Bagbin Rates Kufuor Higher Than JJ
The Majority Leader in Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has said that the weakest link in the democracy of the country is the Legislature. Not withstanding this, the leader of the House says Ghana's democracy is far more advanced than many developing countries.' He said the weakness in Ghana's multi-party democracy is mainly due to the failure of Government to adequately resource the legislature.
Speaking to The Heritage in an interview, the Nadowli West MP also said the Kufuor administration had been of assistance to the institution of Parliament more than any other government that had served under the Fourth Republic. “Because he (Mr Kufuor) was once an MP, he knows the value of the legislature,” he noted.
By that observation, Mr Bagbin had rated Mr Kufuor's contribution towards strengthening Parliament higher than his predecessor and National Democratic Congress first President, Jerry John Rawlings's, even if unwittingly.
Mr Bagbin was, however, quick to add that ex-President Rawlings's NDC administration deserved lots of commendation for putting the basic structures in place for the legislature. The late Peter Ala Adjetey is also generally credited with causing massive improvements to be made to the structures of Parliament during his four-year term as Speaker of the Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
The Majority Leader expressed views similar to what the late Speaker used to hold, by saying that the people of Ghana expect so much from the institution of Parliament yet invest very little into the welfare of MPs, let alone the institution of Parliament.
Apart from blaming Government for its silence on the Legislature, he said the institution itself had not reached out to the public. “Many do not know the work we do here (in Parliament). They think we just come here and debate on the floor as they see on TV. People think this is a forum where we just wake up from our houses and come and talk. No! There is more to that,” said Mr Bagbin.
The veteran MP also said, apart from the over-trumpeted issue of the lack of office space for MPs, research assistants and government's provision of means of transport for MPs, there are other issue that have not yet reached the public. He sited the issue of some parliamentary committee chairmen and the leadership of the House personally paying some staff of theirs.
“Who in public service takes money out of his pocket to do official work? Nobody gives us money to buy paper or a common pin in running our offices here in Accra or in our constituencies. If we run and crash ourselves and die, then people will come and pretend to be weeping,” he said.
Mr Bagbin also wondered why some public officials take billions home as gratuity, vehicles and others whilst the “little” gratuity for an MP is made a major topic that set up MPs for tongue-lashing.
“Wereko-Brobby worked at the VRA for two years and went home with over two billion cedis; Prof Stephen Adei, the former rector of GIMPA, is taking about ¢1.7 billion home upon retirement, yet the ¢820 million is as if we are taking so much,” the Majority Leader lamented.
Credit: The Heritage