The Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, is advocating a downward review of the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) in Ghana’s Parliament from 275 to 200.
This, according to Mr Mubarak who is also the MP for Asawase in the Ashanti Region, will help deal with persistent absenteeism by members, while keeping them on their toes.
“Some of our MPs are not doing the work they were elected to do. Sometimes you have people just walk in and walk out; some do not pay attention to the details when it comes, simply because their attention is somewhere.”
Mr Mubarak who made the suggestion in an interview recently explained that the remaining 75 seats can be reserved for representatives from minority groups who will be appointed based on their expertise and competence to support the House.
“If I had my way, I would have said that let us reduce the constituencies to 200 and the other 75 we leave it for the political parties based on the results that we get from the election.
Then we have a strict criterion, for example, minimum education will be a degree, experience of not less than 15 years, so that a certain calibre of people from the political parties can be decided on.
Then these people become the third component or better still use it for affirmative action.”
“In Uganda, they have seats for the women, seats for the youth, physically-challenged, the military and other relevant minority groups because these groups may naturally not be able to win a seat. Why can’t we also do that? I want to believe when we do this, it will help our democracy.”
The MP added that, in the interim, a biometric attendance recording system must be installed in Parliament to prevent MPs from unduly staying away from their duties.
According to him, the present system of manual recording is not robust enough.
“Sometimes you know definitely that this person has traveled so who signed for him? You have people hiring staff to sign for them and this is terrible.
The only way to end that will be to get a biometric system where you clock in with a thumbprint and because that is unique no one can sign in for another person.
“We really need to revise our standing orders. With our standing orders, a person will be absent and when it is time for him or her to be punished, he shows his face two or three times and that is it, then he disappears again.
Secondly, we have people who come and sit in the chamber for less than 10 minutes and walk out.”
pix – Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak