Mps Kick Against Appointments Of Ministers From Outside Parliament

hackman_owusu_agyemangSome members of Parliament have kicked against proposals to allow the President to choose all his ministers outside parliament.

A former minister of state, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, who seemed to be speaking the mind of most MPs, branded the proposal as “academic, utopian and unworkable”.

Speaking to the media in an interview in Accra, in defence of the current practice of appointing 50% of ministers from Parliament, Mr. Owusu Agyemang explained that MPs in the ruling government are the best people to implement their party’s manifesto because, they are the ones who sell the party’s ideas during elections.

The MPs were reacting to recommendations by a nine-member Constitutional Review Commission to amend Article 78 (I) of the 1992 Constitution.

The article states, “Ministers of state shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament except that the majority of ministers of state shall be appointed from among members of Parliament.”

A Research Fellow with the Institute of Economic Affairs (lEA), Dr. Ransford Gyampoh had argued that the current practice was making MPs powerless in checking the executive.

“How will you be able to scrutinise and critique the executive when you are always wanting to catch the eye of the executive,” he asked.

However, Mr.Owusu-Agyemang, discounted claims that the proposal would make parliament stronger saying, as long as a government has majority of MPs coming from the ruling party, the executive would always have its way.

He explained that MPs were not clothed with powers to make a law because “the constitution bars parliament from making a bill”.

According to the former MP with 12 years legislative experience, the reality in African parliaments is that people elect MPs not on the law he proposes to make but on his party’s manifesto promises which are mainly infrastructural.

“Parliament can never check the executive because all over the world, the executives very often have their way,” he said.

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