa Sarfo (Deputy Majority leader) in her contribution, thanked the Ministry for the interactive opportunity, and prayed that, this kind of interactions would strengthen and deepen the democratic credentials of the country. She concluded by assuring that leadership of Parliament would support the Hon. Minister to achieve the aims of the Ministry.