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General News of Sunday, 24 February 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

MPs’ privileges must be checked to avoid abuse – Odekro

Civil Society Group, Odekro has said that the privileges Members of Parliament in the country enjoy must be checked to avoid abuse.

The CSO, which focuses on the work of the legislative body said the processes to address the excess privileges of MPs must begin with the involvement of the public in the ongoing amendment of Parliament’s standing orders.

The Director of Research at Odekro, Nii Ashitey Armah in a Citi News interview said opening up the process for input into the amendment of the standing orders will also allow stakeholders suggest measures that will check the excesses of parliamentarians.

“The issue at stake here is parliamentary privileges. We have to pay attention to the amendment standing orders of parliament. It is an ongoing process which I think the public must be interested in, and if possible, the process should be opened up so that the public will have an opportunity to have an input into it. That is an entry point that will allow stakeholders to put in place some provisions that will check the excesses of MPs in terms of the exercise of the privileges of MPs,” he said.

His comment was in reaction to claims by Parliament that there it is unable to identify MPs who held what has been described as offensive placards during the swearing in of the Ayawaso Member of Parliament, Lydia Alhassan earlier this month.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Joe Owusu sitting in for Prof. Mike Oquaye ordered investigations into the incident and also for the particular MPs who wielded the “bloody widow” placards to be hauled before the Privileges Committee, but the Clerk to Parliament said they could not identify the MPs.

The Deputy Majority leader, Sarah Adwoa Safo supported the claim, saying “Indeed they have the tape, but the identification of the specific members has been a challenge.”

Many groups have already condemned members of the minority for displaying the placard.