The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has called on Members of Parliament (MPs) to eschew excessive partisanship as the House reconvenes for the Second Meeting of the Second Session of Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
In the view of the Speaker, this is the only way the House would run smoothly and exercise its oversight responsibility without fear or favour.
Mr Bagbin, who made the call in his welcome address to MPs at the first sitting of the meeting in Accra, yesterday, said “we must eschew excessive partisanship, demonstrate concern for the plight of the ordinary citizen and chart the path that will help ameliorate the pain and suffering of Ghanaians.”
He said while Parliament took steps to further strengthen the legislature and empower MPs to perform their duties and responsibilities effectively and responsively, the House would be strengthened to hold government and state institutions accountable to the people, for the power, trust, resources and hope reposed in members.
“The executive President, assisted by the cabinet and state institutions, shall be called upon to account for the stewardship of the country. To succeed in implementing this agenda, Parliament itself must be open, transparent and accountable to the people. As the saying goes, ‘Charity begins at home,’ Mr Bagbin, said.
He said: “As the constitutional and legal head of the institution of Parliament, the spokesperson, the arbitrator and guarantor of its authority, independence and privileges, I pledge to lead this effort by example”.
On the unfinished business of Parliament, Mr Bagbin urged the House as a whole to pursue with zeal and enthusiasm the outstanding businesses for consideration of the House.
The unfinished businesses, the Speaker itemised, include the Conduct of Public Officers’ Bill, Contracts (Amendment) Bill, the Ghana Industrial Property Bill, Intestate Succession Bill and the Notaries Public (Amendment) Bill.
Mr Bagbin said he was not happy about the delay in work on the Affirmative Action Bill, which was yet to be presented to Parliament.
“It has long been on the backburner and I think Ghanaians can no longer wait. The duty to pass laws rests on parliament and not the Executive,” he said, and called on the agency responsible for the bill to present it to the House.
The long delay of the bill, the Speaker said was giving a disastrous blow to Ghana’s quest to empower women and getting them, if not equal to men, at least to be able to support them to deliver.
“The representation of women in this House is nothing to write home about. Many African countries have gone past 30 per cent and beyond women representation in government and we are still at 14.5 per cent, yet we claim to be the shining example of Democratic governance in Africa,” Mr Bagbin said.