The massive loss of experienced legislators in the just-ended New Patriotic Party (NPP) primaries would negatively affect the quality of parliamentary discussions and laws passed, Dr Eric Oduro-Osae, a Governance Expert, has observed.
He explained that the foundation of any democracy was the quality of laws passed by parliamentarians and if that was hampered it would negatively affect the governance of the country.
He, therefore, called for a national conversation and holistic review of the mode of electing parliamentarians to ensure that experienced legislators were retained to help nurture the country’s fledgling democracy.
“We should talk to the political parties to review their mode of allowing people to contest on their tickets so that we have some level of assurance that some experienced members of Parliament are maintained,” Dr Oduro-Osae said.
In last Saturday’s NPP primaries, 40 incumbent members of Parliament lost the bid for re-election, including chairpersons and vice chairpersons of parliamentary committees.
Dr Oduro-Osae, the Dean of the Institute of Local Government Studies, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Monday, said the role of legislators must be properly defined.
“For instance, delegates in my view think that parliamentarians are supposed to bring development to their areas, attend funerals, give them money when they need it and able to pick up their calls in critical situations for support and if the parliamentarian fails to satisfy these functions then he or she risks losing in the election,” he said.
“But the parliamentarians on the other hand believe that they should be on the floor of Parliament to contribute to debate and pass quality laws, and so their roles must be properly defined in law,” the Governance Expert explained.
Another issue of concern was that the current laws demanded that the majority of ministers were supposed to be selected from Parliament, Dr Oduro-Osae noted, and that the situation created a challenge to parliamentarians torn between doing ministerial work and attending to constituency work.
“So as a nation, it’s about time we had a holistic national conversation on how we can mainstream the definition of the roles of parliamentarians,” he said.
Some notable MPs who lost their seats were Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah, MP for New Juaben South and Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Ben Abdallah Bandah, Offinso South MP and
Chairman of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Frederick Opare Ansah, Suhum MP and Member of the Communications Committee, and William Quaitoo, MP for Akim Oda and Chairman of the Education Committee.
The others were Collins Owusu Amankwaah, MP for Manhyia North and Chairman of Government Assurances Committee, Alex Agyekum, MP for Mpohor and Chairman of Youth and Sports Committee, Kofi Brako, MP for Tema Central and Vice Chairman of Roads Committee and Abraham Dwuma Odoom, MP for Twifo Atti Morkwa and Vice Chairman of Agriculture Committee.
Also among the defeated were Ato Panford, MP for Shama and Vice Chairman of Trade and Industry Committee, Joseph Kofi Adda, MP for Navrongo Central and Minister of Aviation, Dr Sabre Bambangi, MP for Walewale and a Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and Mr Okyem Aboagye, MP for Bantama and Government’s Spokesperson on Finance.
With regards to the non-compliance with the Covid-19 protocols by some delegates, Dr Oduro-Osae said the Electoral Commission and the Government should learn lessons from that and ensure the security agencies strictly enforced the directives to avert potential escalation of the contagion.