Ghana: Leadership has been missing in the 8th Parliament – Sulemana Briamah
Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Briamah has bemoaned the posture of the current leadership of both the Majority and Minority in Parliament.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show, on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, he stated that the Leadership of both sides has failed to coordinate affairs to ensure that work goes on efficiently, regardless of the hung nature of the House.
“I think leadership has been missing in this 8th Parliament. And when I talk about leadership, I’ll bring it down to the leadership of the two sides rather than focus on the Speaker,” he said.
His concern is particularly with the posture of the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
“The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs has not over the time shown what many would have expected him to show in terms of conciliatory language and demonstrating the spirit of oneness and wanting to build consensus, calling Parliament along and making sure that yes even if there are contentious issues, both sides will be able to work around it,” he said.
He also raised concern over the posture of the Majority Leader towards the Speaker.
“The Majority Leader needs to realise that whether Parliament would work or would not work to some extent depends on him, his conduct, his attitude, his utterances, and all of that and therefore it is important for him to also become a bit sober.
“Sometimes I feel a bit sad about the posture of the Majority Leader towards even the Speaker. It’s almost like ‘look we were colleagues and today you’re Speaker, and so what? But the Speaker is the Speaker,” he said.
The comment follows a fistfight that ensued among MPs on both sides of the House when they were voting in a headcount to decide whether the e-levy bill should be considered under a certificate of urgency.
This is not the first time such an event has occurred in the House. It will be recalled that on the mid-night of January 6 through the early hours of January 7, events leading to the selection of Speaker Alban Babin as the Speaker for the 8th Parliament turned chaotic.
Mr. Braimah is of the view that considering what happened earlier this year, the recent “embarrassing” attitude of the MPs is not surprising.
“If you look at the antecedents, the beginning of this 8th Parliament, and you follow the conversation, and the posturing and the narration, one perhaps will conclude that what we saw yesterday is not surprising and, in fact, it is possible that things may even get worse as we go along,” he said.
“Apart from that, we have also been witnessing a consistent abuse of the Law as though it’s okay to abuse the law and still have your way. In other words, break the laws with impunity,” he said.
“We are gradually getting into a situation where there is complete mistrust for our Parliament and Parliamentarians in terms of their service to the people based on public interest values,” he added.
He, however, entreated the House to work towards consensus building.
“I think that it must have been clear to both sides that it’s not the kind of Parliament that we often say the Minority will have its say but the Majority will have its way.
“It’s important that the Speaker’s primacy is recognised. So that the Speaker can then facilitate the processes of building bridges, building consensus, but if this posturing continues, I don’t think that we will have the kind of Parliament that we want,” he said.