MPs in a group photograph Members of Parliament (MPs) are undergoing an intensive week-long induction seminar to equip themselves with the requisite knowledge and information on legislative ethics and procedures to enhance Parliamentary practice and good governance in the country.
The orientation has become necessary for members to be abreast of constant changes in Parliamentary practices and procedures and to have a thorough grasp of such changing trends for them to contribute meaningfully to debates in the legislature.
The seminar, which started last Saturday under the theme “Building capacity for Good Governance” at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), would offer an opportunity for both new and old MPs to share and deepen their experiences for the smooth and harmonious transaction of parliamentary business.
With sponsorship from development partners including Friedrich Stiftung (FES), DANIDA and the Parliamentary Centre, Ghana, Members would receive training from renowned resource persons on an array of topics which hinge on the work of Parliament.
In her keynote address, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Justice Joyce Adeline Bamford-Addo said the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic would be evaluated and judged like the other Parliaments and therefore members should take non-partisan and sober reflection on their roles in refining the legislative process.
According to her the success or otherwise of this Parliament depends wholly on the effectiveness of assimilating the rules of procedure of the House and the efficiency of delivering legislative work.
She noted that the capacity of Members of the House to perform their oversight responsibility would be questioned when weaknesses in the quality of their work as Parliamentarians are exposed.
Reminding MPs that “Parliament as an institution of democracy which brings to the fore the hallowed hallmark on democracy as government of the people and for the people, Justice Bamford-Addo said the legislature would have to foster public awareness at all times and be cognizant of the scrutiny of its activities by the public, adding that the MPs have been “entrusted to exercise political authority for and on behalf of the good people of Ghana”.
She observed that members and the Institution of Parliament at large would not be spared the scrutiny of the watchful eyes of the media and the public, emphasizing that any act of commission or omission by the MPs would not be glossed over, therefore there is the need for them to take the orientation seriously to enrich their knowledge in the work of Parliament.
The Archbishop of Cape Coast, Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, who gave the exhortation on Post-Election harmony in Parliament admonished the MPs to let the interest of the people and the country be their guiding principle in the work of Parliament.
He told the MPs to be mindful that it is the sovereign will of the people that they accept the corporate leadership of Ghana and therefore the trust of the people is vested in them to facilitate the attainment of collective goals of all Ghanaians.
This, according to him, can only be achieved through consensus building in the legislature, passion for justice, cooperation, tolerance, fairness and harmonious co-existence between the majority and the minority sides in Parliament.
“When your are in Parliament, you need to appreciate the richness of diversity of the people and that contributes to the wealth of ideas on the floor of Parliament but there should objective values that must guide the business of the House through consensus building and to support what is good for the development of the country,” Cardinal Turkson urged.
The Majority leader, Alban Bagbin said the capacity of a Member of Parliament is the most essential ingredient for determining a good MP and therefore it is important for MPs not to lose sight of the human touch in all their deliberations since it holds bridges of trust for national development.
For his part, Minority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu exhorted members to take the workshop seriously so as to leave GIMPA well prepared to justify the investment made in them.
In attendance were Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, a former Supreme Court Judge, who chaired the opening ceremony, as well as Professors Stephen Adei and Yaw Agyeman Badu, former and current Rectors of GIMPA respectively. By Awudu Mahama & Sheilla Sackey