Former Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, has proposed that Members of Parliament (MPs) should not hold ministerial positions.
According to Prof. Mike Oquaye, MPs playing dual roles fail to be effective in the execution of their parliamentary duties.
Delivering a keynote address at the launch of Prof. Oquaye Centre for Constitutional Studies in Accra on Tuesday, April 26, the former Speaker stated that the appointment of Ministers from Parliament weakens the Legislative House.
"The President’s powers are legion. He has overwhelming powers of appointment and patronage. He is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Fountain of Mercy, and Fountain of Honor. Particular reference must be made to the legislature where Article 78 (i) mandates that the President should appoint majority of ministers from parliament. The general observation is that this has weakened parliament. MPs look forward to becoming Ministers.
"Those who are not appointed as Ministers once their party is in power feel left out. In some cases, disappointed constituents vote against such MPs at primaries contributing to the huge attrition rate of MPs. The legislative work of parliament suffers because this is the second attraction to an MP’s Oversight Responsibility and Accountability. They become ineffective as majority of MPs bend to the Executive praying that MPs fortune will smile on them," he argued.
Prof. Mike Oquaye appealed to the Government of Ghana to revisit the 1979 Constitution and apply its provision that prohibits an MP from becoming a Minister.
He expressed worry that "MPs/Ministers hardly have time for legislative work thus affecting the qualitative performance of Ministers/MPs".
He added; "One tragedy of our system is that although a vote of censure against Ministers is provided for (Article 82- Clause 5), nonetheless, a Vote of Censure cannot remove the minister because the discretion rests with the President whether to remove or not to remove such Minister. Under the 1979 Constitution, no MP could also be a minister. We need to revisit this in order to strengthen the position of the MPs. Also, a Vote of censure would necessarily lead to the removal of a Minister."
About Prof. Oquaye Centre
The Prof. Oquaye Centre for Constitutional Studies has been established by the Institute of Economic Affairs to undertake a thorough study on proposals for review of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
It aims at broadening the understanding and application of constitutionalism at all levels of governance and daily lives of Ghanaians and translating the Constitution to the simplest terms and local languages to be taught in schools, churches, mosques and civil society.
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