Executive Director of the Parliamentary Network, Africa, Sammy Obeng says the recent research conducted by the Political Science Department at the University of Ghana should be a wake-up call for parliamentarians and Ghanaians.
The report revealed that 49.5% of Ghanaians surveyed said they will not vote for their incumbent Member of Parliament citing poor performance and a lack of representation.
Majority of the respondents representing 46.7% also do not want their incumbent MPs to contest in 2020 general elections.
42.4% according to the research want their MPs to contest while 10.9% are undecided on whether their MPs should contest or not.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Obeng said the report is a major cause of alarm saying, “I think MPs should be extremely worried. Ghanaians should also be extremely worried. To predict that, about 180 MPs risk losing their seat in the upcoming election is a worrying trend.”
“We should be worried. MPs should start revising their notes on how to create chamber constituency balance in the work that they do so that no aspect of it suffers going forward. They (MPs) are penalized for not going to their constituencies but there are structures that have been put in place in Parliament that MPs need to take advantage of to make themselves visible to the constituents. In this era of technology, they need to make their constituents realize what they are doing as MPs,” he added.
What the research said
The respondents were also asked to rate the performance of parliamentarians and the result showed that less than half of the respondents representing 45.7% were satisfied.
52.3% were not satisfied with the performance of the parliamentarians.
The research titled ‘A mid-term study on MPs: Emerging issues’ also revealed that the supposed poor performance on the part of the MPs was responsible for voter apathy among the electorates.
The research also disclosed that at the national level, 87.8% declared their intentions to vote in the upcoming general elections as against 9.7% who said they will not vote if elections were going to be held today.
Some 2.5% of the respondents were undecided.
The respondents were asked to rate the performance of their MPs so far on the scale of ‘Excellent to very bad’ less than half 45.7% were satisfied, the majority, 52.3% were dissatisfied.
“Generally poor performance on the part of the elected induces apathy in the electorate.
It is therefore interesting that in spite of the generally non-impressive performance of MPs, more than four out of every five respondents said they would vote, 9.7% declined to vote and 2.5% were undecided.”
“In this follow up question; 49.5% said ‘No’. They would not vote for the incumbent 42.6% said ‘Yes’, They would vote for the incumbent , 7.9% were undecided.”
The researchers called on Parliamentarians to be circumspect with the kinds of promises they make during campaigns adding that their continuous absence from their constituency could affect their re-election bids.
“MPs should carefully weigh their campaign promises as their consituents would hold them accountable for those promises.”
“Several constituents are concerned about the continued absence of their MPs from their communities, they must therefore improve their levels of interaction and communication with their constituents.”
The researchers disclosed that a total of 27,500 Ghanaians in selected areas within the 275 constituencies in the country participated in the study.