Gov't White Paper on CRC recommendations wrong -Minority Leader

BY: Arku Jasmine

Minority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-BonsuThe Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has questioned the propriety of the issuing of a government White Paper on the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC).

Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, he said the government’s release of the document detailing which aspects of the recommendations it agreed with, which aspects it did not and the forwarding of those aspects it was in agreement with to Parliament for consideration amounted to an imposition of the will of the Executive on the Legislature.

“ It amounts to the government imposing its will on us. It is wrong, it is a false step and if we proceed along those lines, we will be running into a cul-de-sac,” he said.

In his opinion, the Executive should not decide for the Legislature which clauses in the Constitution should be amended but allow the legislature to choose, in consultation with the people, which aspects of the constitution should be considered.

But the Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC, Nandom) had a different view, saying that the action taken  by the government did not amount to an imposition of views.

The issuing of a White Paper, he said, was a legal requirement and since Ghana was a country governed by law, the government had to comply.

It was impossible, according to him, for any government to seek to impose its ideas on the legislature and have its way and added that if the issue came before the House, members would have their say and shoot down any proposals they disagreed with.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, however, came back saying Dr Kunbuor was entitled to his opinion but “I disagree.”

“If the Constitutional Review Committee comes out with its recommendations after consultations, it is wrong for the government to say I agree or I disagree,” he said.

The member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah (NPP), says when the time comes for the proposed amendments to be considered, the voice of the legislature will be heard clearly on the recommendations.

In  another development, two Minority members have listed questions to be posed to two ministers of state.

They are Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto (NPP, Kwadaso) and Mr Samuel Ayeh-Paye (NPP, Ayensuano).

Dr Akoto seeks to ascertain from the Minister of Roads and Highways when the Sofoline Project in Kumasi would be completed while Mr Ayeh-Paye sought to know from the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources why Mountain Korang in Otuase in the Ayensuano District of the Eastern Region where river Korang took its source, had been given to a mining company.

The filing of questions by Minority members of Parliament in the sixth Parliament has been a contentious issue with members of the majority questioning the propriety of the minority members posing questions to ministers of state appointed by a President which the minority refuses to recognise.

Dr Hannah Bissiw (NDC,Tano South) described the situation as “ refusing to eat pork but drinking pork soup.”

Due to the constant verbal attacks by the Majority, some Minority members in February, this year, withdrew questions they intended to pose to some ministers of state.

At the commencement of public business, the report of the Finance Committee on the request for approval of government’s access to the international capital market to issue a second international sovereign bond (Eurobond) of up to $1 billion was presented.

The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Bill was successfully taken through the consideration stage.

By Mark Anthony Vinorkor/Ghana