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General News of Wednesday, 27 April 2022


The selection of ministers from parliament has weakened parliament - Prof Oquaye

Prof. Mike Oquaye is a former Speaker of Parliament play videoProf. Mike Oquaye is a former Speaker of Parliament

Former Speaker of Parliament calls for review of 1979 and 1992 constitutions

MPs who are ministers are mostly less-effective in legislative work, Prof Oquaye

MPs who are members of boards of corporations have conflict of interest, Fmr Speaker of Parliament

Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye has lamented that the constitutional provision that allows for a president to appoint ministers from among Members of Parliament greatly affects the overall legislative work of the country.

The former Speaker of Parliament explained that this practice has continuously weakened parliament and has built an entitlement mentality in the minds of MPs who particularly are from the ruling party.

“The general observation is that this has weakened parliament. MPs look forward to becoming ministers, those who are not appointed as ministers, once their party is in power, feel left out, in some cases, disappointed constituents vote against them as at primaries, contribute to the huge attrition rate of MPs.

“The legislative work of parliament suffers because this is the second attraction to an MP’s oversight responsibility and accountability. They become ineffective sometimes as majority of MPs bend to the executive, praying that MPs fortune will shine on them by becoming ministers. The accompanying effect is that MPs who do not become ministers are sometimes made board members of state corporations as a compensation. This also leads to conflict of interest, i.e. those who have oversight responsibility over the very corporations are, or may be compromised,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of the Professor Mike Oquaye Centre for Constitutional Studies at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana (IEA Ghana), the political science scholar stressed that this provision of the law makes such MP-ministers less-performing in their roles.

He also suggested that there be a review of what the 1979 constitution said about such political arrangements, vis a vis what the 1992 constitution currently says.

“MP-Ministers hardly have time for effective legislative work, thus affecting the qualitative performance of Minister-MPs. One tragedy of our system is that although a vote of censure against ministers is provided for, i.e. Article 8 clause 5 of the constitution, nonetheless, a vote of censure cannot remove the minister because the discretion rests with the president whether to remove or not remove such a minister after parliamentary censure.

“Notably, under the 1979 constitution, no MP could also be a minister. We need to review this in order to strengthen the position of the MPs. Also, a vote of censure would necessarily lead to removal under the 1979 constitution. Why we should dilute the 1992 constitution despite the stronger version of 1979, is something that we may want to wonder about,” he said.

Watch him speak about it here: