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21.12.2004 General News

Parliament urged to live up to expectations

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Accra, Dec. 21, GNA - Mr. Kosi Kedem, out-going NDC Member of Parliament for Hohoe South, on Tuesday said although the constitution had conferred a lot of power on Parliament, little use was being made of this power to improve the work of the house and the lot of Members of Parliament (MPs).

He said the public was not happy about Parliament's inability to adequately fulfil its constitutional obligations and were also not too satisfied with the performance of MPs in the House and the constituencies.

Mr Kedem, who was making a farewell statement in the house said: "Parliament must be advised that after twelve years of existence and with so much constitutional powers at its disposal the public is unlikely to accept any further excuses for its inability to perform its functions satisfactorily."

According to the MP, the most widespread perception about "Parliament is that it is quite weak in relation to the executive." "This is so pervasive that during the First and Second Parliaments, Parliament was scornfully referred to as a rubber stamp and the Third Parliament has often been jokingly referred to as an elephant stamp." "That is why we need to be concerned about these public perceptions about Parliament."

"So far as the media and the electorate are concerned the honeymoon is definitely over for Parliament. This is the challenge facing the newly elected Parliament. How will it cope with this huge challenge? We wait and see," Mr Kedem added.

The MP said the legislature was the most neglected of the three arms of government and the least regarded and understood by the public. He said the lack of facilities, poor remuneration, and inadequate library and research services and weak administrative system had also contributed to the problems facing Parliament.

Mr. Kedem charged the incoming Parliament to take up the challenge of strengthening Parliamentary democracy.

He used the occasion to thank all those who supported him during his term as a member of the House, saying, he had chosen to voluntarily leave Parliament although not politics.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd), in his contribution, said MPs had to grapple with lots of problems and it was sad that the two arms of government, that is the executive and judiciary, had little problem securing vehicles but MPs were made to take a loan before acquiring cars.

Mr Kofi Attoh, out-going NDC MP for Ho Central, said part of the problem was that MPs who were Ministers were more on the side of the executive that the legislature and therefore little was being done for the house.

Mr. Steve Akorlie, outgoing NDC MP for Ho East, said the issue of car loans should be a thing of the past; rather a way should be found around the matter to avoid the insults hurled on MPs by the media.

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