Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has disclosed that his outfit has offered recommendations to address the high attrition rate in parliament.
Addressing the media on the outcomes the ministry had in a meeting “with the core leadership of parliament and the expanded leadership of parliament” in July this year on the theme: ‘Building consensus and trust in parliament to enhance both procedural and substantive democracy’, Mr Osei Kyei Bonsu indicated that the program identified and discussed some mechanisms to sustain public trust, confidence and interest in the work of parliament.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu explained that the ministry engaged the core leadership on thematic areas such as parliament and the sustenance of Ghana’s democracy, nurturing career legislators in Ghana, prospects and challenges, building consensus and trust in parliament to enhance both procedural and substantive democracy.
“The second working dialogue with the core leadership of parliament focused on the nature causes and consequences of the high attrition among parliamentarians. We discussed the prospects and challenges of nurturing career in legislators. We offered recommendations to address the high attrition rate in parliament. We strengthened the relationship between parliament and ministry of parliamentary affairs to add value to the quality of governance in Ghana”.Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu
Decouple legislature from executive
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu indicated that the ministry is contemplating the proposal of new standing orders that will strengthen committee systems in parliament. He intimated that one matter which came up strongly was the need for constitutional review to “decouple” the legislature from the executive. Some participants, according to the minister, insisted that committees and MPs should be allowed to operate independently from party control and interference.
“I must say that this arrangement has stabilized the ship of state for some time… into the fourth republic. Don’t forget the second republic lasted less than two and half years and the third republic as well, two years, four months. This is the longest lasting republic Ghana has seen since independence. So, it has stabilized the ship of state but where we are is it serving the purpose? The majority of the participants felt that we’ve gotten to a stage that we should terminate this marriage that yielded the hybrid system that we have”.Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu
Highlighting the vision and mission of the parliamentary affairs, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu revealed that the ministry’s tenets is to position itself as an “accountable client sensitive institution” within an enhanced, participatory and representative democracy. He noted that it is equally meant to facilitate, coordinate, monitor and evaluate strategies for the smooth execution of government business in parliament.
The Parliamentary affairs minister expressed that ultimately, this should guarantee good governance and sustainable national development through dialogue and consensus building.
“We endeavour to enhance the interface between the executive and the legislature. We support the participation of civil society organisations including the media and political parties in policy making process”.Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu expressed that a platform was given to independent governance institutions to share experiences and harvest ideas on effective and efficient delivery of their functions. The ministry, he indicated, undertakes such research as may be necessary to enhance the collaboration between parliament, executive and civil society organisations.