A Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Ransford Gyampo has expressed disappointment over Ghanaian parliamentarians’ attitude in the fourth republic.
According to him, the lawmakers have always put the interest of their respective parties ahead of the interest of their constituents.
His comments come as Ghana’s Parliament commemorates the 30th anniversary of Parliamentary Democracy under the Fourth Republic.
The celebration is under the theme: “Thirty years of Parliamentary democracy under the Fourth Republic: The journey thus far.”
Speaking on the JoyNews’ Newsfile, on Saturday, the professor bemoaned the focus of parliamentarians on party interest.
According to him, the legislative arm of government is supposed to use its power to counter the powers of the executive arm of government when necessary. In this respect, he said the parliamentarians under the fourth republic have failed abysmally.
His said another challenge facing the country as regards our democracy is the nomination of parliamentarians as ministers.
Prof Gyampo explained that the lawmakers who get appointed by their party in power, relent in subjecting the activities of the government to rigorous scrutiny.
“The practice where we appoint Members of Parliament as ministers hasn’t really helped. Once you are appointed as minister, it becomes difficult for the minister to go to Parliament to oppose and subject whatever is emanating from the executive arm of government to rigorous scrutiny. There are also Members of Parliament whose party is in government and who are not appointed as ministers. They also see that the more they shout yeah – yeah, the more they improve their chances of being appointed ministers in the event of a reshuffle,” he said.
Touching on Parliament’s role of exercising oversight responsibility on the public purse, Professor Gyampo said although the current Minority Caucus has made some strides in preventing the government from including some unnecessary items in the budget, they have approved virtually every other budget that has been presented to them.
He said although Parliament may not score zero in his evaluation, they have not lived up to expectations either.
Addressing the role of representation, Prof Gyampo explained that it is the duty of parliamentarians to represent and satisfy the interests of constituents, national, and partisan interests.
However, he pointed out that it appears that from 1992 till date, Members of Parliament have sought to satisfy the interests of the political party they are affiliated to and, in effect, neglected to protect and satisfy the national and constituents’ interests.
He said, “If you are asking me to rate them in terms of their representation function, then they have not performed so well.”
“It appears the political parties outside Parliament or the parties to which they belong wield a lot of influence, and want to control these individual parliamentarians more than the constituents should do, and that’s how come oftentimes, when there’s going to be parliamentary elections, MPs who have not done so well in protecting the interest of their constituents will go there begging …,” Prof Gyampo stressed.
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