Editorial: Haruna Iddrisu’s threat may not help parliamentary work
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, has reportedly made it clear in the House that the members will transact government business, but not at the peril of their survival as members of Parliament (MPs). According to Mr Iddrisu, they can only return to the house and work for the government if they are able to keep their seats in their various constituencies.
“The Dagombas say you must have your head to chew corn. Members of Parliament must survive to be heard. This is an election year, if I don’t have my head to chew corn, I can’t chew corn. If we don’t keep our constituencies safe, we will not be here thereafter.
“We will support him to do government business, but we will not support him at the peril of survival as MPs. We have to hold onto our constituencies and ensure that we are part of the 8th Parliament of Ghana,” Mr Iddrisu was quoted as saying.
Much as The Chronicle agrees with Mr Iddrisu that they must fight to maintain their seats, we do not think, in so doing, their work as legislators must be abandoned.
Ghanaians voted for them to do parliamentary work for four years. The Constitution does not say in election year MPs must abandon their mandate and be moving round campaigning for re-election. But, since the law was made for man and not the other way round, the MPs, in most of the cases, are given the leeway to campaign whilst, at the same time, doing their parliamentary work in an election year.
The executive arm of the government cannot function without inputs from the legislature because they work in tandem. The government, for example, has no power to secure foreign loans that have not been approved by Parliament.
Again, the government cannot spend a pesewa of the tax payers’ money without the approval of the fiscal budget by the August House. This means that Parliament has a crucial role to play in the day-to-day administration of the country.
But, despite this clear-cut constitutional mandate, The Chronicle also agrees that the MPs must have time to campaign for re-election. In order to find the middle ground, we suggest that both sides of the House should meet to discuss the possibility of dividing themselves into groups. Each group, which must meet the quorum as mandated by the Standing Orders of the House, can meet to transact business of the house whilst members of the other groups can be on the campaign trail.
Those already on the field campaigning can come back after a specific period of time to take over from those sitting and transacting the business of the House, for the latter to also move to their constituencies to campaign.
We believe if this method is adopted, it will help to ensure the regular sitting of the house and avoid the threat being issued by Mr Haruna Iddrisu.