The ineffectiveness of new members of the 7th Parliament can be attributed to below-par leadership in the House, Kinna Likimani, the Director of Special Programmes at Odekro, has said.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mrs. Likimani said the fact that these concerns were being raised by the Minority Leader in Parliament was problematic.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, at a forum organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, said less than five new members of the current Parliament participate in regular law-making processes.
Mrs. Likimani noted that it was up to the leadership of Parliament to create opportunities for the first-time MPs but “that has not been done.”
“We think that a lot more can be done by the leadership of the Majority and Minority and the other Parliamentary leadership to create space for first-term MPs to participate effectively.”
She also questioned the rigour of monitoring in Parliament given the concerns over lack of participation.
“If you have first-term members and they come into a body and they are not working, where is the oversight… It has been a crisis of Parliaments in Ghana not to hold the performance of their own members to account,” Mrs. Likimani said.
Beyond these points, she further observed that most contributions are done more by senior Members of Parliament.
“We know from some of the surveys that we have done that it can be very difficult for a first MP to be called upon to even speak,” Mrs. Likimani added.
But also speaking on Eyewitness News, Daniel Okyem-Aboagye, the Bantama MP, who is a first-time legislator, sided with the Minority Leaders assessment of first time MPs.
He believes the first time MPs ought to take up more initiatives.
“You have to be reliable and dependable. You have to attend committee meetings. You have to be ready to learn and make yourself available.”
Mr. Okyem-Aboagye also noted that the new MPs have to be savvy in the way they handle the pressures in their constituencies.
“In an attempt to try and retain your seat by standing or chasing development projects in your area, if you don’t take care, you may end up not following what is going on in Parliament and every time you come, things may look new to you.”