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Saturday, February 24, 2024

MPs Not Independent- Minded – Speaker

Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin


Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has stated that there are no truly independent Members of Parliament (MPs) in the country and that many of them are “now the amplifiers of the views” of their parties.

“So on the floor they say something and when you meet them outside they tell you something different,” he added.

According to him, the country’s polarised politics has made it difficult for MPs to have the courage to stand on their own.

Speaking at the inauguration of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Caucus in Parliament, Speaker Bagbin said, “That is a clear indication that we need another player to be able to assist us to break the jinx. Because the food of the politician is what? Votes.”

He noted that civil societies and the media hold the balance of power to whip politicians in line, asserting, “Once you have civil societies and the people come in and say please where you want to go…, the politicians will obey.”

“And that will assist the members to go along that line. So when you don’t have active civil society’s involvement in governance, it becomes partisanship,” Mr. Bagbin observed.

Senior Presidential Advisor, Yaw Osafo-Maafo said it is in the interest of Ghana to promote transparency, and added that if Parliament takes this seriously, it will help the whole country.

Mr. Osafo-Maafo, who is also the Chairman of the National OGP Steering Committee, stated that Ghana joined the OGP in September 2011 and has developed and implemented four action plans.

“And we are in the process of developing a fifth one which will be out-doored by the end of December,” he added.

He said globally, the OGP has a membership of 77 countries, “and here in Africa, we are 10 and Ghana happens to be one of them.”

“We also have a number of authorities who have joined it and here in Ghana, we have a lot of MMDAs who are also members.

He mentioned them as Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly, Shama East District Assembly, Ketu South District Assembly, Tarkwa Nsuaem District Assembly, Wassa Amenfi East Municipal Assembly and Anloga District Assembly.

Executive Director of PN Africa, Samuel Obeng, congratulated Parliament for committing to take up the challenge.

According to him, in the lead up to 2019 under the auspices of Westminster Foundation for Democracy, there were a lot of efforts towards establishing an open parliament action team in Parliament, and this effort had borne fruits.

By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House


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