Parliament of Ghana
Members of Parliament were angered that Cabinet Ministers and their deputies were stalling and undermining the work of Parliament by failing to honour invitations to the House to answer questions.
The lawmakers claimed that Parliamentary questions are tools they use to seek information or to press for action, hence Ministers are, therefore, obliged to explain and defend the work, policy decisions and actions of their Ministries through these questions.
They emphasised that there is only one Parliament in Ghana which is located in Accra, but not Kumasi, stressing that the democratic path the country has chosen should not be allowed to be undermined.
The anger was in connection with the inability of the Minister for Transport Kweku Ofori Asiamah to honour the invitation of the House to answer an Urgent Question which stood in the name of Pru East MP Dr Kwabena Donkor asking to know when new and reliable ferries would be supplied to Kete Krachi, Yeji, Dambai and Dorkorkrom.
The MP for Keta Kwame Gakpe also scheduled to ask the Minister the status of the work on the Keta Sea Port and the Keta Landing Beach while his Ekumfi colleague, Abeiku Crentsil was listed to ask the Minister the commencement date of the Ekumfi Landing Beach project.
The final question for the Transport Minister about the status of the construction of the Air Navigation Services Centre at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) stood in the name of the Member of Parliament for Sissala West Adam Mohammed Supkaru.
Deputy Minority Chief Whip Ahmed Ibrahim leading the outburst expressed his anger at the blatant disregard of the authority of the House by some Ministers and insisted that Parliament needed to bite hard to show that it had oversight responsibility over the Executive.
He said the attitude of the Minister was an affront to the authority of Parliament, a conduct intended to stall the conduct of business in the House especially as this Meeting is scheduled to last for only nine-weeks.
Members in their contributions believed it was unfortunate that some Ministers who had been invited to answer questions were undermining the authority of the House and lamented that it is even more worrying when it is Ministers who are also MPs who are behaving like this.
The lawmakers in frustration were unanimous in agreeing it was because of this attitude of some Minsters of State towards Parliament that Ghanaians often ridiculed the House and suggested that it was time Parliament exerted its authority and stopped pampering Ministers.
The Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Asiamah Amoako then presiding, in defence of the Transport Minister, noted that he has been one of few Ministers who attended regularly to the House to answer and called for cool heads to prevail since the Minister was attending an equally important state function in Kumasi.
A visibly worried Deputy Majority Chief Whip Alexander Afenyo-Markin pledged to reschedule the questions and gave the assurance to summon the Minister to appear and answer the questions today, Wednesday 3 November.
Meanwhile, a statement delivered by MP for Juaboso Kwabena Mintah Akandoh on the tensions surrounding the confirmation of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) by the various Assemblies nationwide degenerated into heated partisan debate among the MPs on both sides of the House.
A request by the Minority side for the Speaker to refer the statement to the Local Government and Rural Development Committee was put on hold following the Majority’s disclosure that the Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development Minister would soon make a formal statement in the House in respect of the confusions surrounding the confirmations.
The two statements, according to the Majority group in Parliament could then be incorporated into one document for referral to the Committee together with the sector Minister Dan Botwe.