CSOs committed to ensuring success of parliamentary democracy

The Centre for Democratic Devel­opment-Ghana (CDD-Ghana) has assured of civil society organisa­tions (CSOs) commitment and determina­tion to ensuring the success of the nation’s parliamentary democracy through collabo­ration and healthy engagements.

It noted that prior to the Fourth Republic, Parliament was a branch of Government with the most disrupted life in constitutional and political history.

“Parliament resumed its life in the Fourth Republic on a less than optimistic note, as the decision of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to boycott the December 1992 parliamentary elections robbed the first Parliament of an official opposition party,” the Centre lamented.

Paul Aborampah Mensah, Programmes Manager, CDD-Ghana, explained that in January 1997, with the arrival of a fully representative and competitive chamber, Parliament began to deepen its institutional foundations and assumed its proper role as a multi-party chamber reflecting the diverse and divergent political party affiliations and identities within the Ghanaian polity.

He observed that over the course of the Fourth Republic, Parliament, in keep­ing with its rightful role as the People’s As­sembly was the most popularly accessible and representative branch of Government, had developed and enjoyed a productive working relationship with civil society.

Mr Mensah indicated that CSOs had helped to inform, sensitise, create aware­ness and educated the citizenry about the business and work of Parliament, support­ed the Parliamentary Service and successive classes of Members of Parliament (MPs) to build capacities relevant to their multiple mandates and functions of law making, oversight and representation.

“CSOs work closely with and supply various skills, knowledge products to MPs and committees of Parliament to help improve quality of proposed legislation and organisations have also undertaken periodic assessments of the performance of MPs and Parliament itself.

“That last activity of CSOs has not always been welcomed by MPs or Parlia­ment but those organisations and Parlia­ment have come to appreciate occasional respectful disagreement is an inevitable part of their engagement,” Mr Mensah said.

He contended that such engagements were healthy for progressive evolution of the nation’s parliamentary democracy since Parliament had come a long way in the last thirty years adding that “the Fourth Repub­lican Parliament is the first and only Parlia­ment in our history to reach adulthood”.

Mr Mensah averred that citizens still looked up to Parliament to keep oversight, checks-and-balances of the Executive, pro­tect the public purse, diligently scrutinise proposed legislation, international con­tracts, agreements, substantial part of the burden of making the nation’s democracy work for the people rests on the shoulders of Parliament.

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