The Majority Leader, Mr. Alban Bagbin, says the ability of the electorate to make informed decisions, will depend to a large extent on the media, as such it behoves on them to be as objective as possible in their quest to ensure flow of information.
He added that one of the policies he wished to advance in his capacity as Majority Leader, was that of consensus building, because that was the only effective cooperation with which we could build a better, stronger, and more democratic environment that can promote the establishment of a true and just society.
Reacting to a front page story of the Daily Guide on Tuesday, Bagbin said misrepresentations such as that would not do anybody any good, because giving the dog a bad name and hanging it would not help.
He mentioned that what was even more worrying was the fact that the newspaper publication presented a bizarre report on the event, and penciled down quotations which the paper claimed came from his lips.
The Majority Leader noted that he would want to see a cordial and harmonious relationship between the media and parliament, and as such nothing should be able to hinder that cordial relationship.
According to him, the Parliamentary Service was in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, to interact with journalists on the need for effective partnership between the media and parliament, in a bid to illicit public understanding and appreciation of the workings of parliament.
He explained that when the press was given the opportunity to ask questions, it was then that a reporter asked about the furore surrounding the Chinery Hesse Committee's Report on gratuity for members and the president.
“She wanted to know whether the decision by the current administration, to review the report, was right.” Bagbin said in his response, he indicated clearly that the term ex-gratia, which most people refer to in relation to members of parliament, was rather gratuity and not ex- gratia.
He further stated that if he had seen the report, particularly the part on the MPs, before publications in the media, he would have argued differently for members.
The Daily Guide in its Tuesday, May 12, edition stated that the Majority Leader, Alban Sumanu Kingsford Bagbin, had stated that his critical stance on the controversial ex-gratia for former President John Agyekum Kufuor was unfounded, because he was misled.
According to the publication, Bagbin said he was misled into making statements that were critical to the Chinery-Hesse Committee Report that recommended gratuity packages for the Executive, Legislature, and other state officials, as stipulated in Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.
President Atta Mills suspended the payments of the controversial ex-gratia to former appointees, including President Kufuor, as contained in the Chinery-Hesse report, until a committee had looked into it.
The Majority Leader, also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli West in the Upper West Region, conceded that had he not been misled, he would not have made disparaging remarks against the committee's report.
“I've come to believe that many people like me, were misled into raising unnecessary red flags about the committee's report,” he stated.