Don’t make MPs ministers—Owusu Ankomah

MPs- Papa Owusu Ankomah

MPs- Papa Owusu Ankomah

Papa Owusu Ankomah, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, has suggested a shift from the President to appoint majority of his ministers from Parliament to allow the Legislature to properly play its oversight role over the government.

“No Member of Parliament (MP) should be made a minister, in order to deepen our democracy and make it successful, the most important institution is Parliament because it needs to exercise oversight responsibility over the executive,” he insisted.

Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution compels the President to appoint most of the ministers from Parliament, but the former Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah noted that “given the level of authority wielded by the executive, Parliament needs to be free from” influences of the executive to properly do its work”.

“That’s critical, especially when in our history, we defer to authority, the funds are given to the executive, the executive virtually controls everything in the country and the executive has the backing of technocrats.”

“The more experienced members we have in Parliament, the better Parliament is able to exercise its particular function of oversight, that’s why I believe it is high time we do away with our fused system, our hybrid system and picking majority of ministers from parliament.

“We’ve deepened democracy to make checks and balances more effective, let the legislature be entirely different from the executive and more MPs have been given ministerial portfolios, in line with the constitution,” Papa Owusu Ankomah indicated.

Papa Owusu Ankomah who served in various ministerial positions including Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Minister for the Interior and Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, said, “The presence of ministers in parliament significantly weakens the legislature.

“The legislature suffers more, the executive controls everything, I’ve had an experience of being a minister, and things I could get done in my constituency were done at the time when I was minister because I was calling the shots.

“In our constitution, the MP is not supposed to be the one who delivers projects, it’s the assembly, as MPs we find a way from trying to influence things, it’s when you separate the legislature from the executive you strengthen the legislature and get a strong legislature to counteract influence of the executive,” Papa Owusu Ankomah pointed out. –

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