17,178 Visitors gain insight into legislative process in last session

A total of 17,178 visitors, including students, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), religious groups and foreign study visitors, showed a keen interest in parliamentary proceedings during the last Session of Parliament. 

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Analysing statistical information available to the Department of Public Engagement, the 17,178 visitors were recorded over three parliamentary meetings, with 268 participating institutions culminating in 17,178 individuals.

A breakdown of the figures reveals that the majority of visitors; 16,242, representing 94.5 per cent, came from educational institutions. Basic schools from 158 single constituencies across the country made up a significant portion of these educational institutions, highlighting the importance of engaging young minds in the democratic process.

The remaining 936 visitors, representing 5.5 per cent of the total, consisted of foreigners and CSOs. This diverse group of visitors demonstrates the programme's appeal and parliament's commitment to citizen inclusivity, transparency and accountability.

On average, the Parliament of Ghana records a total number of 400 visitors, mostly primary and junior high students. This is followed by second cycle schools and tertiary institutions.

To make their visits memorable, the Speaker exclusively recognises each group, with a special mention of the leader of the group, creating excitement and inspiring patriotism. The acknowledgement of groups also goes into the official reporting of the House. 

Interaction, Speaker

The current Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has also taken a rare privilege to engage with students and groups, explaining how Parliament works and inspiring them to consider careers in governance or public service.

These engagements have taken the form of forums, where he has shared his life experiences with groups and challenged them to aspire to greatness. The Speaker has interacted with the Wa Senior High School, all regions’ queenmothers, and student groups from Bunkpurugu Constituency.

Constituents also interact with their Members of Parliament (MPs), offering them a unique opportunity to have first-hand experience and knowledge on parliamentary-related issues.

During such visits, constituents watch their members raising and articulating pertinent issues peculiar to their constituencies on the floor of the House.  This not only serves as an inspiration to the constituents but also motivates MPs who are seen speaking the minds of their people. 

In students’ interaction with the MPs, they are motivated to consider careers and make positive contributions to society.

Educational forums

In addition to facilitating student visits, the Department of Public Engagement organises educational forums for targeted audiences depending on their interest and focus on the institution in the Session, 13 educational forums were organised for different stakeholders, including the Ghana Armed Forces and Command and Staff College, Political Science students of the University of Ghana, University of Buffalo, USA, National College of Defense Studies, among others.

Ghana's Parliament was ranked first in the maiden Open Parliament Index (OPI) among 13 West African parliaments in 2022, with Cape Verde and Sierra Leone taking third and fourth positions.

The OPI is a legislative transparency tool developed to measure the level of openness by legislative bodies and processes in a bid to strengthen them. To champion this principle of openness, Ghana’s Parliament, under the auspices of the Speaker, Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, established the Citizens Bureau in August 2023 to bridge the gap between the citizens, the elected and their representatives, particularly through civil society engagement.

Similarly, a four-year Open Parliament Action Plan has been adopted for implementation this year. Ghana is committed to maintaining this position as it continuously improves on key indicators to advance the open governance initiative.

Making Parliament accessible and enabling people to connect with the law-making process demonstrates Parliament's dedication to citizen inclusivity, transparency and accountability.

To visit the Parliament of Ghana, book on the website www.parliament.gh and fill in the visit service for your booking.

The writer is the Director, 
Public Engagement, 
Parliament of Ghana

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