The Parliament of Ghana has departed from the old formulation in which the imitation and subsequent introduction of legislation in Parliament was the preserve of the Executive.
With the current formulation, there should be co-operation between the Executive and the legislature, necessitating it to enable the legislature to use law as a means for social engineering.
This was contained in concept paper emanating from the Office of the Speaker, issued last week at a stake holders conference on Private Members’ Bill in Parliament.
According to the paper, by article 93(2) of the constitution, the legislative power of the Republic of Ghana is rested in Parliament. It maintained further that Articles 106, 108 and 109 of the constitution set out the parameters within which Parliament may exercise the legislative power of the Republic.
The paper indicated that with the present move, there is sufficient co-operation between the Executive and Legislature for purposes of enacting Private Members Bills.
With the prevailing view, a Private Member’s Bill should be allowed, provided it does not affect the institution of chieftaincy, is not retroactive, nor is it a Bill of Purposes of the settlement of financial matters, i.e, not what is usually called financial Bills,
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BILL
According to the paper, the enactment of Private Members’ Bill is critical to enhance democratic governance. It therefore serves as a means by which Parliament may use law as a tool for social engineering.
In this regard, countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Uganda, have successfully enacted Private Members’ Bills as tools for social engineering.
Subsequently, the legislative drafting Unit of Parliament, as part of the legal Department has been established since 2018 with Justice VCRAC Crabbe of blessed memory as the founding Parliamentary counsel.
However, some other Attorneys were recruited and the Department (Unit) started operations in February 2019. The Unit is among others, responsible for providing the legislative drafting services to Parliament, including the drafting of Private Members’ Bills.
It noted that further to drafting instruction received from Members of Parliament, and with the support of key holders, including the speaker of Parliament, the Acting Clerk to Parliament and the Parliamentary reforms Office, the Legislative Drafting Unit, has prepared for purposes of introduction into parliament, a number of Private Members’ Bills.
With the theme, “Private Members’ Bills in Ghana; The Role of Civil Society Organizations”, the conference discussed other topics as “The Concept of Private Members’ Bill, Developing a framework towards a Private Members’ Bills and the Role of Civil Society Organizations in the Enactment of Private Members’ Bills.”
Sponsored by Star Ghana, the objective of the conference was in line with Star Ghana’s aim of strengthening civil society capacity to, among others, ensure a responsive governance as outlined by the speaker in his inaugural address.
The expected outputs for the conference are to
- Stimulate a national discussion on the enactment of Private Members’ Bills in Ghana
- Build a consensus on the enactment of Private Members’ Bills in Ghana and
- To stimulate discussion on the role of Civil Society Organizations in the enactment of Private Members’ Bills in Ghana.
Source: S.O. Ankamah