Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, has pledged Ghana’s unwavering commitment to ensuring the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s objectives are met.
He said it was refreshing to note that since Ghana joined the Commonwealth in 1957 (which was the first by an Africa nation), the country’s commitment to the Association, over the years, had been very strong.
“We have worked hand-in-hand with our fellow Commonwealth nations to strengthen democratic governance, promote human rights, and foster peoples’ control in the management of the affairs that affect the lives and livelihood of the people,” he said.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated this in his welcome remarks at the opening of the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Accra on Wednesday.
“This commitment remains steadfast, and we look forward to engaging in fruitful discussions and collaborations during this Conference,” he said.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is an international network of nearly 180 commonwealth parliaments and legislatures working together to strengthen their commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.
The week-long conference, on the theme: ”The Commonwealth Charter 10 years on: Values and Principles for Parliaments to Uphold,” was opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Charter, which outlines the principles and values of the Commonwealth.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, also the Vice Chair of the CPA Executive Committee, said it was remarkable that Ghana’s Parliament was hosting the 66th CPA Conference in the same year Ghana marked its 66th Independence Anniversary.
He expressed the confidence that it would be a platform for robust deliberations, meaningful connections, and lasting friendships.
“Together, we will continue to champion the ideals of democracy, justice and progress that binds our diverse nations within the Commonwealth.”
The CPA represents the unrelenting efforts by a group of parliamentarians bound by a common history and destiny to address critical issues to promote democracy, good governance and development.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu asked which structure of administration lent itself to rapid development of communities: Presidential, Westminster, or hybrid, as was being practiced in Ghana.
“Which system of government is less susceptible to corruption; Presidential or Westminster?” he asked.
The paradigm in democratic governance, he said, had shifted from male domination to effective cross-sectional representation of communities, especially the involvement of females and young persons as well as the physically challenged.
Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, and President of the CPA, urged the Commonwealth parliamentarians to uphold democratic principles and the values of the Commonwealth.
He said as members of the CPA, there were a set of values and principles that brought them together, as enunciated in the Charter.
Mr Stephen Twigg, the Secretary-General, CPA, said the Association sought to embolden the parliamentarians to improve practices and share the very best about democracy.
Mr. Ian Liddel-Grainger, MP, House of Commons, United Kingdom, and Chairperson, CPA Executive Committee, said: “The CPA stands for parliamentary democracy, and it strengthens what we believe in.”