Members of Parliament, particularly those from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Majority side are engaged in a fight, scrambling for fairness with regard to slots on particular Committees of Parliament and pointing accusing fingers at their own colleagues who are serving on more than five committees in the House.
Even though the Standing Orders make it clear that every member shall be appointed to at least one of t he of the Standing Committees established under Order 151 (2) and except for the Deputy Speakers and the Leaders of the Parliamentary Parties no Member may be appointed to more than three standing Committees, some Members from the Majority side are peeved and worried about why certain members are serving on too many Committees; and how they hoped to discharge their duties as Committee members effectively.
Visibly enraged over the matter and impatient for a solution on the part of the leadership of the House, the NDC (MP) for North Tongu, Hon. Charles Hodogbey, raised the issue on the floor of the House Tuesday when the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Justice Joyce Bamford Addo, was leading the House to go through the Votes and Proceedings for Thursday March 5, 2009.
According to Hon. Hodogbey, who is also the Vice Chairman for the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, the attention of the House has been drawn to the fact that some MPs who are leaders are serving on about nine Committees, and at the same time serving as Members of the ECOWAS and PAN-African Parliament.
He therefore found it strange that this has not been captured in the Thursday March 5, 2009 Votes and Proceedings.
A quick cross-check by GO indicates that the NDC (MP) for Ningo-Prampram, Hon. E. T. Mensah, who is also the Majority Chief Whip is at the moment serving on six (6) Committees.
They are three Standing Committees namely House Committee, Finance Committee and Public Accounts Committee and three Select Committees which are Local Government, Rural Development Committee, Mines and Energy Committee and Trade, Industry & Tourism.
Responding to this issue, the Majority Leader, Hon. Alban Bagbin, who is also serving on four Committees, noted that if this is an attempt to undermine the leadership of the House then it would certainly fail.
He cautioned that MPs who have problems with the composition of both the Standing and the Select Committees of the House should do so according to the Standing Orders which spell out the right channel to use. Hon. Bagbin, however, stated that the leadership will review the composition of the Committees at the beginning of the next sitting.
At the Moment Parliament has 11 Standing Committees, 16 Select Committees and 1 Ad Hoc Committee.
Some of the MPs from both sides of the House interviewed by GO were of the view that it is unfair for some leaders to be members of more than five committees which sit frequently with high allowance rates, whilst some MPs are serving on only one or two dormant Committees.
According to Standing Order 156, the Standing and Select Committees of the House shall be constituted and shall be assigned such functions as are specified in these Orders. All Bills, resolutions and other matters relating to the subjects within their jurisdiction shall, unless as otherwise specified, be referred to them as provided for in these Orders.
Credit: Ghanaian Observer