Three political parties have indicated that it will be difficult to ensure that experienced Members of Parliament (MPs) are retained during elections.
According to them, the democratic nature of Ghana’s electoral processes, as adopted by political parties in their internal elections, would make it inappropriate for parties to influence the choice of a candidate to represent the people in Parliament.
In separate interviews with the Daily Graphic, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), and the People’s National Convention (PNC) unanimously suggested that the onus was on the experienced MPs to build a lasting bond with their constituents to guarantee their continuous stay in Parliament.
The parties were reacting to a proposal by the Majority Leader and Minister designate for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, that political parties institute some interventions to ensure that experienced MPs are retained in the House in the interest of enhancing and deepening parliamentary business.
Appearing before Parliament’s Appointments Committee last Friday, the Majority Leader, who is also the MP for Suame, bemoaned what he described as the high attrition rate of experienced legislators from the House.
Among the experienced MPs who failed to secure re-election into the 8th Parliament are the Chairman of the Finance Committee and MP for New Juaben, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, and former MP for Wa West, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh.
Commenting on the issue, the Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Peter Boamah Otokunor, said although experience was key in ensuring effective parliamentary work, political parties did not have the power to safeguard the tenure of MPs who contested on the party’s ticket.
He said any attempt by political parties to meddle in the choice of MPs would be undemocratic and might run contrary to the party’s constitution.
“It will be a little bit problematic because our political system, which is the multiparty democratic system, is what is used to select Members of Parliament. So one cannot sit down and decide we are going to maintain this MP for this constituency for a number of terms. It is the people who determine who leads them,” he said.
The General Secretary of the CPP, Nana Yaa Jantuah, underscored the need for MPs to rather endear themselves to their constituents and offer them the relevant support to win their confidence and trust.
She said although the issue of monetisation remained “a big problem,” MPs could overcome such challenges if they “have the right message and established good relationship with their constituents.”
“It behoves on you the person to put in place mechanisms that even if you are not available, you can always endear to the constituents. For instance, you can have a good assistant who will be in touch with the base and the grass roots and report to you,” she said.
Nana Jantuah said the CPP had commenced processes to build and strengthen its structures at all levels to enable it secure parliamentary seats in election 2024.
Moses Dani Baah — PNC
For his part, the National Chairman of the PNC, Mr Moses Dani Baah, who is also a former MP for Sissala East, said it would be difficult for political parties to intervene as the people reserved the power to decide who to represent them in Parliament.
He said the PNC was working on a strategic document which would be adopted by the party to improve its fortunes in election 2024.