Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Papa Owusu Ankomah, has asserted that the Parliament of Ghana over the years has not been able to perform as mandated by law.
Speaking to the host of Citi FM's Umaru Sanda Amadu, former Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah said the system which allows the President to appoint the majority of his Ministers from Parliament is the immediate cause of Parliament’s under performance.
Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution compels the President to appoint most of the Ministers from Parliament, but the former Member of Parliament for Sekondi believes that given the level of authority wielded by the Executive, Parliament needs to be free from the influences of the Executive to properly do its work.
“For our democracy to be deepened and to be successful, the most important institution is Parliament because Parliament needs to exercise oversight over the Executive. For me, that’s critical, especially when in our history, we defer to authority. The funds are given to the Executive, the Executive virtually controls everything in the country and the Executive has the backing of technocrats.
“The more experienced members we have in Parliament, the better Parliament is able to exercise its particular function of oversight. That’s why I believe that it is high time we do away with our fused system, our hybrid system, picking the majority of Ministers from Parliament. I believe that no Member of Parliament should be a Minister, like America. We had that during the Third Republic, we only changed in the Fourth Republic because there was a claim that the Executive was far removed from Parliament. But I think that now that we’ve deepened democracy to make checks and balances more effective, let the legislature be entirely different from the Executive.”
Papa Owusu Ankomah continued that the presence of Ministers in Parliament significantly weakens the Legislature.
“The legislature suffers more, the Executive controls everything. I’ve had an experience of being a Minister. The things that I could get done in my Constituency were done at the time when I was Minister because I was calling the shots. In our Constitution, the MP is not supposed to be the one who delivers projects, it’s the assembly. As MPs we find a way from trying to influence things.
“I believe that it’s when you separate the Legislature totally from the Executive that you strengthen the Legislature. You have to get a strong Legislature to counteract the immense influence of the Executive. In our system, there’s nothing that the Executive wants, if they have the numbers in Parliament, that they won’t get, and invariably, the Executive will have the majority in Parliament.”