Majority leader Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu has lamented the loss of experience Members of Parliament (MPs) to fresh one affects the quality of work done by the legislative arm of government.
The Suame MP, a relentless advocate for retaining experienced MPs, revealed his caucus has ‘as many as 89’ new MPs out of a 169-strong caucus.
This represents a 58% loss of MPs in the previous sixth parliament of 2013-2016.
Out of the 275-strong parliament, there are 182 new MPs from both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Ghana has had seven parliaments since a return to democracy in 1992. Each has had a constitutional term limit of four years.
In that sixth parliament, 60 of its 122 NPP Minority Caucus were also fresh, a 49 percent loss of its members in the fifth parliament.
Deepening his case for what he believes is a depressing loss of experience in Parliament, the Majority leader said he is the ‘lone ranger’ of the Second Parliament from between 1997-2001 stock.
From the Third Parliament (2001-2005) the only NPP MPs remaining are Asokwa Constituency MP, KT Hammond and Assin Central Constituency MP Kennedy Agyapong.
In a measure of the loss of experience, the Dome Kwabenya MP Adwoa Safo has been promoted to Deputy Majority leader after only one term in parliament.
The Majority Leader is now the longest-serving NPP MP in parliament. His two other contemporaries – Dr. Richard Anane lost out in the Nhyeiso primaries while the other – Papa Owusu Ankomah did not seek re-election in the 2015 parliamentary primaries.
The only surviving member of the first parliament from 1993 to 1996 is NDC MP for Nadowli-Kaleo Alban Bagbin who has been promoted to Second Deputy Speaker of the 7th Parliament.
Speaking on the first day of work in Parliament, the new Majority Leader said “Mr. Speaker, this outrageously high attrition rate cannot facilitate the growth of parliament…neither can it grow our parties”.
Mr Mensah Bonsu has been pushing for a system that allows experienced leaders in parliament from being challenged in party primaries.
To back his argument, the Suame MP publicly backed his political rival Alban Bagbin when he sought re-election primaries in November 2015.
“We should be looking at wisdom and who is better positioned to perform the functions of an MP. If you want to contest the majority leader you should look at yourself if you can perform better than your majority leader” he argued in favour of the then Majority leader.
Osei-Kyei Mensah himself also got backing from some NDC MPs when he was challenged in his party’s primaries.
The Suame MP has been demanding that the leadership of New Patriotic Party (NPP) to put in place a policy that will prevent any party member from challenging a Minority leader in the party’s primaries.
According to him, the practice where the party allows its leader in Parliament to be challenged is undemocratic. NPP MP for Okere in the Eastern Region Dan Botwe and former NPP Chairman Peter Mac Manu have been supporting Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu’s advocacy.
“A party should be able to make rules… this is our party, these are our rules, if you think that you don’t like our rules you can go independent or form another political party.
He believes that a lot of investment is made on MPs and there is the need to “make an amendment to the rules in order to achieve value for money”.
“Are we saying that a person should go off because there should, by all means, be elections. No. It is wrong and unfortunate that this is happening but it is happening because we have not addressed our minds to it”.
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