Mr. Kosi Kedem, President of the Forum for Former Members of Parliament (FFMP), at the weekend said, democracy and good governance were political processes, which must be achieved in stages and with time.
He said building and sustaining democracy was a costly business to undertake but was pleased that the democratic process had gone on in Ghana uninterrupted since 1993. Mr. Kedem, who is a former Member of Parliament (MP), for Hohoe South, was speaking at a sensitization forum with students of the Koforidua Polytechnic, on the work of Parliament.
The programme was organized by the Forum of Former Members of Parliament (FFMP), with support form Parliament, and had the theme “The Role of Parliament in the Development and Sustenance of Democracy and Good Governance in Ghana”.
It was aimed at deepening the interest of the Youth in the work of Parliament and also to help in consolidating Democracy in Ghana. Mr. Kedem indicated that despite the numerous criticisms and challenges it had faced, the Parliament of Ghana had played a commendable and critical role in deepening and sustaining the process. “It can do more if it has more resources and facilities at its disposal; acquire financial independence; free itself from the oppression of the Executive and put the national interest above sectional and party interest in its deliberations”.
He noted that Parliament alone could not bring about democracy and good governance, adding that, it must of necessity do that with the people and to work in concert with the Executive and the Judiciary, as well as seek the support of the media and civil society.
Mr. Kedem said one of the ways that Parliament will be better positioned to perform its functions is be to resourced and independent, which he said could happen if it was given financial autonomy as given to the Judiciary by the Constitution. “The information and research capacity of parliament must be vastly improved to enable MPs to have easy and quick access to reliable and current information.”
He recommended that Parliament should build capacity for its members and staff, which he said could be done if a Parliamentary Institute is built to train and offer continuing education for them. “Parliament must intensify its public education programme and reach out to the public.
Right now many people do not seem to understand the role of Parliament and therefore do not appreciate the work it does”.
Mr. Kedem indicated that through the public education programme it could also help to build a democratic culture and values for building a vibrant democratic state.
Mr. Collins Agyarko-Nti, Executive Secretary, FFMP, said membership of the association included MPs from the first, second, third and fourth Republics, adding that, it is a non-partisan organization. He said they had come together to entrench Parliamentary democracy in the country and to rekindle the interest of the youth to take over the mantle from them in the future.
Mr. Kwakye Addo, a former MP for Afram Plains South, who chaired the function, said the association, for the past one year, had been organizing the programme to deepen the awareness of students in Parliamentary democracy.
He said the former MPs did not want to keep the experiences they had acquired to themselves and urged the students to rekindle the concept of good governance where ever they go.
Ms Monica P. Atenkah, former MP for Buem, urged the students to try to make a mark in the communities in which they live. GNA