The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ebo Barton Odro has cautioned Members of Parliament (MP) seeking to retain their seats as well as new aspirants to desist from making outrageous promises during their campaigns.
According to the MP for Cape Coast, who has decided not to contest his seat, MPs were not agents of development, and that, making such promises only gave the impression that it was part of their mandate.
“It is actually becoming too much. It is bad and that is why MPs are being warned that they should be careful of the promises they make during their campaigns. It is not our mandate, these days even assembly members are promising that they will build roads, it’s fascinating,” he lamented.
Mr Odro made these remarks when responding to questions from a section of the public concerning the core mandate of MPs at a parliamentary constituency forum held in Cape Coast, on Sunday.
The forum, an initiative by Parliament, which was themed “Deepening citizens’ engagement for better understanding of the legislature,” was aimed at sensitising citizens for them to understand and appreciate the work of the legislature.
It was also to create a structured engagement mechanism between citizens and Parliament to enhance their ability to hold duty bearers accountable through increased interaction between them.
The legislature, the two-term MP noted, was gradually deviating from its core mandate of making laws by embarking on developmental projects, which he insisted, was becoming too much and needed to be tackled before the situation worsens.
He indicated that the leadership of Parliament would soon come out with measures to check the situation and called on the media to collaborate with them to ensure that those MPs who engaged in the act were pinned to the wall.
He, however, admonished the general public to desist from demanding excessively from their MPs and other public office bearers as it had the potential of pushing them into acts of bribery and corruption.
Mr. Charles Obeng-Inkoom, MP for Agona West acknowledged that though it was not their mandate to embark on development projects, the increasing demands and expectations from the public often compelled them to use its common fund to undertake some development projects.
Joe Ghartey, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament explained that the decentralisation system did not mandate MPs to undertake development projects, and that, all funds meant for development were channeled through the district assemblies, likewise the MP’s common fund.
He, therefore, urged metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies not to sit on funds meant for development projects.
Participants were schooled on the duties and responsibilities of parliamentarians, which included an oversight responsibility, approval of budget statement, checks and balances and making laws.
The public asked questions on health, employment creation and other development issues, development plan, the debt toll of the nation, disbursement of MP’s common fund and others.
The forum brought together MPs and aspirants from both the majority and the minority in the Central Region.