Politics

Dealing with hung Parliament: Amend Standing Orders – Group urges Parliament

The Ghana Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations Network (GPMON) has called on Parliament to amend its Standing Orders to incorporate modalities for operating under a ‘split’ Parliament.

In amending the Standing Orders, it also called for accommodation of new arrangements to govern parliamentary practice in the current unprecedented situation, especially to establish clearly matters involving the Majority and Minority caucuses in the House, voting, quorum matters among others.

It also called for respect for the Office of the Speaker or his representative in the management of the affairs of parliamentary business.

In a statement issued by the Network, it urged Parliament to also prevent potential incidences of misconduct, misrepresentation, impersonation or other unparliamentary conduct.

Members of the Network are the Parliamentary Network Africa; the Ghana Integrity Initiative; the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development; Galif Coordinators; Odekro; the Coalition of Concerned NGOs in Health and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition.

It also called on Parliament to commission an investigation or make public the outcome of the investigations (if any) on the incident that took place in the Chamber on January 7, 2021, and corrective measures put in place to deter such events in future.

Concerns

The statement observed with concern the current disturbances within the 8th Parliament in the past few weeks.

“The contentions and disturbing incidents concern the motion to approve the Budget and Economic Policy of Government for the year 2022, the interpretation of Article 104 and Order 109 regarding Voting in Parliament and the peculiar dynamics of the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana, the claim of impersonation of a female Member of Parliament, the present stand-off between a Member of the House and the Police over an unlawful assembly case among others,” it pointed out.

Signal

The statement said the signal sent by constituents to Members of Parliament was “to ensure parliamentary responsiveness, transparency and accountability in representing the interests of the citizenry.”

It said the group believed that the split vote was an opportunity for Parliament to creatively engage and build consensus in order to effectively perform their mandate as expected.

“Failure to engage effectively among the caucuses, make concessions and build consensus generally is affecting the overall quality of parliamentary business under the 8th Parliament,” it said.

The statement said the overall impact would erode the confidence of the public in Parliament; and the recent gains made in the strengthening of Parliament as an institution.

It said “the alleged case of impersonation presents an opportunity for Parliament to deploy e-systems to establish the true identity of Members of Parliament during check-ins and ensure that members in attendance sign against their names, especially in case of voting.”

Privileges

The statement said the exercise of privileges of MPs against the rule of law must be used judiciously to uphold and maintain the respect for other institutions of state such as the Police Service mandated to establish law and order by the very laws of the land.

“This will go a long way to correct the perception that Members of Parliament are unwilling to abide by the laws and regulations that have been established by Parliament to promote democratic governance in the country,” it stated.

graphic.com.gh

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