Sunday, 03 July

Huge task for the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Bagbin, but he is on course

Feature Article
Speaker of Parliament

I am a citizen and not a spectator.

As a result, I do not only observe developments and listen to the critical national conversations in this country; I as much as possible will want to contribute to the extent to which my knowledge and experience permit.

The situation of Ghana having 30 million football coaches is a very well-known one.

What does not really get said is that all these 30 million football coaches are also politicians! Forget about which certificates these coaches have, or which political path the politicians have traversed: they are coaches and politicians nonetheless, period!

 I have worked with Parliament since independence until I retired in the Fourth Republican Parliament. I have worked with many Speakers in Ghana including Sir Emmanuel Quist, A. M. Akiwumi, Joseph Richard Asiedu, Kofi Asante Ofori-Atta, Hon. Justice Nii Amaa Ollennu, Justice Jacob Hackenburg Griffiths-Randolph, and Rt. Hon. Justice Daniel Francis Annan.

I can say with a clear conscience, and with no fear of equivocation that none of these Speakers has handled and managed such a strange Parliament as the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana.

I have the proficiency and the experience to make this observation; I am not being your typical football coach, which all Ghanaians are.

 The architecture of the current parliament is not a Westminster model; neither is it the Presidential type, nor a Majoritarian Parliament but a hung Parliament.

It is a strange creature indeed, which is difficult to manage and requires a lot of tact, discernment, and understanding of parliamentary practice and procedure.

I do not envy the current Speaker, the Rt. Hon. Alban S. K. Bagbin at all.

I admire his efforts at trying to bring all views on board including reaching out to retired former Speakers, former MPs, former Clerks, and former management staff of the Parliamentary Service.

His interactions with these groups of experienced people with invaluable institutional knowledge are helpful.

I honestly think he should be encouraged to continue to deepen these efforts.

Beyond the community of parliament, both present and past, the Rt. Hon. Speaker is committed to strategic relationship building with key stakeholders including but not limited to think tanks, CSOs, the diplomatic corps, labor unions, faith-based organizations, the media, traditional leaders, and the public.

His passion to increase the knowledge and understanding of these key stakeholders in the work of Parliament is commendable.

In view of what is happening in the Chamber, I pay frequent visits to Parliament to see things for myself.

My hopes are kept alive by what I just narrated.

 Ghanaians ought to be patient and allow Parliament to develop new rules and procedures to accommodate the new variant of the Fourth Republican Parliament.

In the not-too-distant future, it is a possibility to have an independent President or a President with a minority number of MPs in Parliament.

In all these three probable situations, the existing conventions, practices, and procedures, and the Standing Orders of Parliament have not anticipated these, and therefore do not have provisions to cater for such situations.

The Rt. Hon. Speaker, therefore, needs our support and encouragement, so that we can adequately position parliament for the future.

 While committing to uplifting the flagging spirit of many a staff in Parliament, some of whom have never been promoted for the past 19 years because of the stunted nature of the organogram of the Parliamentary Service, he is also, with the able support of the board and the experts in his secretariat, infusing fresh ideas and expertise into many essential areas of the service that had depended on the sole advice of the Executive.

 I also admire the rejuvenation of the concept of the African Personality and the efforts to educate and create more awareness about the essence, purpose, and functions of Parliament and Parliamentarians.

African personality is not only about how one dresses; it is about the entire mentality and attitude that one has, which reflects one’s “Africaness”.

I dare say that what the country needs at this time, is to galvanize creative and transformational leaders to manage the current challenges and to deepen democratic governance in the country.

 Rt. Hon Speaker, I honestly think it is still too early to congratulate you for the hope you have rekindled in Ghanaians.

All I can say now is to urge you to stay the course and keep your eyes on the ball and not the diversionary tactics of detractors.

Efforts to derail what you have started will come in droves.

Deliberate attempts to detract you from your vision for parliament will be made.

I encourage you not to be swayed by these.

Focus on the broad picture, and gradually, right will prevail over wrong.

 

Ayekoo Mr. Speaker!

 

Mr. S. N. DARKWAH

 

Former Clerk to Parliament. 

Source: Mr. S. N. Darkwah