General Secretary hopeful for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Charles Onuawonto Bissue is advocating for the retention of competent parliamentarians during internal primaries. According to Mr Bissue the quality and strength of the parliamentary caucus of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) are hinged on the number of competent and experienced legislators that are re-elected into office.
Likening the UK’s parliament to that of Ghana, Mr Bissue says it serves not only the political party’s interest of improving the work of the legislator, it also accounts for a higher rating for parliamentary work to the government.
He reckons that the NPP has lost quite some seasoned parliamentarians over the past internal elections of the party, adding that such a trend must be mitigated.
Speaking on the Dialogue Show of NET2 Television, Mr Bissue proposed the party develops a mechanism to protect experienced and competent parliamentarians during primaries. According to him, it is not justified to change parliamentarians on grounds of the number of years they have served.
“I am for members of parliament with rich knowledge and competence. As we go along, we have to develop a mechanism for protecting such a caliber of parliamentarians. Their performance, contributions in parliament, etc, could serve as the basis for us to evaluate them.
“It shouldn’t be a matter of calling for a change of parliamentarians just because they have been in that position for long. When we go on that tangent, we are simply depleting parliament of the quality of people to execute legislative work.,” he reiterated.
He noted that the likes of Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and Afenyo Markins are instrumental figures in the party’s parliamentary caucus and that any attempt to replace them could have dire implications for both NPP and government.
Mr Bissue cautioned that his suggestion shouldn’t be mistaken to be a condemnation of the party’s democratic principles of an election. He stressed that an exception, as alluded to, deserves consideration given the prevailing political dynamics.
It would be recalled in 2015 that, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, then a Majority Leader expressed concerns about the weakening institution of Parliament resulting from the replacement of senior parliamentarians through party primaries. He claimed that “for democracy to respond to the needs and aspirations of the people, it must be anchored by a strong and matured Parliament.”
His call resonates with an earlier suggestion made by the Majority leader of Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu that, incumbent MPs must be granted an opportunity to go unopposed. He proposed a selection mechanism other than an election which he believes “has often time turned acrimonious.”
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