Renounce your seats if… -Kofi Bentil

Kofi Bentil, Senior Vice-President of IMANI Africa, has asked Members of Parliament (MPs) to renounce their seats if they cannot be consistently present in the House to be involved in parliamentary business.

“Many MPs in recent times have disregarded the significance of their position as legislators and have treated the law-making job as part-time work and this is wrong for which reason is the essence of Parliament’s Standing Order 16,” he decried.

Mr Bentil stressed on the need for constituents to complain because there were rules for Parliament which was a full-time job for parliamentarians and must seek permission from the Speaker if they wanted to engage in other issues.

Reacting to the issue of MPs absenting themselves from Parliament without the Speaker’s permission, he noted that Standing Order 16 was enacted for broader goal and if they do not want to go to work, they should relinquish their seats and underscored how hung Parliament had caused MPs themselves to track consistent absence of their colleagues.

He observed that the current hung Parliament was the best for the country’s democratic dispensation but be minded to stead down and shame those parliamentarians who took the money, the office, the purse and did not go to work which was entirely good for hung Parliaments.

“We should always have a hung parliament because it will create certain dynamic that will bring good issues out of the democratic structure we have since this is the first time in the Fourth Republic we are having Parliament asses itself in a strong way, resulting in three New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs referred to the Privileges Committee in Parliament by the Speaker, Alban Bagbin for absenting themselves for more than15 days without his permission,” Mr Bentil posited.

The three MPs are Adwoa Safo, MP for Dome-Kwabenya Constituency, Henry Quartey, MP for Ayawaso Central Constituency both in the Greater Accra Region and Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central in the Central Region.

Delivering his ruling on the floor of the House, Mr Bagbin explained the absence of the MPs as in breach of Order 17(1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament and Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution. But Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, the Minority Chief Whip, disagreed with the Speaker’s decision and filed a motion seeking to revoke his referral of three MPs to the Privileges Committee in Parliament and prayed the House to revoke the Speaker’s decision . –

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