Majority leader in Parliament Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has stated that democracy is not a winner-takes-all affair.
The 8th Parliament, he said, should therefore learn an invaluable lesson from the 2020 Parliamentary elections and ensure it becomes the standard to improving Ghana’s democratic governance and the operations of the parliamentary system.
He made the statement when he upraised members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) on the work of the 7th Parliament, its achievements and challenges, and how to improve on the 8th Parliament during a confab with the leadership of the caucuses.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu pointed out that the voting pattern in the 2020 election is a statement that should push the frontiers of consultation and consensus-building in the Eighth Parliament.
He disclosed that the Seventh Parliament has been the busiest in the anal of Ghana’s democracy.
According to him, over its four-year term the Seventh Parliament considered and passed over 230 bills but lamented that the core of the members whose invaluable services helped in the legislation will not be in the next Parliament.
He reiterated calls to political parties to therefore reconsider their internal selection processes and the parliamentary primaries in order to protect the House of Parliament and strengthen it further.
When he took his turn, Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu warned that when Parliament reduces itself into a clearinghouse for executive embarrassment, it fails to deepen the practice of Separation of Powers.
He lamented that over course of Ghana’s democracy, its Parliament has become like the hidden button on a shirt and only becomes relevant when another button gets torn off.
He urged the House to assert itself as the third arm of government to enable it effectively perform its oversight functions.
He stated that the legislature must be a forum where right and wrong are debated and where right prevails and not partisanship.
According to him, under the Seventh Parliament the Minority, in the exercise of its mandate, was able to build consensus where it was necessary and compelling in the national and public interest to do so.
“There were instances we had to walk out and boycott to register dissatisfaction or disagreement with the action of government or the executive.”
“There had been moments when debates itself have suffered for want of time and that should not be the case.
“For instance, we have a budget read by a Minister of Finance and the minority opposition party rises to critique it, and within five or ten minutes you are told to sit down; and yet the minister was given one to two hours to present same”, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated.
The Minority leader argued that political opposition where it is proactive and genuinely sincere must reflect beyond the needs and wishes of the political party it represents.
“It becomes the mirror to reflect the concerns and aspirations of the Ghanaian people. We must be the voices for the voiceless,” he stated, citing debate on the ban on second-hand vehicles and the Public Universities Bill as examples.
The Seventh Parliament, he said, has done its best and stressed at least the House has passed two important legislations that would contribute to Ghana’s democratic future namely the Special Prosecutor’s Act.