The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, Tuesday urged the House to develop an objective framework for performance assessment based on the actual work MPs do so that those who want to conduct research would be appropriately guided.
There seemed to be some misconception about the role of Member of Parliament, he said, and it was about time to confront such mass ignorance now.
Mr Osei-Owusu made the statement after MPs in both Majority and Minority sides had supported a statement by Dr Emmanuel Marfo, MP for Oforikrom on how to assess the Performance of MPs in the House.
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and Ghana Watch for some time now have been publishing periodic assessment reports of MPs in terms of their performance in the House.
However, some critics say the evaluative criteria employed by some of these researchers in relation to the actual work done by MPs, lack internal validity.
Besides, they say, many of such studies discount the enormous time used by MPs to follow up on projects, school admissions, job applications, committee meetings and other public interest assignments, such as services on boards and the intellectual contributions deployed during these assignments.
Mr Osei-Owusu, therefore, directed the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs working with the leadership to set a standardised criteria.
He said the Committee after evaluating the benchmarks, should produce a report to the House, which could be used by the media and civil society groups for their research.
Dr Marfo, presenting the statement on the Floor of the House, also called on Parliament to set the criteria since the public’s perception of the House was not the best.
He urged the House to rise up and have serious public engagement to align their perception and understanding to their constitutional mandate and function.
“We can no longer be on the defence; the time for MPs and Parliament for that matter to rise up to deal with this growing misconception is now,” he added.
Dr Marfo also highlighted the misunderstanding on the role of MPs, saying there seemed to be high public interest in the matter.
He cited that that in the IEA study, for instance, majority of the respondents rated the performance of their MPs low to average.
He said 75 per cent of the respondents in the study perceived the role of MPs as assisting people or undertaking developmental projects.
Dr Marfo also stressed the need for massive public education to be able to change the public’s misconceptions about the functions of the MP.
He said as the elected representative they had a responsibility to ensure that the people who voted for them understood their roles, otherwise they would have problems sustaining their mandate as they may not be able to meet their expectations, adding that this may account for the high attrition rate in the House.