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Parliament must review Standing Orders - Haruna Iddrisu

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
The Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu
The Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu

The Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu,has called for major reviews of the current Standing Orders of the House.

He said the country had never experienced a Parliament with equal number of seats on both sides, which, therefore, calls for the adoption of new Standing Orders to address the situation as the character of the eighth Parliament.

He made the call at a press conference organised by the NDC caucus in Accra last Thursday.

New Standing Orders “New Standing Orders have now become imperative. Ghana has never experienced a Parliament with equal number of seats on both sides.

There is, therefore, the need for the House to adopt new Standing Orders that will address the current nature and character of this Eighth Parliament,” he stated.

Mr Iddrisu noted that in the absence of new Standing Orders, the House had no choice than to work with the current Standing Orders albeit with its deficiencies.
Speaker

While congratulating Mr Alban Bagbin on his election as Speaker of the Eighth Parliament, Mr Iddrisu expressed the hope that he would be fair to both sides of the House.

“We trust that the Speaker will abandon every adversarial politics as he assumes that high office of Speaker of the House. He should manage the House as the third organ of state and the most important one, the citadel of democracy, in a manner that showcases neutrality and impartiality for the good of Ghana.

“I trust that at the end of his four-year tenure, he would have added to deepening and improving the country’s good governance processes and deepen transparency, accountability and the work of Parliament,” he stated.

Committees

Mr Iddrisu also noted that the NDC caucus in Parliament would demand that their numerical strength be reflected in the composition of the various sub-committees in the house.

He said the official parliamentary results submitted by the Electoral Commission indicated that both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the NDC had 137 seats in the House, with one independent MP, and as such their equal numerical strength should reflect in the composition of the sub committees.

He said Parliament had always resorted to determining the composition of Committees by using the numeric strength of what they termed as Majority Side and Minority Side.

“Hence, elected MPs from" smaller parties, as well as Independent MPs, were required to choose which side they wanted to associate with or transact business with for the purposes of determining which side could have more members on each committee of the House.

“Article 103,clause 5 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 154 of the Standing Orders of Parliament provide that ‘the composition of the Committees shall, as much as possible, reflect the different shades of opinion in Parliament,” he explained.