The citadel of Democracy is the existence of a Parliament. It is one of the principal organs of the state where the electorates or voters elect their representatives to Parliament for the purposes of representing them. The rest are the Executive and the Judiciary headed by the President and the Chief Justice respectively.
The population of our country is represented in the Parliament of Ghana. The House has 275 elected members.
The current Parliament is the 8th. It is described as the most interesting Parliament in our 4th republican dispensation.
Firstly, the two main political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NDC) are the only parties controlling the House. They both have the same number of seats, 137.
Secondly, for the first time in the history of our Democracy, a known opposition member and also a former leader of the House, occupies the seat of the Speaker of the House; that makes him the third most important person in our country according to the Constitution of the Republic.
Thirdly, the only independent Member of Parliament is the 2nd Deputy Speaker. He was once a rejected stone of the House specifically in the 7th Parliament. Today, he is the most important Member of Parliament. He changed the equation of the House. He gave the NPP its majority.
Also, a noticeable spectre of the House is the readiness of the members to pilot the private members’ bills.
Since the inception of Parliament in this 4th Republic, there has not been a bill piloted by a private member of the House. All the bills passed by the various Parliaments emanated from the Executive organ of the state.
Remember that our Parliament is a hybrid one. That is, it is a combination of the US and the UK systems.
The President is to appoint majority of his Ministers from the House as the Constitution of the country requires of him.
Parliament undertakes the following duties;
- Vetting of the President’s nominees – Ministers and their Deputies, the Chief Justice and the Justices of the Supreme Court, the Special Prosecutor, and the Administrator of the Common Fund, among others.
The major tools for the workings of Parliament are the Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House. Other laws or Acts, when relevant are also used.
The workings and the activities of the House should be known by the citizens of the country.
An important organ that ensures that the world knows what Parliament does is the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC). This body consists of both the private and the state media practitioners including the bloggers or online reporters.
The transmission of the information is done through the minds, voices, ink and other tools or gadgets of the Parliamentary Press Corps.
The press Corps has been carrying out its important role since the commencement of the maiden Parliament of the 4th Republic in 1993 with its inauguration. The Corp’s performance in the sustainability of our nascent Democracy cannot be underestimated.
It continues to play its role of informing and educating the citizens about the relevance of Parliament in our political and democratic lives and space.
The excellent relationship existing between the House and the Corp should be strengthened, encouraged, sustained and motivated to help consolidate our Democracy.
I pray that the Parliament will continue to assist the Corp, especially in the areas of training, resources and equipment and other intangibles or abstract so that the caucus (Press Corps) will continue to feed the citizens of our country with the right, accurate, balanced and relevant information from the House.
The Corp consists of well-trained media practitioners whose core objective is to report, broadcast and print the facts for the sake and the benefits of the people.
The members of the House speak and the Press Corps transmits to the public.
The marriage between these two should be cemented very well for the benefit of nation.
By Ahmed Osumanu Halid,