Deputy Minority Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, has expressed deep concern over the dwindling number of experienced Members of Parliament (MPs) in Ghana’s legislature, attributing this worrying trend to the outcomes of political party primaries.
Speaking on the aftermath of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary Primaries, he noted that the loss of sitting MPs poses a significant threat to the legislative body’s efficiency and the country’s developmental trajectory.
During an interview in Parliament on the resumption of sitting on Tuesday, 6th February 2024, the MP for Banda constituency observed that compared to other countries, “Ghana is not progressing as it should”.
He underscored the urgent need for Ghana to draw lessons from the governance and policies of both past and present administrations to foster national advancement.
“The essence of experience and dedication that once filled our Parliament is dwindling,” he lamented, stressing the vital role that seasoned lawmakers play in steering the country forward.
Ahmed Ibrahim also addressed the changing dynamics within the Parliament, pointing out a notable shift in attitudes among younger and newly elected MPs towards prioritizing personal financial stability over long-term public service.
Reflecting on his own early years in Parliament, where he faced financial challenges, Ibrahim observed that current MPs seem more focused on securing their financial future, which in turn affects their commitment and participation in parliamentary duties.
This mindset, according to him, results in a Parliament characterized by unmet expectations and decreased active involvement.
“This not only empties the House but erodes the social capital that is vital for our nation’s growth,” he stated, emphasizing the consequences of this trend on governance quality and national development.
The Deputy Whip reminisced about the mentorship he received from senior figures such as Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, popularly known as General Mosquito, and advocated for the cultivation of such relationships to foster effective leadership.
He voiced concerns that the competitive nature of Ghana’s politics today is impeding these valuable mentor-mentee dynamics.
Highlighting the stark contrast with legislative practices in other African nations, Ahmed Ibrahim called attention to the longevity of parliamentary careers in countries like Nigeria and Egypt, where MPs often serve for several decades.
He pointed out that Ghanaian legislators’ lack of experience becomes evident in international forums, putting them at a disadvantage against more seasoned counterparts.
“Our ladies, when they attend international conferences, face challenges in elections against those who have been in parliament for 20 or 30 years.”
“We are at a disadvantage because we lack that depth of experience,” he elaborated, advocating for a strategic reevaluation of Ghana’s political landscape to preserve and enhance the nation’s legislative experience and integrity.
He cited Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Hanna Tetteh, and Ibn Chambas as exemplars of politicians who cultivated their careers within Parliament and succeeded in holding their own on the international stage.
He underscored the critical need for nurturing and retaining experienced lawmakers to ensure Ghana’s continued growth and competitive stance on the global stage.
Story by Nana Kwaku Boffah