Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) says political parties should be blamed for fielding what he describes as substandard parliamentary candidates.
Prof. Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson said it is high time the job description of a legislator is matched to the individuals’ qualification it.
“To the extent that political parties present candidates, they should be held responsible for the calibre of people they present at all constituencies,” he said delivering the maiden Constitution Day lecture.
The lecture was held at the Ghana Arts and Science Academy in Accra on the theme ‘Constitutionalism in Ghana’s Fourth Republic: Towards a functioning performance’ on Monday.
The qualification and contribution of MPs have become an issue of public discourse for some time now.
Civil Society Group Odekro has issued a damning report on how absenteeism by parliamentarians has cost the taxpayer ¢1.4 million in 2017.
According to the 54-paged reports, 54 MPs during the time absented themselves from parliament without permission in clear violation of the constitution
“Overall 54 MPs reached and crossed the 15 sittings absence without permission threshold, thus violating Article 97(1)(C) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, since there is no material evidence that they sought permission in writing from the Speaker.
Prof. Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, GIMPA Rector [Picture: Edna Aduserwaa]
“Of this statistic, 34 chronically absentee MPs (representing 62.9% of the 54 absentee MPs) double as Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State,” the report said.
Also in 2017, some MPs expressed concern over a ranking of their performance by Odekro and requested leadership of the House to seriously act to halt such surveys. They said such reports only create a bad image for the House.
This was after the organisation released a report which identified about 19 MPs of the 6th Parliament who were tagged as silent due to their failure to contribute to deliberations on the floor of the house all through their four-year stay.
To further enable legislator to do a good job, Prof Ebow Bondzi-Simpson advocated that contrary to the current provision in the constitution, they should not be appointed ministers.
He said burdening one person with the responsibility of handling two keys positions impedes development.
“I believe that MPs should not be ministers not that there is not a good case for MPs being ministers because in some democracies we do have that but how has it worked?” he said.
Meanwhile Executive Director of the African Center for Parliamentary Affairs(ACEPA), Rasheed Draman says concerns for political parties to field educated people as parliamentary candidates is a call in the right direction.
On MPs who are also Ministers, he says such government officials have their hands tied.