Longevity in Parliament: key to become professional legislator – MoPA Minister

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA) has held a Roundtable discussion with the Extended Leadership of Parliament.

This discussion brought together members in  leadership of both Majority and Minority of the Parliament House of Ghana.

They include the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu and the Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi as well as the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu and the Second Deputy Speaker, Alban Sumana Bagbin among others.

The programme was organized by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs under the theme: “Nurturing Career Legislators in Ghana: Prospects and Challenges”.

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu delivering his keynote address expressed worry over the high attrition rate in Parliament of Ghana, this he deems as one of the reasons militating against the nurturing of career Legislators for the development of the country’s democracy.

According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame and an astute Legislator with 23 years’ experience in Parliament, longevity in Parliament is the key for one to become a better Parliamentarian and therefore regretted the current system where long serving Members of Parliament are denigrated and ridiculed by the public instead of being encouraged to enrich the quality and capacity of the Legislative arm.

The Minister who also doubles as the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, described the current situation where very experienced and enterprising Members of Parliament are ousted at every round of the general elections after every four years as unsustainable and counterproductive.

“The Member of Parliament and even Parliament as an institution would have to have their capacities continuously built over a considerably long period, not one term; not two terms; perhaps not even three terms” the Minister stressed.

“It is axiomatic that the longer one stays in Parliament the better Parliamentarian one becomes: the MP becomes very diligent, knowledgeable, experienced and a prolific debater and lawmaker after staying in Parliament over a considerable period of time,” he observed.

The Minister in his remarks, underscored the need for Members of Parliament (MP) to be allowed to build their capacities over time in order to better serve the country and to justify the huge amounts of money spent by the state to build skills of the MPs.

“Parliament and the State spend huge amount to build the capacity of each and every Member of Parliament that is why it is a tragedy to witness the frequent kicking out of Members of Parliament and the introduction of new ones who just come in afresh and have to be ran through the rudiments again and again”.

According to the Majority Leader, both the state and the political parties have failed over the years to protect their investment and their best materials from rendering their good services to the country.

He therefore described the loss of some intelligent MPs who will not be returning to the next Parliament as a monumental tragedy and a huge loss for the country.
“If every four year term comes with the peeling away of some of our brightest and best materials, practice they say makes perfect and repetition is the mother of all conventions.

“That is why the loss of the likes of Honorables Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, the current Chairman of the Finance Committee; Ben Abdalah, the current Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee; Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, one of the brightest spots in Parliament; Yieleh Chireh, Kwaitoo, Anthony Effah, Opare Ansah and Ras Mubarak just to mention a few, is a monumental tragedy.”

He commended the Second Deputy Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin as the only surviving member of the first Parliament and the quality of experience he has gained over the years: this he said, “is as the result of his long time association with the work of Parliament and capacity building”.

“Unlike in other jurisdictions where Legislative careers are part of the governance system, the longest sustained period for us in Ghana has been the 27 years of this Republic.

Adding “But even with that there is only one lone ranger surviving the 27 years. My brother, Alban Sumana Bagbin who rather bows out at the end of this 7thParliament on January 6 2021“.

Source: www.thenewindependentonline.com/ Delali Gavor/ Parliament

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