Support Parliament to deliver on mandate
After 30 years of practising democracy under the 1992 Constitution which has witnessed successful elections and changeover of governments from a ruling party to an opposition party, Ghana is seen as one of the shining stars of democracy globally.
The success story of Ghana’s democracy can be attributed to all Ghanaians as well as institutions and the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.
The Daily Graphic holds the view that our arms of government must be supported to deliver on their mandate so as to entrench democratic governance, with each arm acting independently of the other.
Last week, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, at the Speaker’s Breakfast Forum, called on the executive arm of government to invest in facilities and physical infrastructure of Parliament to enhance its work and preserve the gains chalked up under our democracy.
Many Ghanaians may not be aware that most of the facilities currently being used by Parliament are the property of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and managed by the State House.
It is in this light that we find Parliament struggling to hold on to its lands very disturbing. (See November 21, 2023 issue of the Daily Graphic).
The Daily Graphic, therefore, calls on the government to take the requisite steps to support Parliament to secure permanent structures to enhance its work in promoting good governance.
This is critical because we believe Parliament can respond better to issues of accountability, play its oversight role effectively, make good laws and attend to its other functions.
Since assuming office as the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Bagbin has introduced some new changes in the administrative set-up of Parliament to make the legislative arm serve the people better.
Reference can be made to the breaking down of its Public Affairs Department into three — media relations, public engagement and television; the Department on Citizens Bureau to engage the public, CSOs and think thanks, among other innovations.
It is worthy of mention that the new Standing Orders which are in the works will soon be introduced.
In view of the demands placed on Parliament and the weight of responsibility imposed on it, it is imperative that the House gets bigger and well-equipped committee rooms because the sittings will be open to the public and the media.
At least the current hung Parliament has proved to some extent that if we empower our Parliament, the era of rushing bills through Parliament or approval of loan agreements will be a thing of the past.
The current Parliament has also demonstrated its deliberative function where issues of national importance and public concerns have come to the floor for discussion and action.
The Daily Graphic is of the view that ensuring that the institution of Parliament and the parliamentarians are well resourced not only in the House, but in the constituencies, would enhance their work collectively.
In the constituencies, for instance, an official office for the parliamentarian will facilitate his or her work as constituents would have easy access to him or her.
The Daily Graphic urges all those who believe in and support democratic governance to heed the plea of the Speaker and support the provision of these facilities, especially the constituency offices.
That will certainly serve as an avenue for more engagement with the constituents and foster transparency and accountable governance.
After over three decades of uninterrupted parliamentary democracy, we must contribute to making the constituents benefit from the work of Parliament not only during electioneering, but at all times.
We cannot reduce the relationship between MPs and the constituents to doling out of gifts or cash for votes; it must be one of collaboration to address national challenges.