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THE EXPECTATION OF CITIZENS PARLIAMENTARIANS

IT is an undeniable fact that parliamentary roles in democracy have evolved over decades, and in some cases, centuries.

In order to stay relevant to voters, parliaments exist to represent the people and shape public policy.

However, worldwide, parliamentarians are struggling to meet the ever growing expectations of citizens.

A research conducted by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, clearly underlines the fact that citizens hold parliamentarians to account fundamentally for what they are able to do in their various constituencies outside parliament and have little interest in their law making role or their ability to exercise oversight responsibility over the executive.

Indeed, parliamentarians, according to the research are now being judged by how well they have been able to serve their constituencies and represent the interest of the people.

It is clear that the performance of the parliamentarian in the constituencies is now very important and an accepted part of the job which is used to judge whether to retain or vote out a parliamentarian.

That is why the research revealed that only 95 of the 275 MPs had a 50 and above per cent approval of their constituents.

According to the report, only one lawmaker had 90 per cent and above, while eight scored between 80 and 89 per cent, 10 scored 70-79 per cent, 26 had between 60-69 per cent with 50 aggregating between 50-59 per cent.

The report also indicated that 27,500 eligible voters interviewed in 1,375 electoral areas across the country want 180 lawmakers voted out for underperformance.

These are very curious revelations and further strengthen the suggestion that voters are much more likely to judge MPs on their ability to deliver at the local level rather than in parliament.

It is against this backdrop that we advise the men and women of the legislature to take the research report very seriously if they want to retain their seats in parliament.

The report has clearly exposed many parliamentarians who have taken their constituents for granted and have not fulfilled the promises they made to the electorate to get their votes.

Indeed, the report shows that voters are no longer in the era where politicians make promises during their campaign for votes and refuse to fulfill them after being elected.

Now the voters are holding the MPs to account for their promises and expect them to meet their expectations.

For us the research report has come at an opportune time to enable the underperforming MPs to buck up if they want to win the hearts and minds of their constituents and retain their seats.

It is also an opportunity for the MPs to show voters that they are normal people who share the same ambitions and, are doing their jobs in the interest of the people.

Those who have neglected their people and abandoned the constituencies must begin to retrace their steps and take their time to speak with the people and listen to them. That is how they can be convinced to support them.

We know that it is a herculean task for MPs to meet expectations which are ever increasing, but we expect all MPs to keep faith with the people and deliver on their promises.

That is the only way they can retain the trust of the people.

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