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Politics of Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Source: GNA

Party politics undermining oversight powers of Parliament

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader and Vice Chairperson of the Special Budget Committee of Parliament, says party politics are the factors that greatly undermine the ability of the parliamentary committees to exercise oversight roles.

He said the hierarchy and discipline of the political parties prevent members from raising concerns on issues of national interests.

“The party leadership can command much loyalty of its members and impose firm discipline, because, ultimately, members rely on their parties for their seat in Parliament,” he stressed. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was speaking at a workshop organised by Star-Ghana, a multi donor pooled organisation on making the Special Budget Committee effective in Koforidua.

He said the situation is not serving the country well since it is an impediment to the ability of a committee to exercise its oversight functions effectively.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said majority members might vote against any attempt to summon the Majority Leader if they are of the opinion that it may embarrass the government even though it contravenes Order 38 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

He said the flaw has been detected and now a special arrangement of de-facto chairmanship at the Special Budget Committee has been instituted to check it.

The Special Budget Committee is a Parliamentary Committee that is chaired by the Majority Leader with the Minority leader as Vice Chairman and comprises 19 other members.

The committee has the function of considering the budget of Parliament and other constitutionally independent bodies, including, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice , National Media Commission, Electoral Commission and National Commission for Civic Education.

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