Fall out from the recently held New Patriotic Party (NPP) Presidential Primaries have been trickling in thick and fast, one that has set tongues wagging is the move to Protect some incumbent members of Parliament on account of they being an institutional memories and experience in parliamentary work.
Indeed this subject was broached by the majority leader osei kyei mensah, who himself is a beneficiary of that obnoxious policy. The minority leader Haruna Iddrisu hinted of similar move by the NDC at the recently held 28th Anniversary of the Party where he appealed to the party chairman Samuel Ofosu Ampofo to allow the Party in future to Protect some MPs whom in his opinion are Pivotal to the success of the Party in Parliament.
Ordinarily Keeping a winning team in any enterprise is a move that should be welcome, but the dynamics in Parliament appears to be different kettle of fish. These MPs upon assumption of office, knows they are there on account of the goodwill of the people they represent in their respective constituency, so the argument about one’s legislative prowess and Perceive indispensable status is one that baffles me.
We live in a competitive world ,and Parliament cannot be an exception to the rule, so therefore members of Parliament should have it at the back of their mind that, once you enter Parliament, everything you do both in and outside Parliament should be seen to resonate with the constituents that gave you the Privileged to represent them, anything short of that would unfortunately result in an MP receiving his marching orders.
One notable Personality who’s been very vociferous about this ugly Phenomenon that’s gradually creeping it ugly head into our infant democracy is Political scientist and Lecturer at University of Ghana, Prof Ransford, Gaympoh, he argues that our Parliamentary Practice system derives it roots from the concept of representatives democracy. There is a growing body of literature that speaks volumes about how this concept came about.
Wikipedia defines representative democracy, as a system where elected officials represent a group of people, with this definition at the back of our mind, it is very difficult to phantom why the interest of the People we are representing would be sacrificed for other Parochial interest.
In a Post primaries interview, that he granted the media, majority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu bemoaned the shocking loss of about 40 incumbent seat, citing it’s debilitating effect on Parliamentary work.
He Particularly singled out chairman of finance committee Dr Mark Asiebey, According to him he had commenced some official assignment relating to finance with the honourable member, before he unfortunately lost his seat to free zones CEO Michael baffi, he further intimated that it would certainly require some doing to position the defeated candidate In the right frame of mind,to continue with the assignment.
I was however elated when National organiser of the Party Sammy Awuku ,who was also on the show gave him a befitting response, Mr Awuku referred him to an incident in 2004, where the then majority leader in Parliament Abraham Osei Aidoo shockingly lost his seat to Irene naa torshie, his exit from parliament though sad,paved the way for he osei kyei mensa to assume the mantle as the new majority leader, I must admit, that majority leader is one of my favourite MPs in Parliament due to his firm grasp on Parliamentary work, and deep sense of analysis on governance issue, In fact to say he is an authority and institutional memory in Parliament would be stating the obvious.
But come to think , off it ,if the then majority leader Abraham Osei Aidooo had not bowed out of Parliament, we wouldn’t have noticed the latent abilities of osei kyeI Mensah.
Mark Asiebey is one the few MPs who’s loss saddened me, he was a consummate professional who knows his onions when it comes to Parliamentary work and his role as chairman of the finance committee, but as sad as it is ,we cannot stand in the way of the delegates if they want a change. But am equally of no doubt that he has a worthy replacement in Michael okyere Baffi, who’s largely acquitted himself as the chief executive of the Free Zones board.
It must also be said that, come December 7th the election would also serve as a referendum on the decision of the Party to allow some People to go unopposed, it therefore stand to reason that, for those who were spared the drudgery of going through a tideous primaries to get elected, they should,just brace themselves for the real McCoy in December, where the luxury of running unopposed would have been long spent.
As a marketing Practitioner. I see competition as good thing for every human being, and it’s my expectation that most politicians especially those who aspire for political office would embrace the challenges and Prospects that comes with it for their own benefit. Emerging victorious in a competitive election in any Primaries serves as dress rehearsal for any candidates going into a major election, it toughens you and makes you an impregnable candidate to beat.
This scenario is in sharp contrast with those who had a default victory by virtue of their unopposed status, they essentially are bereft of the experience needed to face a much stiffer competition. The scenario can better be explained in the game of soccer where the teams that plays more friendly matches tend to Perform better than the team that fails to engage in these preparatory matches before major games.
Since the inception of the fourth republic and the introduction of multiparty democracy, Elected political office holders have taken the electorate for granted which is largely on account of the fact that fewer People offer themselves for Political offices, but with the Passage of time, Peoples knowledge and interest in politics and governance have grown exponentially , the net effect is an increase number of People offering themselves for Political offices.
These development have left the citizenry spoilt for choice when it comes to electing their leaders, and it telling effect on competition . Therefore contemporary MPs are being confronted with the reality of always going through a competitive Process of being elected into political office to prove their mettle.
In conclusion, a word of admonishment to aspiring, MPS to work out the balancing act, of tending to parliamentary duties and constituency work in equal Proportion, in order to endear, and energise themselves to their support base at the constituency. In fact that should be the only intrinsic Principle that should guarantee an MPs continuous stay in power.
Because one can look into the crystal ball and Predict that there would come a time In our Parliamentary democracy where candidates being Protected to go unopposed would be a thing of the Past. This has even found expression in chapter one of our constitution, which unequivocally states that Power and sovereignty emanate from the People, Indeed one the greatest Presidents of America Abraham Lincoln, couldn’t have said it better in his famous pronouncement that ‘democracy is government of the People, for the People and by the People’
The word democracy is indeed a Portmanteau of two words “demo” which means People and “cracy” which also means power or rule, it therefore bears repeating from this illustrative definition that everything we do in the name of Parliamentary democracy should be People centred and nothing else. Therefore going forward, no group of People should elect unto themselves the power to run unopposed or be cleared to run unopposed in any competitive election when we have not heard the voice of the People first.
Michael Tettey Ameley – The writer is a socio Political commentator and a marketing communication specialist, He has over a decade worth of experience in the banking sector. He holds an H.N.D in marketing and Bsc Marketing degree from Accra Technical University and University of Professional studies respectively.