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11.03.2004 General News

Govt attempts to make Parliament its appendage - Mahama

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Accra, March 11, GNA - Mr John D. Mahama, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bole on Thursday accused the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Government of adopting undemocratic procedures to make parliament an appendage of the Executive.

He said: "since the assumption of power in 2001, the Government had through various means breached parliamentary procedures especially on the mode of presentation of controversial bills in the House. He said the government adopted deliberate actions to frustrate the legislature and boxed it into submission, citing, the introduction of "Controversial Bills," as one fundamental development, which irritates Members of the House.

Mr Mahama said the presentations of these Bills breached parliamentary procedures and were always presented few days to the end of sessions, saying it was a deliberate action to stampede the House to approve the Bill without scrutinizing it adequately. The MP, who is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Director of Communications stated these sentiments at a press conference organized by six minority parties to protest against, "The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill," laid before Parliament on March 5, 2004. The parties are NDC, People's National Convention (PNC), Convention People's Party (CPP), the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the National Reform Party (NRP) and the Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE).

Mr Mahama said, "to take a step like this to amend The Representation of the People Bill, one would expect that opportunity be given to civil society and other interest groups to have a say...that adequate consultation and preparation were made before the bill is introduced.

"It is the normal pattern of the NPP government to try to bulldoze these kinds of Bills through Parliament just a few days before we have to rise".

Stressing, "the house is rising on Friday March 12, 2004, and the Bill came on the 9th March, which means that they are giving parliament three days to approve this bill, it is a huge disrespect to parliament."

Squadron Leader Clend Sowu former MP for Anlo said the mode of presentation of the Bill breached the Standing Orders of the House and urged members to defend the integrity of the House.

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