Parliament’s Privileges Committee asked to develop manual on conduct


Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, has tasked the Privileges Committee to develop a manual outlining sanctions to apply to breaches of the draft Code of Conduct for the House.

Speaker of Parliament,, Edward Doe Adjaho
Speaker of Parliament,, Edward Doe Adjaho

The manual would also outline the processes and procedures to be followed by members in complying or applying the rules, and further codify the appropriate remedial action to be taken or sanction to be imposed on a breach of a rule on a member.

The Speaker gave the directive on Monday at the end of the debate on motion to adopt an ad-hoc committee?s report on the ?Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament of Ghana.?

The House, last July, approved a motion to compose an ad-hoc committee to make recommendations for a Code of Conduct for adoption of the House, action that was informed by earlier attempts of the House to guide the Code of Conduct of Members in the discharge of their duties.

According to the Committee Report, ?the Parliament of Ghana has no specific document that contains a comprehensive code of ethics and conduct.

?Whatever rules of ethics or conduct guiding the appearance, comportment and conduct of Members of Parliament could be gathered from many sources,? it said.

The Report stated further that between 2007 and 2010 efforts were made to enact a Code of Conduct for Parliament and Parliamentarians, with subsequent workshops organised to educate and build the capacity of members and staff on the subject of Ethics and Code of Conduct for Members.

The absence of a code makes it very difficult to measure and assess the conduct of members to determine whether they are acting within the acceptable perimeters of honorability or not, resulting in frustration and dilemma of members.

The draft code, therefore, provides an opportunity to come to a common understanding and arrive at a consensus on what to expect of one another as legislators.

The Committee was of the view that if members imbibed the values, they would acquire the knowledge and understanding of ?what is legal, ethical and appropriate, and will provide Parliament with a generally acceptable benchmark for measuring the behavior of those who go against what is agreed as acceptable standard of conduct.?

Both sides of the House unanimously concurred on the need for a code, with some members suggesting improved conditions of service to make the work of the legislators effective.

Majority Leader Alban Sumana Bagbin warned that the whip would be cracked on misconduct, and members should not take the adoption as ?business as usual?.

He observed that issues of salaries and conditions of service were governed by other laws and called on the leadership not to allow the enforcement of the code of ethics to be influenced by political colours.

Minority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensa Bonsu drew the attention of the House to the sometimes poor attendance at the plenary and at committee meetings, and said the conduct at such meetings should be exemplary.

He said much as some heckling was permissible, there was the need to check insulting language and reprehensible wild gesticulation.

?Yet we are witness of such spectacle,? he said, and suggested further to the office of the Speaker to demonstrate a high sense of the impartiality to attract the trust of the members during deliberations.

?If we talk about discipline at the plenary, we should also have the trust and confidence of the Chair. The Chair must demonstrate impartiality,? he said.

Other contributions urged the House to purge itself from the perception that it was corrupt.


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