Professor Ransford Gyampo of the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, has described as “baffling” what he says are attempts by some parliamentarians, particularly from the majority caucus, to undermine attempts by the Speaker to restore the lost glory of the house, as the countervailing authority to the powers of the executive.
He said since 1993, parliament has been toothless and functioned in the shadows of the executive merely as a rubber stamp and rather than commending and encouraging Speaker Bagbin, who is helping to stabilise the balance of power expected to exist between the executive and the legislature in a democracy, “some are politically misbehaving toward him.”
“Is the attitude of those who now have a problem with Bagbin’s assertiveness born out of ignorance or a subservient mentality ingrained in their psyche as a result of the long period of executive dominance over parliament?” Prof Gyampo asked.
In a statement made Prof Gyampo noted: “Ghana has always had Speakers of parliament from the camps of the ruling parties, who have whipped and guided parliament into accepting executive dominance over the legislative arm of government”.
“But Ghanaians voted for a hung parliament and parliament itself elected a Speaker outside the ruling party. Why can’t we respect this verdict and allow the Speaker to function?” he wondered.
He encouraged Mr Bagbin to stand firm.
“Do not pander to comments from parliamentarians who are yet to liberate their mentality from the shackles of overbearing executive dominance over the legislature”.
“Steer the affairs of the house in a manner that strengthens parliament as an effective oversight body and a countervailing authority to the powers of the executive,” he urged Speaker Bagbin.
Prof Gyampo further prevailed on the Speaker to do his work and exercise his powers as provided by the Constitution, saying: “Don’t play to the gallery, assert the independence of parliament in a manner that forces the executive to learn the rudiments of ‘real politik’ in their relationship with the legislature.”
He said Ghana’s democracy is evolving and the country cannot have executive dominance over the other arms of government in perpetuity.
In his view, there must certainly be a power that would counter the exercise of power, “and the bitter comments of a few parliamentarians who only know the bogus norm of parliamentary subservience to the executive, must be inconsequential in our quest to ensure parliamentary assertiveness and independence.”
He called on the minority group not to sit aloof and leave the battle to the Speaker alone.