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More MPs as ministers will weaken Parliament’s leadership  – Odekro

CitiFMonline
20 March 2017 | Politics

Civil Society Group, Odekro, has expressed concerns about the large number of parliamentarians appointed as Ministers to serve in President Nana Addo's government.

According to the group, the appointment of thirty-eight experienced parliamentarians as Ministers, could weaken the law making House's leadership.

It added that, the  situation where some members of the NPP's parliamentary leadership find themselves in the executive, will weaken the powers of the NPP MPs to hold the Executive accountable.

“… With the recent nomination of the current Deputy Majority Leader,  Ms. Sara Adwoa Safo (NPP-Dome-Kwabenya) as Minister of State for Procurement, both the Majority and Deputy Majority Leaders will also double as Ministers. This cooptation of the NPPs Parliamentary leadership into the executive, runs contrary to the President's own statement that 'Our Parliament, the legislative arm of government, must grow into its proper role as an effective machinery for accountability and oversight of the Executive, and not be its junior partner . How can the NPPs MPs be expected to hold the Executive accountable when their two most senior leaders are members of the Executive?”

The group believes that, the likely repercussions of President Nana Addo’s decision, which includes “the possibility of high absenteeism by MP-Ministers, can effectively threaten the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) standing majority and allow MPs in the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) to occasionally delay votes on some important bills. ”

It explained that “should all 67 MP-Ministers absent themselves from Parliament and all 106 NDC MPs be present, the NDC will have more MPs in Parliament at that particular time than the NPP. ( The NPP will have 102 MPs to the NDC 106). “

“The NDC will therefore be able to block the passage of bills if the NPP is unable to whip its MPs to attend Parliament sittings due to the absenteeism of the MP-Ministers, as the NPP did when the NDC was unable to whip its MPs to pass the RTI Bill.

“The NDC could also use the quorom rule to delay Parliamentary business. The quorom rule requires one third of MPs (92 of the 275) to be present for Parliament business to commence. In previous Parliaments, the NPP (then with minority seats) used the quorum rule to delay Parliamentary business on several occasions. By appointing so many MPs as Ministers, President Akufo-Addo has therefore increased the likelihood that government business in Parliament will be delayed, conducted more inefficiently and at greater cost to the public.”

Apart from Odekro, several groups and organisations have expressed concerns about the appointment of over 100 Ministers to serve in President Nana Addo’s government.

But the President has justified his decision, saying the number will help him fulfill his campaign promises.


By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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