Let’s restore hope in power of democracy – Speaker implores MPs

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has implored Members of Parliament (MPs) to restore hope in the power and promise of democracy by reversing disillusionment of the citizenry in the system.

“The role of Parliament is critical in the reversal effort of many citizens losing faith in the ability and benefits of democracy and have become disillusioned in the processes,” he bemoaned.

Mr Bagbin pointed out that even though the wave of disillusionment had affected many countries, including Ghana, MPs had the mandate to reverse hopelessness some Ghanaians were having in the democratic dispensation.

Addressing the future of the nation’s Parliament at the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) on occasion of the ‘Third Eminent Guest Lecture Series’ on the topic: ‘The Future of Parliament in Ghana’s Democratic Governance’, the Speaker reiterated the importance of strengthening Parliament’s oversight drive, acknowledging that while it was endowed with broad powers under several Articles of the 1992 Constitution, the Legislature’s oversight mandate had been the weakest link during the Fourth Republic.

“However, the only way to effectively and efficiently implement the oversight function in order to improve probity, accountability and transparency is for both sides of the House to take bipartisan and neutral approach on how Parliament monitors management of the State and its resources.

“The economic incentives and carrots that can be gained for siding with the Executive, facilitated by extreme loyalty and strict party discipline have all contributed to the weakening of Parliament’s position and oversight power and in future, Parliament will need to achieve financial autonomy in order for the Legislature to be fully equipped with the power to oversee the Executive,” Mr Bagbin entreated.

He intimated that despite the design of the Constitution, Parliament had the power of the purse, approval from the Consolidated Fund could only be given by the House for the government to undertake projects.

Ironically, Mr Bagbin alluded that the Executive approves Parliament’s budget, giving the Executive enormous and overbearing powers over the Legislature and indicated that the current arrangement which the Executive approves Parliament’s own budget, had the potential to undermine the Legislature’s oversight capacity.

“Under the shadow of a hung parliament, there is need for strategic engagements, consensus building, conflict resolution to provide channel for both sides of the House to approach societal issues with single goal in mind in the interest of the citizenry, traditional rulers, religious leaders and civil society organisations in the work of Parliament, in order to improve Parliament-citizen relations through the ‘Citizen Bureau’ initiative which will be Parliament’s partnership,” he underscored. –starrfm.com.gh

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