In times of unyielding positions, consensus is key

BY: Daily Graphic

Executive-Legislature relations occupy an important part in multi-party democratic governance.

These relations are so important that intractable conflicts between the two arms of the governance system can cause structural dislocation in the running of the state.

As the institution that represents the people, Parliament exists to play a pivotal role in driving democratic systems.

There is no doubt that apart from its central role of making new laws, as well as making changes to existing legislation, the time-tested democratic institution of Parliament also performs the important function of holding the government accountable, thereby providing the critical checks and balance required to drive national development.

But one thing that cannot be taken out of parliamentary practice is disagreement among Members of Parliament (MPs) from the various divides.

Indeed, disagreement in the House is synonymous with parliamentary practice, for which reason the Majority and the Minority or the Executive and the Legislature will continue to cross swords so long as there are various viewpoints to a national issue.

The Fourth Republican Parliament had, in the past, witnessed some heated moments between both sides, but the good thing is that consensus-building has seen the House going with the national interest in the end.

Clearly, the strides made by the country since the birth of the Fourth Republic could not have been possible without the building of consensus in Parliament.

However, the 2022 Budget seems to have put a spoke in the wheel of the hitherto common ground that has carried our Parliament along, even in times of unyielding positions.

Last Sunday, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in apparent reference to the furore over the budget in Parliament, had cause to voice his concern over the seeming intractable positions taken on the matter.

While emphasising that there was no perfect Executive, and that there would never be one, since it is a body of humans with their shortcomings, the Asantehene said that did not give parliamentarians the right to frustrate government business.

“Our representatives also need to bear in mind that it is not their role to either determine policy for the Executive or frustrate it from performing its legitimate duties. What is important now is for them to turn down the temperature and allow the process of governance to proceed, so that the people will retain their exclusive right to pass judgement on how they have been governed at the appropriate time,” he said.

The Daily Graphic believes that the Asantehene did not speak in a vacuum because unending disagreements on the very important issue of budget approval can derail government business, especially as Parliament will be rising in a matter of days.

It is incumbent on our MPs to iron out all the knotty issues that have divided positions on the budget, so that the Executive will have the peace of mind to undertake its implementation for the benefit of the people.

This country is confronted with many challenges which require inclusiveness, irrespective of one’s political persuasion, to address and our MPs cannot fail us in these trying times.

As the Asantehene said, the good thing in a democracy was that the people listened, observed and weighed what their leaders did over time and passed their judgement at the appropriate time.