Bagbin launches Parliament at 30

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Politics Speaker Democracy
Politics Speaker Democracy

Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, on Wednesday advocated the strengthening of democratic institutions in Ghana to ensure sustainable democracy.

Ghana had had eight successive elections and four government changeovers between the two major political parties – the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress – and on that account, Ghanaians could confidently say they were enjoying a consummate democratic dispensation, he said.

Speaker Bagbin said this when he launched the year-long celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Ghana’s Parliamentary Democracy in Accra, on the theme: “The Fourth Republic: The Journey Thus Far.”

It was attended by Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, the Chief of Staff, and two former Speakers: Mr Edward Korbly Doe Adjaho, and Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye.

Speaker Bagbin said they were, this year, observing the combined 30th Anniversary of the nation’s Constitution, Parliament, and the Fourth Republic.

“…. It is always good to recognise and celebrate achievements, it serves as a tonic for revitalisation and re-focusing.”

However, elections and successful government changeovers were not the only determinants of a working democracy, he said.

“We must focus on strengthening our democratic institutions if we want to have a sustainable democracy.”
Remembering the forebearers of Ghana’s parliamentary democracy, Speaker Bagbin paid tribute to the past speakers of the Fourth Republic, who had been pivotal in strengthening the pillars of democracy through their contributions and sacrifices.

They include Mr Justice Daniel Francis Annan, the pioneering Speaker of the First Parliament of the Fourth Republic, who served from 7th January 1993 to 6th January 2001.

The rest are Mr Peter Ala Adjetey (7th January, 2001 to the 6th January, 2005), Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes (7th January, 2005 to 6th January, 2009), Justice Joyce Adelaide Bamford-Addo (7th January 2009 to 6th January 2013), Mr Edward Doe Adjaho (7th January 2013 to 6th January 2017), and Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, from 7th January 2017, whom I succeeded on 7th January, 2021.

Speaker Bagbin said the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) would hold its annual conference here in Accra from 30th September to 6th October.

“Selecting Ghana to host this prestigious conference in itself is an honour and a proof of how the world sees and rates the nation’s parliamentary democracy”.

“We have indeed come very far as a democratic country. We should keep this in mind as we prepare to host the CPA in Accra.”

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader, advocated a new constitutional order that frowns upon a winner-takes-all syndrome.

Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Minority Leader, urged Ghanaians to take stock of the successes and challenges chalked, over the last three decades, and continue to cherish their parliamentary democracy, while working to build a strong and independent Parliament.

Mr Paul Aborampah-Mensah, the Programmes Manager, Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, in a solidarity message, said a substantial part of making the nation’s democracy work rested on the shoulders of Parliament.

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