Member of parliament for Jirapa, Cletus Seidu Dapilah, has revealed that the 8th parliament of Ghana has become partisan in nature.
According to him, there is the need for members of parliament to explore their independence in the dispensation of their duties. He indicated that although legislators are entitled to their opinions, collectively as a caucus, they cannot defy the dictates as the whip system must work.
“My verdict on the eight parliament is because of the partisan nature of our parliament. The 8th parliament has become so partisan and I am not very comfortable about it. Because, MPs contest on the ticket of political parties, but I also think that the MPs should be able to have their independent opinion about matters as far as our governance system is concerned. But most often than not, political parties will have to show the way for their parliamentary caucus to follow. Individually, I can express my opinion about an issue, but collectively, I cannot…”Cletus Seidu Dapilah
Mr Dapilah stated that in spite of the partisan nature of parliament, there has been some progress and successes chalked. He noted that Ghana’s parliament has “moved far too, even though we have the minuses, the positives too are there”.
“We haven’t done so badly as a parliament, especially the fourth republic. There’ve been issues, hitches, decisions taken by majority side… For example, when the NPP lost their bid to elect a Speaker, or a member of their government to be the Speaker of parliament, their party wasn’t happy, their grassroot people chastised them, they traded insults and all of that. In the same vein, when our party issued a statement that the NDC should not approve certain ministers, you noticed that some of those ministers were voted for.”Cletus Seidu Dapilah
Furthermore, Mr Dapilah emphasized that parliament offers a learning curve for all legislators and they are learning to be independent from the party’s positions, especially when members on both sides of parliament think that is the right way to go.
“But mostly, by and large, it is the party that leads the discussion and that collective decision, you as an individual, cannot vary it and cannot defy it. That will be betrayal to the party on whose ticket you contested…”Cletus Seidu Dapilah
Representation of Ghanaians in parliament
Commenting on the position by some MPs who believe that legislators are failing to execute the mandate of the people, especially with the recurring boycotting of parliamentary proceedings by the minority side, the Jirapa MP stated that he disagrees with that position. He explained that the majority side do not have grounds for making such claims as they can go ahead with parliamentary proceedings.
“I disagree with [joewise] entirely because the party in which you contest elections, cannot take a position for you to follow and you defy it. Now, I’m also disagreeing with him because the quorum to do business is 93, the NPP has 137 members of parliament with an independent MP. So, at every point in time, if they are able to whip their people to be in the chamber, they can go on with business, without the minority.”Cletus Seidu Dapilah
Moreover, Mr Dapilah highlighted that the 8th parliament, due to its hung parliament, there has been many “tactics by the ruling government to eliminate” some members of the NDC party, and Gyakye Quayson is one example. He revealed that Mr Quayson who is supposed to represent his people, has been placed on daily trial, denying him of that representation.
“If you think that the minority escorting Quayson to court, we are stifling government business, don’t you think that by asking him to go to court on daily basis, you are equally denying the people of Assin North good representation in parliament? So, the government is to be blamed. I see it to be hypocritical on the part of government because you cannot deny a whole member of parliament, the people selected this man…”Cletus Seidu Dapilah