Article 78 (1) of 1992 Constitution disincentive - Report

BY: Caroline Boateng
Mr AIbrahhim-Tanko Amidu (middle) with others raise the report to launch it
Mr AIbrahhim-Tanko Amidu (middle) with others raise the report to launch it

A report on the first session of the seventh Parliament, 2017 has found Article 78 (1) of the 1992 Constitution a disincentive to the work and the business of the House.

Article 78 (1) states that: “Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament from among members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected as members of Parliament, except that the majority of Ministers of State shall be appointed from among members of Parliament.”

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The provision, according to the report on the “First session of the seventh Parliament, 2017”, which was launched in Accra yesterday, results in the absence of members from the House to actively engage in debates on the floor of the House or other businesses.

The 50-page report was launched by Odekro, an advocacy group that seeks to provide citizens with friendly information about the workings of Parliament to enable them to engage better with the institution.

The launch was also held with the support of Strengthening Transparency Accountability and Responsiveness - Ghana (STAR Ghana).

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Using data collected from the Hansard, Order Papers, Votes, Proceedings and Committee Reports, Odekro analysed the nine-point vision statement or agenda of the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, to transform Parliament when he assumed office.

They also analysed dominant activities in the House during the first session, the bills and legislations passed, gender, Members of Parliament (MPs) and constituent relations and attendance.

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Analyses showed that overall, the House credited itself by amendments to and the repeal of some tax laws, the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to ensure that the visually impaired can easily access public information and the passage of development bills and the Zongo Development Fund.

All the bills were initiated by the executive.

With the initiation of bills by parliamentarians themselves, the report found that the Speaker showed no demonstrable indication of his commitment to allow MPs to initiate or introduce bills.

“What is conspicuously missing in the discrete parts of the Speaker’s vision is his clear stance on Article 78 (1) of the 1992 Constitution…” the report stated.

The report found the article obsolete and a disincentive to an effective separation of powers to enable Parliament to exercise its oversight of