CDD-Ghana holds maiden round table discussion for 2022

CDD Dialogue
CDD Dialogue

Ghana’s hung parliament is an indication that Ghanaians want more, and it is time for Civil Society Organisations to come on board to save the situation, Maame Awinador-Kanyirige, an international Trade Consultant has said.

She said a harmonisation between Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the people, especially the youth, through conversations from a sophisticated angle to an understanding level was paramount.

“Let us take the conversation to a deeper level to the ordinary people, give them knowledge as knowledge is not money,” she said at the maiden Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) round table discussion of the year.

Themed: “Navigating the Unique Composition of the 8th Parliament,” the event sought to initiate a conversation that would begin to address the concerns citizens may have about preserving the country’s democracy and its associated implications on development in the face of the exceptional composition and permutation of Parliament both at present and in the future.

Ms Awinador-Kanyirige, who is also a Global Politics Enthusiast, advocated for Africans to take advantage of the hung parliament as a chance to position themselves strategically, especially in Agriculture.

“I pray that as we leave here, we are leaving with solutions, even if it is one step we take, we are giving people hope,” she said.

Mr Mawusi Dumenu, Team Lead, Elections, CDD-Ghana, said the engagement was in response to the challenges arising from the unique composition of the ‘evenly-split’ 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic, which often leads to a stalemate, thus affecting the smooth running of the business in the House and the performance of its functions.

He said the conversation was necessitated following a survey by CDD-Ghana which revealed that the citizenry needed an accountable government from the Members of Parliament (MPs).

“In our survey, while some 80 per cent of Ghanaians expected full attendance of MPs in the chamber, another 80 per cent also expected an improved practice of the MPs,” Mr Dumenu said.

He said: “At the end of this roundtable discussion, we are hoping to ensure collaboration in working together, review the journey and challenges of the current Parliament thus far; and explore available opportunities, protocols and rules that ought to be developed and adopted to enhance the work of Parliament.”

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, a former MP, Tamale Central admitted that the current parliament was a difficult one.

He, therefore, called for cordial working relations among MPs at the various committee levels for consensus building.

Mr Alexander Kodwo Kom Abban, former MP, Gomoa West, expressed worry at how the quality of MPs reduced year in and year out.

He attributed the trend to delegates giving power to money over quality.

“Delegates determine those who go to parliament, and they give the nod to people who cannot do the job but those who can give money…this is extremely dangerous, and we should not play ostrich about it.

“If you do not have money forget. People are ready to vote for people who have money and not those who have heads full of ideas,” he said.

Mr Abban mentioned working harmony, cordial relations, respect for divergent views, and consensus building as some of the back door channels when well explored would be able to make Ghana’s hung parliament work effectively.

Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director, CDD-Ghana, said the hung parliament rule was not going to help to remodel and get people associated with more power.

He said there was a need for reflection as dissatisfaction of the citizens was going to be a failure of the state functions.

“We should concentrate on the membership…who is coming and who is leaving. With reasonable accuracy, the quality of representation diminished over time of the 8th in relation to previous ones,” he said.

Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Omanhene of the Essikado Traditional Area, said the discussion would contribute to sustaining Ghana’s democratic governance when such permutations of Parliamentary compositions arise; and ensured a better appreciation of how consensual or coalition poll stakeholders were crucial.

“There are differences, but we must be talking about the avoidance of wearing party spectacles in every discussion.
“Dialoguing is good paying attention to parliament is right, when parliament is down, the country is all gone,” he said.

Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement CDD-Ghana, said the need for new reforms would be timely.

He called for a mechanism where Members of Parliament would have a town hall meeting during their recess to solicit more ideas and feedback for informed policies.

It brought together key stakeholders in the democratic, governance and development space as well as the media to participate and contribute to the significant depth of the conversation.

The audience called for popular participation, a strong local government system and the abolishment of monetising politics in the country.

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