• +233 20 230 9497

Being an MP in Ghana is a tough task:Offinso South MP

If anyone had the conviction that being a Member of Parliament was a ‘goldmine’ venture where one could attain wealth, then that person must start revising his or her notes, because being a legislator has been described as ‘hell’, and a ‘money-sucking’ career which comes with little or no reward.

The Member of Parliament for Offinso South, Mr. Ben Abdallah, who made this confession while sharing his thoughts on his six months stay in Parliament confessed that the career was not an enviable one as some people would want to believe, but it is instead a sacrifi¬cial job which is not ideal for people wanting to make money.

“I had always viewed the job as a unique one, but I must be frank with you that 1 have now come to realize that being an MP in Ghana is not a goldmine as is being perceived out there, I would never recommend this career to anyone who wants to be financially independent, because the job comes with so much financial encumbrances which does not make it ideal for people starting business,” he lamented.

Mr. Abdallah, who is among the new MPs making their debut in the august house, noted that apart from the privilege and the honour that come along with being a repre¬sentative of the people in the House, there was nothing an MP could boast about, arguing that an average public servant with good pay was better than a Member of Parliament.

According to him, being a Member of Parliament in Ghana is like being a problem solver -“because everybody knows that you are making money and they expect you to assist them anytime they have a problem.”

“You receive a lot of funeral invitations every weekend and people expect that you donate gen¬erously when you attend, or you risk losing your seat if you fail to do so,” he noted, and attributed the refusal by some MPs to visit their constituents to the financial burden that often comes along with such visits.

The young MP, however, said he had not regretted taking up the job because “I made a promise to serve my people with dedication and commitment.”

He pledged that he would work wholeheartedly to ensure the development of the Offinso con¬stituency, adding that his main focus was to improve upon the health and educational needs of his people.

Mr Abdallah observed that being a first time member was par¬ticularly a tedious because you are expected to make a good impression on your constituents and justify the trust and confidence reposed in you by the people.

The MP, however, said being in the house within the past six months has taught him a lot of lessons and experiences, which he hopes to apply positively to the development of his constituency.

He underscored the need for society not to put a lot of pressure on MPs so that they can carry out their duties as legislators who are elected into Parliament to make laws and to safeguard the country’s democracy.

Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle

Expert backs call for appointing former MPs as Speakers

A governance expert has backed suggestions for a constitutional amendment to restrict the position of Speaker of Parliament to former Members of Parliament.

Addressing former MPs at a seminar in Accra on Wednesday, political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Kumi Ansah Koi proposed that the post of Speaker be left to those who are already familiar with the rules and regulations of the legislature, and not outsiders.

Current Speaker of Parliament Joyce Bamford Addo is a retired Supreme Court Judge who has risen to the high office of Speaker on the back of her rich public service.
The constitution, as it stands now, does not restrict candidates for the post to specific criteria.

But Mr. Ansah Koi believes proceedings of the House would be enhanced and better controlled if the job is left to former or serving MPs.

“Couldn’t our parties ensure that one of the qualifications to becoming a Speaker is that you must have been a Member of Parliament before. It’s not in the constitution. All that it says is that the Speaker must qualify to be a Member of Parliament,” he indicated.

Mr Koi said the “idea of novice” who knows nothing about the rules and regulations of the House being appointed as Speaker is rather “disturbing.

Head of Africa Programmes at the Parliamentary Centre in Accra, Dr. Rashid Draman, agrees. He says the practice is common in many countries.

Source: Joy News/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Mills directs MPs to be issued with diplomatic passports

President Mills has directed that all Members of Parliament (MPs) must be issued with diplomatic passports with immediate effect.

President Mills issued the directive to facilitate the work of MPs who travel abroad on official duty, Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni has said.

Alhaji Mumuni said the President issued the directive at a Cabinet meeting over the weekend.

“We as a new administration, coming and wanting to take this administration in the right direction, we examined the issue; we looked at the philosophical and utilitarian aspects of this matter and we came to conclusion that Parliament or Parliamentarians by the nature of the work that they do for and on behalf of our country,…there is need for them to be issued with this facility to [aid] their work,” he said.

Asked how authorities would ensure the facility is not abused, Alhaji Mumuni said measures have been put in place to ensure MPs use the passports responsibly.

Source: Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Bawku MP wins another case

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mr Adamu Daramani Sakande, Thursday won another legal victory over the cattle farmer who instituted legal action against the MP at the High Court last year.

His victory was as a result of the Court of Appeal’s decision to affirm its earlier decision which set aside the cattle dealer’s writ of summons which challenged the MP’s nationality.

Exactly a week yesterday, the Court of Appeal declared the decision by the High Court which ordered the MP to vacate his seat as null and void.

The court had, in a unanimous decision, held that the writ of summons filed by Mr Sumaila Biebel which challenged the eligibility of the MP to stand for election and to be subsequently elected as an MP “was wrong in law”.

It, accordingly, upheld submissions for counsel for the MP, Mr Yonny Kulendi, which described Mr Biebel’s action as an electoral petition “dressed as a constitutional enforcement action” and awarded costs of GH¢2,000 against Mr Biebel.

