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General News of Wednesday, 22 December 2004

Source: Graphic

Experienced MPs must be retained -Dzirasah

Graphic -- The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament,Mr Kenneth Dzirasa,has said the high turnover of Members of Parliament has the potential of undermining the effectiveness of the legislation of good laws for the country's development.

He said considering the fact that only eight founding members of the first Parliament, of the Fourth Republic would be available in the next Parliament, the House would be robbed of experienced hands who were retiring voluntarily or were defeated in the December 7 parliamentary election.

The MPs are Messrs Ken Dzirasa, South Tongu, Sallas Mensah, Upper West Akyem, Dan Abodakpi, Keta, E.T. Mensah, Ningo-Prampram, Doe Adjaho, Avenor; Alban Bagbin, Nadowli North , John Tia, Talensi and Alhassan Yakubu, Nanton. Mr Dzirasa was contributing to a statement made by the MP for Hohoe South, Mr Kosi Kedem, on the floor of Parliament yesterday.

he said the contributions and performances of a number of MPs from both the majority and minority sides which he described as vintage, would be missing in the next Parliament, stressing that that would, to a considerable extent, undermine the consolidation of parliamentary practices and the enactment of laws that would stand the test of time.

He called for a critical look at the electoral process of the country , especially the inner-party structures that regulated the election of parliamentary candidates and the general election in which new members of Parliament were elected.

The Deputy Speaker said refined MP's whose contributions had been a source of inspiration to and won the commendation of the House lost the primaries of their respective political parties and, therefore, could not contest the parliamentary election to get elected to the next Parliament.

He described as ironical the situation where the talents of retired MPs were tapped for national development and called on the House and the authorities to take a second look at the issue.

In his submission,Mr Kedem called on the House to work hard to change the perception of the Ghanaian public that Parliament was quite weak in relation to the Executive. "This perception is so pervasive that during the First and Second Parliaments, the House was scornfully referred to as a rubber stamp, while the Third Parliament has often been jokingly described as an elephant stamp," he said.

He added that such perceptions about Parliament may be true or inappropriate but they could and, indeed, be used as a yardstick with which people and institutions could sometimes be judged.The MP for Hohoe South stressed the need for the Fourth Parliament to take relevant steps to rectify such weaknesses.

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