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General News of Thursday, 31 July 2003

Source: Graphic

Bicameral Legislature Not Suitable Now

The Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni, has said bicameral legislature will not be suitable for the country at the moment, in view of its precarious economic situation.

He said instead of thinking of creating an Upper Chamber alongside Parliament, the latter should be adequately resourced to carry out the mandate the sovereign people of Ghana have entrusted it with.

Alhaji Mumuni was commenting on a front page story published in the Graphic of Tuesday, July 29, 2003 in which President John Agyekum Kufuor was reported to have stated that the Council of State will serve a better purpose if it is upgraded to become the second chamber of Parliament.

Alhaji Mumuni is the a ranking member of both the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Judicial Committee of Parliament.

“In my view, the cost of creating an Upper Chamber will be too enormous for the state to bear”. he stated. He pointed out that Parliament, as it stands now, is under-resourced, such that a private member’s bill cannot be laid because of the lack of support and parliamentary draft persons.

He contended that Parliament is an expression of the sovereign will of the people and that setting up an Upper Chamber using the present Council of State will be undermining the principle of representative government. ‘”Until we are able to adequately support Parliament, the present moderating influence of the Council of State should be maintained”, he stressed.

The MP further said raising the Council of State now will be a luxury we can ill-afford and said the issue can be looked at in the future “when the economy becomes good”. At the moment, Ghana is operating a unitary system of government which, he said, is more compact and advantageous.

Alhaji Mumuni noted that the National House of Chiefs, which is a recognised constitutional body, is also exerting a moderating influence on some aspects of the work of both the Executive and Parliament and said this is good for the promotion of democracy.

Giving a historical background to why a bicameral system has not been accepted in Ghana, the MP said since the 1969 Constitution was promulgated, the issue of having an Upper Chamber has been coming up but the matter has never received the support of the wider populace.