THE 123 new Members of Parliament (MPs) who gathered at the Ada-Acqua-Safari to undergo induction and orientation programme have shared their expectations to prepare themselves for the four year term of office in the Eight Parliament.
For them the orientation seminar which touches on everything from how to run their office and understanding the rules and privileges was necessary and expressed high levels of expectations.
Some of the MPs who spoke to EXPRESSNEWSGHANA, at random interview after the opening ceremony last Saturday, February 6, 2021, said the opportunity to receive the orientation on the role and function of parliament as well as the rules and procedures would help them to effectively engage in the House and at their constituencies.
Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu, MP for Walewale in the North East region said the orientation will give her and her colleague the greatest opportunity to socialize and get to know each other as well become conversant with the house rules and procedures.
She said knowing the rules of the august House would help guard her in her duties as MP both in Parliament and at the Constituency, stressing that what has been heard while outside parliament is totally different from what she had come to understand.
On his part, MP for Navrongo Central in Upper East Region, Hon Sampson Tangombu Chiragia, said the orientation would expose most of them to the rules and procedure of parliament, while also taking home the experiences shared by old members and leaders of the House.
He expressed the hope that by the end of the orientation he and his colleagues’ new members would have been equipped with the basic knowledge of parliamentary practices and procedures to facilitate their effective participation in the legislation and the legislative process.
“I hope by the close of the day, we should be able to understand some of the rules and procedures of the Standing Orders. As a new MP, it is my hope that I should be able to know and link the Standing Order and the Constitution. So my interest is to understand the difference and able to link so that when you quote the Standing Order, no one will get up and challenge you with the Constitution,” Hon Chiragia said.
Hon. Zuwera Mohammed Ibrahim, MP for Salaga South in the Savana Region, said it was her expectation that at the end of the orientation she would be exposed to the rules and procedures of the House so as to effectively discharge her constitutional mandate.
According to her, the seminar also served as an avenue to learn more about the Role and Functions of Parliament as one of the three arms of government and what MPs are expected to be doing both in the chambers and outside the chambers and as well at the Constituency level.
She added that members of the Eight Parliament are lucky to have a former and experienced legislator as Speaker, stressing that what is most important for the orientation was the fact that it would help them understand the dichotomy of the work of MP, especially on how to relate and communicate with their constituents and then whether indeed MPs are agents of development rather than the primary role as lawmakers.
Lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu, MP for Madina IN THE Greater Accra region, believed the orientation programme would not only give them the new MPs the necessary information on their duties as legislators but also to open their eyes and sharpen their skills towards their roles as representative of the peopl in parliament.
“As a new member of parliament I believed my success is based on the amount of information I have from parliament. Particularly on the rules of parliament. So I am looking forward in this seminar been an eye opening that will give me the opportunity for effective work. I believe this seminar is going to sharpen our skills to work as MPs and so I am looking forward to gather that experiences by end of this programme,” he stated.
During the orientation, members of parliament are exposed to role and functions of Parliament which covers issues such as the mandate of Parliament as stated in the 1992 Constitution and Standing Orders and the relationship between Parliament and the other two arms of the State.
Members are also exposed to the administrative structure of Parliament, the role and functions of Speaker, Majority and Leaders of Government Business, Leader of the Opposition or Minority and the Whips.
The relationship between backbenchers and the front bench is also explained and clarified for the smooth functioning of Parliament.
The seminar for the new MPs also looks at the types of legislation that could be brought before Parliament, namely public, private and hybrid bills as well as differentiating the types of bills, how these bills are generated and how they are brought before Parliament.
At the opening ceremony the Speaker, Rt Hon .Alban Sumana Bagbin said it was necessary for members to put the nation first before their political parties when it comes to matters in the House.
“We are all aware that the tolerance of Ghanaians for unbridled and unashamed partisanship has reached a breaking point and the earlier we respond appropriately to that issue, the better for parliamentary democracy. What Ghanaians and all Africans are interested in is the democratic dividends and not partisanship,” he said.
He urged the members not to allow the uniqueness of the 8th Parliament to be lost on them, stating, “It is the expectation of Ghanaians that we do more than before. We need to build bridges and collaborate more on many national issues than before.”
The Majority Leader, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, took the members through the functions of a legislator.
He said when they entered Parliament, most of them had their own perception about what the duties, obligations, and mandate of parliamentarians were.
“The first is representation of our constituents, deliberation on matters that come to us, and transmission of relevant information to the public. We also have an oversight responsibility,” he stated.
For his part, the Minority Leader, Hon Haruna Iddrisu, reminded the new members that they were now leaders and as such must lead properly, stressing that, “We are now leaders of the country and we must lead properly.”
The COVID-19, he noted has “imposes a new obligation on all of us. There must be some public sector reforms and how we even conduct business in the chamber must respond to the COVID-19 situation.”