House extends invitation to Political Science Dept over MPs assessment

MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) have extended an invitation to the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana for a discussion on parameters for assessing the lawmakers. 

At a joint press conference addressed by the Majority and Minority Leaders, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu respectively in Accra yesterday, the lawmakers said agreeing on the parameters would ensure that the survey reports were accepted by all. 

According to Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, assessing MPs without factoring in their core mandate of law making was unfair to not just the legislators but the institution of Parliament. 

The Suame MP said the core mandate of MPs was legislation and not development and that the University of Ghana must assist in changing the perception of the electorate on the role of MPs. 

He said Members of Parliament were not against any institution assessing their performance but same must be done based on their constitutional mandate. 

Their invitation to the academia followed the release of the Political Science Department’s survey on perception of their constituents across all 275 constituencies. 

Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, last Tuesday directed the Leadership and House Committee of the House to engage the department and allied research institutions to establish which subject areas should be used in assessing members. 

Speaker Oquaye said if this was done, the annual rift that builds between the House and research institutions anytime a survey was done on the performance of MPs would be resolved. 

Speaker Oquaye, a former Head of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana said “it is important MPs are understood by research bodies in order not to delight in the usual MP bashing” stating that “Parliament is not against assessment.”

According to Speaker Oquaye, the current Parliament is the most productive of all the Parliaments in the Fourth Republic having passed more bills, asked more questions and made more statements on the floor; all in advancing the cause of their constituents. 

“These are verifiable facts and I put my honour on it,” Speaker Oquaye said underscoring the need for people to understand the role of MPs. 

“You will be unfair to assess an MP based on roads rather than his or her contribution at the Committee level. Without Committee, you haven’t properly assessed an MP because the Committee is the workshop of Parliament,” Professor Oquaye, a former Member for Dome-Kwabenya stated. 

Members of Parliament have in the past questioned research findings on them by governance research think tank, Odikro and Africa Watch magazine all which cast a slur on the performance on MPs. 

Like in the case of the current finding, the lawmakers argued that the reports were skewed in the sense that it did not factor the contribution of MPs in Parliament especially at the Committee level. 

The survey on the MPs, released by the Political Science Department of University of Ghana on Monday, June 10, 2019 said 180 of the 275 had underperformed and were favoured to be voted out in the 2020 elections. 

According to the report, only 95 of the MPs had a 50 plus approval rating in the survey which interviewed 100 constituents across five electoral areas in all the constituencies. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

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