The eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic must not function as a “rubber stamp” of Executive decisions as it had been the case since 1992, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, has urged.
According to him, the nature of the eighth Parliament where the ruling party would not command a majority in Parliament presented an opportunity for Parliament to effectively play its role of checking the Executive.
“I expect the eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic to play its role as a counter-veiling authority to the powers of the Executive. From 1992, they have functioned nearly as rubber stamps of Executive decisions. They have functioned as merely agents who have not been able to check the exercise of Executive powers because whoever wins the Executive presidency also commands majority in Parliament,” Prof. Gyampo stated in interview with the Daily Graphic.
He added that “the government of the day cannot just throw anything to Parliament and expect that it would be swallowed hook line and sinker. Because you don’t have the numerical strength, you must always ensure that you do the right thing.”
Both the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have 137 seats each in Parliament, with one seat going to an independent candidate – Member of Parliament for Fomena, Mr Andrew Amoako Asiamah.
Prof. Gyampo said the current situation would better serve the interest of Parliament by ensuring that parliamentary business was not undermined by the activities of the Executive.
He was, however, quick to caution that the split nature of the eighth Parliament could also create an opportunity for the Executive to compromise the decisions of members of parliament from the opposition party, using inappropriate means.
“The danger is that it is also possible that the ruling party may also want to compromise the position by bribing its way through. So if you don’t take care, people may be bribed into accepting whatever the ruling party brings rather than scrutinising them,” he noted.
No majority, minority
Reacting to the issue of both the NPP and NDC claiming to have a majority in Parliament, Prof. Gyampo indicated that both parties could not justify their claims as they all obtained equal number of seats.
He said although the MP for Fomena had declared to sit on the side of the NPP, his decision could not constitute a majority for the NPP under Parliament’s own standing orders.