At the Court of Appeal’s sitting in Accra yesterday, it was of the view that there was no point delving into Mr Sakande’s appeal against the High Court’s decision not to set aside its default judgement to enable the MP to file his defence on the grounds that the court’s earlier order had “overtaken” what it would have done yesterday.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice A. Asare-Korang, Mr Justice S. E. Kanyoke and Mr Justice W. H. K. Addo, accordingly upheld Mr Sakande’s appeal and awarded GH¢2,000 costs against Mr Biebel.

Mr Sakande was represented by Mr Egbert Faibille, while Mr Biebel was represented by Dr Raymond Atuguba.

In a default judgement dated July 15, 2009, the High Court had declared that the MP owed allegiance to Britain and not Ghana and for that reason he could not hold a position as MP in Ghana following a writ of summons filed by Mr Biebel.

The High Court granted Mr Biebel’s application, which sought a declaration that the MP should be ordered to vacate his seat because he was a British national and, therefore, did not qualify to sit as MP.

However, lawyers for the MP appealed against the High Court’s decision on the grounds that Mr Biebel should have filed an electoral petition within 21 days after the declaration of the results, which Mr Biebel failed to do.

The lawyers, therefore, prayed the Court of Appeal to set aside the writ of summons which, they argued, Mr Biebel had filed months after Mr Sakande had been declared winner in the Bawku Cenntral parliamentary election.

In his appeal, the MP had challenged the lower court’s jurisdiction and capacity and contended that the plaintiff’s suit was an electoral petition “dressed as a constitutional enforcement action”.

Source: Daily Graphic

Mills is commended for seeking to “unite” MPs – Owusu-Ankoma

Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi, on Thursday commended President Evans Atta Mills for calling on the Majority and Minority of the House to come together towards building of a better Ghana.

The MP, however, said the sincerity of the President as a person could not be doubted but “sincerity without action is nothing”, and asked him to back his words with action.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah was contributing to a debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address, delivered to the House by President Mills last week.

The MP accused the Government for making the cost of doing business in Ghana very high and the general cost of living difficult.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah accused efforts by government to establish offices in every constituency across the country for MPs executive interference in the activities of Parliament.

“Let this House determine its priority and give it to the Executive, this is the House of the people”.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah said being in government was a daunting task and pledged the support of the Minority for government to enable it succeed for the benefit of Ghanaians.

Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, commended the President for initiating the Constitutional Review Committee.

She said the Committee would review various aspects of the 1992 Constitution to suit modern trends, strengthen the institutions that fight corruption and drug cases.

Mr. William Boafo MP for Akropong, said the State of the Nation Address did not touch on any issue on security and defence.

He accused the Government for not solving the unemployment problem and delaying the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Policy, saying the Address not the best.

Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, MP for Manhyia, said the President’s Address was invasive and sketchy.

He said the health system was tumbling adding that it would be an indictment on the NDC Government that says it was practicing social democracy, if it was unable to expand the National health Insurance Scheme, the Metro Mass Transport, the School Feeding Programme and other social interventions initiated by the NPP.

Mr. Fritz Baffour, MP for Ablekuma South, said the President was committed to ensuring the establishment of oil and gas industry and an integrated iron and steel industry to change the country’s economic paradigm.

Ghana owes former MPs and Organizations – Veep

Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday said Ghana owes her excellent democratic credentials to the good work of previous parliamentarians and organizations that lent their support to efforts to democracy the country.

Vice President Mahama in a speech read for him by the Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Rojo Mettle Nunoo, said former parliamentarians were better placed to bear testimony to the organizations and groups whose contributions to parliamentary democracy and good governance had brought the country this far.

He said this at the First Promoter of Parliamentary Democracy Awards dinner organized by the Forum for Former Members of Parliament (FFMP) at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra.

The occasion was used to honour organizations that have contributed to the growth of democracy in Ghana.

Vice President Mahama told the FFMP to help the national development agenda as senior statesmen in order to forge ahead democratic advocacy in a non partisan manner.

He thanked all the organizations that contributed to support parliament and called on them to continue with such assistance.

Majority Leader Cletus Avoka, who chaired the event, said parliament thrived on procedure but unfortunately the practices and procedures have not been documented to assist parliamentary growth.

He noted that a forum of this nature would give the opportunity to young MPs to tap the experiences of the old ones, adding that every MP was a potential member of the forum.

Mr Kosi Kedem, President of the Forum, said a lot would be done to bring true and stable democratic culture in Ghana.

“Some people hold the view that politics in Ghana is still plagued with tribalism, nepotism, winner-take-all attitude, weak parliament, excessive executive power and corrupt executive.” he said.

According to Mr Kedem, the main concern of the FFMP was to purge the system of these undesirable elements.

Present at the event were Mr Doe Adjaho, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Rashid Pelpuo, Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Gershon Gbediame, Majority Chief Whip, some current Members of Parliament and some members of the diplomatic corps.

The organizations that were honoured include the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Institute for Democratic Governance, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Canadian International Development Agency, (CIDA).

The rest were the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Parliamentary Centre, Centre for Democratic Development and Association of European Parliamentarian with Africa.