The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has engaged in friendly exchanges with the Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, about the entrenchment of two main political parties in the country.
Mr Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu expressed his satisfaction over the fact that the country was becoming more and more of a duopoly, with two main political parties — the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“I think really that is where we should be going, because the Constitution in the Directive Principles of State Policy consigns us to a defined course of national development,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told the expanded leadership of Parliament comprising leaders of committees at a meeting with them in Accra last Tuesday.
He said when critically analysed, the NDC was just a little to the left of the centre, while the NPP was just a little to the right of the centre, with no extreme parties in line with constitutional demands.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Majority Leader in Parliament, added that that was the norm in any entrenched democracy, citing the democracies of the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) as examples.
He said it was permissible to have a centrist party based on issues, and that would be a balance in the power play between the two dominant parties.
That, according to him, would also limit the choices for the electorate and not get them confused.
“You cannot have a situation where, as it is in Ghana now, we have about 19 registered parties…. to do what?” he queried jokingly.
“And we all know that many of them just exist on paper. The two parties to all intents and purposes occupying political space are the NDC and the NPP. One a little bit to the left and the other a little bit to the right and I guess that is how it should be,” he stated.
The minister recounted a situation in one West African country where there were 32 political parties.
But the Minority Leader, Mr Iddrisu, with tongue-in-cheek and in response to the minister’s question about the relevance of all the small political parties in a state, said: “They are in to do democracy!”
He, however, acknowledged the dominance of the two parties, although jokingly telling the minister that it was not in his place to access the leanings of his party.
“Today, the pendulum has shifted to the side of the NPP; we wait for it to swing back to the NDC,” he told the participants who cheered him on with laughter.
The programme also had in attendance the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare, chairmen and deputies of various committees in Parliament and the ranking members.
It also discussed parliamentary oversight and how the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs was facilitating that.