Speaker calls for review of 1992 Constitution

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has called for a review of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. 

He said “I will be very strict, come next year, 2022,to make sure that we change the nature and character of our politics in the country, that I can assure you”.

The Speaker was of the view that the appointment of the Auditor General to audit and report on government’s operations should not be the responsibility of the resident. 

MrBagbin, who was speaking at the maiden Breakfast Forum of the eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic, in Kumasi, on Monday, said it was inappropriate for the President to appoint a civil servant to improve government’s accountability by auditing and reporting on its operations.

He explained that the Auditor General is an officer of Parliament, and Parliament must play a major role in the appointment of such officer. 

MrBagbin also advocated the abolition of appointment of parliamentarians to serve on Boards of state-owned enterprises, saying that it did not only raise conflict of interest, but also retarded government’s business in Parliament. 

He observed that the public has lost confidence in Parliamentarians, “and the perception of Parliament being a corrupt institution in Ghana must stop.”

MrBagbin said “Ghanaians are really looking up to us. We have to recapture the lost glory.” 

Prof. Henry KwasiPrempeh, Executive Director, CDD, was also of the view that MPs should not serve on boards of state owned enterprises.

He said the practice persisted because successive Speakers had failed to enforce article 98(2), “which erects a presumption against MPs holding another office of profit or emolument where it will prejudice the work of the MP or create a conflict of interest.”

Prof. Prempeh noted that MPs wanted to serve on boards more than ministerial appointments because they can get lot of money from serving on the boards, to run their politics.

He urged Parliament to use its Privileges Committee effectively to discipline ‘wayward’ MPs, whose conduct and dealings damaged the reputation and dignity of the House.

This, he said, would help deal with the widespread perception that Parliament was itself a problem, as opposed to being part of the solution.

Paramount Chief of Juaben, Nana OtuoSerebour, who is also chairman of the Council of State, called on Ghanaians to come together and build the country, saying “we have to bring governance to the doorstep of the people, we need to come together as a people to build Ghana”.

The clergy, traditional leaders, civil society organisations, trade unions, academia, Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as a cross-section of the public, attended the forum, on the theme: “Examining Parliament’s Oversight Function on Governance of Public Goods and Services: Prospects and Challenges in the Eighth Parliament.”

The event afforded them an opportunity to explore mechanisms to strengthen the oversight capacity of Parliament, to be able to hold government accountable, especially in the governance of public goods and service.

FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE,KUMASI

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