A former Minister of Energy and Member of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya in the Greater Accra Region, Prof Aeron Mike Oquaye, was last Sunday morning confirmed as the new Speaker of Parliament.
He takes over from Mr. Doe Adjaho, who bowed out after his party – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – lost the December 7 elections.
Prior to Sunday morning’s confirmation, rumours were rife that the former Ghana High Commissioner to India would assume the mantle as the next Speaker of Parliament.
Contrary to what happened in 2005, where both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and NDC put up candidates, this time, the House managed to build a consensus, which made Prof Oquaye’s confirmation a smooth one.
In his acceptance speech, the new Speaker said the Fourth Republic Parliament has been seeking to re-establish its role as a key public institution, however, the challenges have been myriad.
During the dark days after independence, anytime a coup occurred, Parliament was dissolved, while the Executive continued, even if in a different shape. This instability has affected the development of Parliament.
When Parliament reconvened in 1993, after years of military rule, for example, only one member had been an MP before. Hence institutional memory was negligible. Strides have since been made, and we congratulate all those who have helped the process of restoration of the ideals, beliefs and values of Parliamentary democracy in the Fourth Republic. Nevertheless, a huge task still remains ahead of us, and I trust we shall rise to the occasion, he said.
“Parliament operates by Rules and Procedures called the ‘Standing Orders.” Incidentally, in Parliament itself, it is generally agreed that there is the need to revise the rules as a whole. Committees have been set up to revise these rules, but for over a decade, the process has stalled.
Sometimes, proceedings become jerky in the House, as leaders and members recall conflicting experiences from memory. I am committed to completing this lingering exercise, and I will take this up with the leadership soon.
“In this connection, there is another issue to tackle – rulings of Speakers in the past will be captured to serve as guidance and precedents for the smooth operation of the House. The Indian example is thorough, published together as ‘Rulings from the Chair.’ I will make copies of the full series available, so that we should have Ghanaian precedents well recorded for posterity. This is how institutions grow scientifically, systematically, and with responsibility.”
The full speech would be published tomorrow.