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Politics of Sunday, 6 August 2017


Place national interest above partisanship - Oquaye to MPs

Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, has called on Members of Parliament (MP) to place national interest above every other considerations.

According to him, Ghanaians expect qualitative performance in terms of debate and legislation from the House and not parochial partisanship.

Prof Oquaye made the call at the closing of the Second Meeting of the First Section of the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

The second meeting which had duration of 10 weeks and 39-sittings, considered a number of bills whilst were adopted.

Some of the bills approved during the period include the Customs Amendment Bill, Formula for the GETFund, NHIS Fund and the District Assemblies Common Fund.

Prof Oquaye also stated that the dignity of Parliament had become a matter of concern to the country.

He said many members in the House had made statements which did not give credit to Parliament.

He said though people had the right of say there was proper way of doing it.

“That is, how you say it, should be part of the parliamentary etiquette,” he said.

Prof Oquaye also noted that members who have concerns should follow laid down rules for the resolution of cases in the House.

He announced that the review of the Standing Orders of the House was almost complete and would be incorporated in the Code of conduct for MPs.

He said the completion of the Standing Orders could help Parliament to improve upon its activities.

Prof Oquaye also announced that the Parliamentary Service Board (PSB) had approved the establishment of a legal department for the House.

He said the department was to assist members in the processing of the Private Members Bill, which the Speaker intended to introduce to the House.

He said the PSB had also setup a committee to investigate the recent fire outbreak, and make recommendation for future prevention.

Prof Oquaye also indicated that the board had approved the establishment of Parliamentary Assurance Unit.

He explained the department was to deal with all matters, which required a follow up attention on all issues raised on the floor of Parliament.

He said such issues would be tracked and ensured they were acted upon.

He said the adoption and implementation of such measures would continue to enhance the work of the House.

Prof Oquaye announced that the board had approved the establishment of the Parliamentary Support Report Office to focus on institutional reforms to improve performance.

He said the reforms were intended to encourage more citizens to participate in the parliamentary process to ensure effectiveness in the procedures.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader commended the Speaker, leadership and members for their commitment to work.

He also noted that though the Minority had right to have their say it must be situated within the confines of the Standing Orders and the 1992 Constitution.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also stated that the Speaker who is the umpire, who must ensure order and decorum, must try to strike accommodation and tolerance.

He said rights were never absolute and unfettered, adding that though the opposition was needed to keep government on its toes, they must always act responsibly.

“We must all learn to play by the rules of the House otherwise heat may dominate cool heads, and this will not be good for the country.”

He urged members to use the recess to do introspection, reflect and returned more soberly to serve the country.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader on his part insisted that the Minority cannot be stifled from having it say in Parliament.

He said the Minority would continue to play it oversight role over the activities of the Executive.

He said urged government to take the concerns raise about the threat and insecurity in the country serious.

Mr Iddrisu also called on the Minister of Interior to monitor the situation and device ways to counter such hazards.

He gave the assurance that the Minority would support the government to maintain peace and stability in the country.

He welcomed the review of the Standing Orders which he said would go a long way to enhance the work of Parliament.