Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, has expressed upset with the increasing monetization of the political parties.
He warned that if care was not taken “very soon many institutions” of government, especially parliament, would be taken over by “people with fat wallets”.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was speaking at a roundtable discussion organised by his Ministry for the core leadership of parliament, in Accra.
The programme, which was under the theme “Institutional credibility and democratic consolidation in Ghana: Parliament in focus” was also attended by Mr Yaw Osafo-Marfo, the Senior Minister.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted elections at the grassroots and the parliamentary level were becoming increasingly monetized and said that gave cause for concern.
He asked that the political parties concentrated not only on improving the structures of the parties but the welfare of their members.
He said one of the priorities of his ministry was to make sure that the image and dignity of parliament was preserved and enhanced.
The success, effectiveness and prestige of any institution rested on its orderly functioning and the extent to which it adhered to standards of discipline, dignity and decorum in the discharge of its duties.
He noted that building credible and durable institutions took time and that after 25 years of the fourth Republic, it was about time to take stock of the quality and credibility of the institutions, especially the legislature.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said there were many factors affecting the image of parliament but the self-inflicted ones were more mortal, adding that “it exposes the House and its members to ridicule”.
He complained about some MPs lack of knowledge of the rules, procedures and standing orders and said these exposed their lack of interest in executing the mandate given them by their constituents.
He reminded those who had spent considerable part of their lives building the institution of parliament that, they owed it a duty to ensure its sanctity.
“It is time for us to dispassionately work towards lifting up the image of parliament.
We owe it to the people to bring parliament closer to them so they can appreciate what we do and better understand our difficulties. This will court their support and empathy.”
Mr Osafo-Marfo, Senior Minister in his contribution urged parliament to engender its own credibility, saying “credibility is self-made”.
He said what parliament lacked as an institution was the institutional ability to supervise the finances of the country in terms of the budget.
He made reference to the Liberian Parliament, which has a whole unit of finance with expertise to supervise that nation’s finances.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, in his contribution called for the strengthening of the democratic institutions and more importantly, value systems.
He said despite the democratic gains, there still remained threats to the sustenance of the nation’s multi-party system.
He added that as part of the institutional strengthening democracy in Ghana the state should cap the number of ministers any President could appoint.
“It is about time we take a bi-partisan position, as a country, on the number of minsters any President of Ghana, can appoint”, and he said the same should go for the Supreme Court.