Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has stressed participatory inclusiveness in the business of the House to bring uninterrupted progress in Ghana’s march for democracy.
He said “the concept of majority rule should give way to participatory inclusiveness.”
Speaker Bagbin added: “Given the current changes, Parliament cannot continue to apply the old rules, procedures, culture and conduct whilst going through the transitional period, else the march towards democracy will be halted.”
Mr Bagbin made the remark when Madam Harriet Thompson, the British High Commissioner in Accra, paid a courtesy call on him, at Parliament House, in Accra, on Monday.
In an apparent remark on issues concerning the 2022 Budget and Financial Statement, the Speaker, while emphasising consensus building, remarked that, as Leader of the House, he can only be impartial, but he cannot be neutral.
The Commissioner and her delegation’s visit formed part of processes to understand the times in which Parliament found itself, the need for a bi-partisan approach, and the experiences worth sharing.
Madam Thompson also wanted to understand Parliament’s perception of the various engagement with, and support for the institution.
To that end, Mr Bagbin underlined the need for continuous support for Ghana’s Parliament to strengthen the institution in its work and said democracy would thrive in the West African sub-region only if Ghana’s democracy succeeded.
“If Ghana fails, others would fail as well,” he said.
Mr Bagbin called for a mutually beneficial relationship between Ghana and the United Kingdom to ensure that the two countries supported one another in their national agenda.
He said Ghana’s Parliament remained committed to strengthening ties with the United Kingdom, which had existed since Independence.
According to the Speaker, that commitment transcended to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), whose mandate, he believed must be reviewed.
The CPA, Mr Bagbin explained, must cease to exist as a charity organization and transition into an international diplomatic organization, facilitating economic diplomacy, strengthening democracy and the promotion of fundamental human rights among member associations.
Ultimately, he said, the CPA should create progressive links between member countries and the United Nations.
Speaking on the nature of Ghana’s Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, said the current composition of the House was a unique opportunity for Ghana’s legislature to become more assertive and enhance the concept of checks and balances in the governance process.
He stressed the need for more dialogue and consensus-building between the two sides of the House if democracy in Ghana was to be sustained and the interest of the citizens served.
Mr Iddrisu expressed disquiet about the constant negative attacks by the Majority in Parliament, which he said was targeted at the person of the Speaker.
“That will not only traduce the Speaker’s character, image and reputation but will only make consensus building difficult to attain and impact negatively on the ethos and integrity of the House,” Mr Iddrisu said.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for North Tongo, was of the view that the interest demonstrated by Ghanaians in the work of Parliament would lead to a gradual shift of public perception from the belief that Ghana’s legislature is a lame duck, weak institution and a rubber stamp for Government’s policies.