Some 19 MPs said nothing in Parliament all the time they were there – Odekro

 Members of Parliament (MPs) are usually considered voices of the people in their constituencies, representing the people and passing laws. In Ghana however, Parliamentarians seem to have the added responsibilities of developing their communities.

But a new report on the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic released by Odekro says some 19 MPs did not make a single statement in the four years that they spent in parliament.

The report notes that among the 19 MPs who never spoke on the floor of Parliament, only seven of them retained their seats in the elections held on December 7, 2016.

It further notes that out of the 1,500 committee meetings held by 21 committees, only 55 meetings representing 3.7 per cent of the total involved consultations with Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) or other stakeholders, adding that MPs who are members of the leadership of Parliament do indeed get to speak more often than regular MPs.

Lolan Sagoe-Moses, Odekro Content Manager, explained that MPs in leadership spoke more because they are offered more opportunity to speak than ordinary MPs, adding that, “most of the MPs who made statements in Parliament, asked questions about the construction of roads.”

On absenteeism, the report points out that male MPs are usually absent from Parliament as compared to the women.

Additionally, MPs who are Ministers of State usually are absent from Parliament.

Nehemiah Attigah, Co-founder of Odekro  said, “the report which is being launched today is to offer citizens, CSO’s, media and academia an authoritative baseline to assess the performance of Parliament. The aim of this report is to fill the information and assessment gap with the necessary data to hold Parliament and MPs accountable.”

Odekro has also provided a platform  for the general public to access the performance scorecards of their MPs in the Sixth Parliament (January 2013 – January 2017).

The report includes a list of the best 50 and the worst 50 MPs with Dr Anthony Akoto Osei leading the list of 50 best MPs.

The team advised the parliamentary service staff to standardize the content of the Hansard and other materials so that it makes it easier for them (Odekro) to extract information they need for their research work.

Odekro is an organisation that seeks to promote transparency, accountability and democratic governance through citizen action and engagement with the Parliament of Ghana and other government agencies.

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng

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