Parliamentary Leadership Attacks Legon Lecturers Over ‘Wrong Bearings Research’

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Leadership in Parliament has taken dim view of the recent controversial research that assessed performance of Members of Parliament (MPs).

The Political Science Department of the University of Ghana which conducted the research, they said, got its bearings completely wrong.

According to the leadership, the standard model for assessing MPs should be subjected on established functions of members in order not to worsen the already acute misconception of the role of Parliamentarians and the legislature.

Leaders of the House made this observation on Thursday at a press briefing in Parliament to address outcome of the research and matters that arose afterwards.

Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said Parliamentarians welcome researches that critique the performance of members but stressed this should be done on the basis of established functions of a legislature.

 

There have been other researches on MPs in the past by the Africawatch Magazine and Odekro, an online portal, which received varied views due to the limitedness of the scope.

These researches mainly concentrated on attendance at plenary but MPs argued majority of work of the House is performed at the Committee level, which is not open to the public.

Hon. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu averred the basic function of Parliament and MPs is legislation but the duties would include oversight, deliberative function, financial control and even informative and communication among a few more others.

He stated, “These are the yardsticks that should be used to determine the performance of an MP.”

“If an institution like University of Ghana is joining the fray to assess Members of Parliament, you would expect them to use these known yardsticks.”

He argued that evaluating MPs should not be done solely on the basis of what constituents say because bulk of the work of parliamentarians lie in the legislature.

That, he said, should provide the foundation for evaluating and grading the performance of members.

Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, on the other hand, stated it is worrying an academic institution is contributing to public misconception and confusion of the role of MPs.

That, he said, should not emanate from a respected academic institution and a department like the Political Department of the University of Ghana.

According to him, Parliament respects academic institutions and recognizes their role in subjecting parliamentarians to critical outside evaluation.

“Journalistic scrutiny and evaluation of MPs are also justified to the extent that legislators are accountable to those who elect them into office.”

He argued though MPs may have contributed to the misconception, an institution that studies and teaches about the role of MPs based on the constitution has no excuse to contribute to the misunderstanding.

“When you describe MPs as agents of development; that is not our primary role and that cannot be; whether in constitutional political science MPs are not agents of development,” he said.

The Minority leader, however, indicated the research will serve as wake-up call for MPs to begin assessing their performances before they go for the impending primaries to be elected to contest the parliamentary seat again in 2020.

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