Speaker Bagbin stresses CSO, parliamentary collaboration for citizen engagement

Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin

Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin on Tuesday charged Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations (PMOs) to amplify their collaboration with Legislatures to educate citizens on the proper roles about the work of parliamentarians.

He explained that education on the role and functions of parliament is critical if the electorates are to appreciate the value that parliaments bring to the democratic process.

Speaker Babgin reiterated that parliamentarians should not be seen as the main development agents by the citizens, because that perception and expectation often led to the neglect of the core responsibilities of the Members of Parliament (MPs).

Speaker Bagbin made the call, when he, as Guest of Honour, opened, in Accra, a two-day West Africa Parliamentary Monitoring Conference.

The conference is seen as the first stage towards connecting PMOs in West Africa to enable the legislators share best practices, learn from one another and explore effective ways of engaging parliamentarians within their respective countries.

With political instability in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, the Speaker, a former lawmaker himself, said PMOs and parliamentarians must together deal with the emerging issues that confront the West Africa sub-region because they can have serious consequences for the people in the sub-region.

‘As legislatures, we need to partner CSOs and other forward looking organisations to assist with educating and sensitizing our citizens on the role they have to play to ensure the growth of democracy, stability and peace in the West African sub-region,” the Speaker said.

He pledged his commitment to that partnership for education “as one of the key pillars of the Corporate Strategic Plan of Ghana’s Parliament. “

Speaker Bagbin pointed the need for parliaments to reach out to citizens on constant and make them part of what parliaments do; and expressed his happiness with PMO and parliaments for collaboration.

“I am particularly happy with this initiative, and I trust that discussions during the two-day conference will lead to enhanced ways of strengthening citizens-parliament engagement.”

Speaker Bagbin lauded the role of monitoring as a powerful tool for social and political change, and helps also in assessing vital intelligence, as well as assessing objectives and impacts and improving learning, decision making, success factors approaches and removal of barriers.

Madam Edem Selormey, Director of Research of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) noted that as a central institution of democratic governance, parliamentarians are expected to champion the supreme interest of the people they represent.

They are also to ensure that governance address the pressing needs of the people; and some of the key steps required to achieve that include; transparency, openness, accountability responsiveness and inclusiveness in the performance of the parliamentary mandates of representation, law making and oversight.

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