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Latest Updated : Wednesday,27 Oct 2010
"1992 Constitution Makes Parliament Powerless"
Parliamentarians holding discussions on proposed amendments to the 1992 Constitution, on Saturday argued that there were many provisions in the constitution that reduced parliament to a powerless organ.

The discussion was organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs
(IEA) under the theme: “Giving Voice to the Voiceless in Ghana’s
Constitution Review.”

Participants include Members of Parliament and constitutional experts.

Article 78 (1) of the Constitution empowers the President to
appoint from inside or outside Parliament but majority must be
appointed from inside the House.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader, said this arrangement
normally depleted Parliament with personnel especially the ruling
party’s bench and therefore lowering standards of debates.

He said it also polarised Parliament drawing distinction between
MP with ministerial appointments and those without ministerial
appointments.

He said parliamentarians did not want to talk about it even those
in opposition since most made the attempts to catch the eye of the
President for appointments.

He said at the ECOWAS and Pan African parliaments, Ghana’s
Speaker was disqualified because he or she was not a Member of
Parliament, adding MPs who hold ministerial appointments were also
disqualified because of their executive positions.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the constitution gave the President the
power to make requests to the Auditor General to perform particular
duties in relation to their functions, but failed to arrogate such
powers to Parliament, which was needed to be able to properly exercise
oversight responsibilities over the Executive.

He noted that the Public Account Committee, which according to the
constitution, must be headed by a member from the opposition, also
brought a lot of constraints as backlog of reports had made it that
the NPP was superintending over reports of its own regime.
He said under this circumstance the likelihood of being bias
towards the report was very high.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Presidential System of Government
that Ghana was practicing was a problem since it did not encourage
career legislators.

Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, Member of Committee on Subsidiary
Legislation, thanked the IEA for organising the workshop.

During a group discussion, participants agreed that the forty
years requirement of the President should be maintained because of the
critical nature of the Presidency, which required the President to be
psychologically, politically and socially sound.

They said the Attorney General and Minister of Justice position be
decoupled.

Again the participants said the President should appoint Ministers
both within and without Parliament but the majority should not come
from within. They said appointment of Deputy Ministers should not exceed two for a Ministry.



Source: GNA



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