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Scrutinise Executive actions. Doe Adjaho tasks new Parliament

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
Prof. Mike Oquaye — Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin — 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament
Prof. Mike Oquaye — Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin — 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament

The outgoing Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, has called on the next Speaker and leadership of Parliament to take steps to improve on the oversight and scrutiny responsibilities of the House over the Executive.

Delivering his speech at the final sitting of the Third Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Sixth Parliament in Accra yesterday, he said Parliament had continued to come under criticism from certain quarters on the level of scrutiny exercised by Parliament over the Executive.

Early this morning, Parliament was dissolved and the new Members of Parliament sworn in under the leadership of  Professor Mike Oquaye as Speaker. The MP for Bekwai, Mr Joe Osei-Wusu, is the first Deputy Speaker with Mr Alban Bagbin, the MP for Nadowli-Kaleo, as the Second Deputy Speaker.

The MP for Suame, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, is the new Majority Leader, with the MP for Dome-Kwabenya, Ms Adwoa Safo, as the new Deputy Majority Leader.

On the side of the Minority, the MP for Tamale South, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, is the new leader with MP for Ketu North and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the just-dissolved Parliament, Mr James Avedzi, as Deputy Minority Leader.

Scrutiny

To improve the scrutiny, Mr Adjaho said the Parliamentary Service Board had initiated the processes for the establishment of a scrutiny office to provide MPs with independent technical support in scrutinising the national budget and international financial agreements.

He said a significant level of preparatory work had been concluded on the establishment of the scrutiny office, which was being modelled in conformity with international best practice.

He said the project, which received initial support from STAR-Ghana, was currently being supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Mr Adjaho said an acting director had been asked to temporarily head the office.

"I will urge the next Speaker and Parliament to take up the mantle and finalise the processes for the full operationalisation of the scrutiny office.

Distinguished service

Mr Adjaho's journey with Ghana's Parliament began at the inception of the Fourth Republican Parliament on January 7, 1993 when he served as MP for the Avenor-Ave Constituency for 23 years.

He became the Speaker of the Sixth Parliament on January 7, 2013.

Mr Adjaho said he had discharged his duties as a Speaker to the best of his ability.

"The choices and decisions I made were neither dictated by malice, ill-informed nor self-interest but rather well-intended and made in utmost good faith," he said.

Leadership

The Majority Leader, Mr Bagbin, commended President John Dramani Mahama and the President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for exhibiting a high sense of democratic maturity.

He paid tribute to departed MPs and expressed condolence to the bereaved families.

The Minority Leader, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, expressed worry at the high attrition rate of MPs, and indicated that that could hinder the growth of Parliament.

For instance, he said only 80 New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs were continuing to the next Parliament, with as many as 89 new NPP MPs.