Parliament Launches 30th Anniversary
The eighth Parliament of the fourth Republic is 30 years and the House has launched the anniversary.
The event took place at Parliament in the attendance of current legislators, the current Speaker, former legislators, former Speakers, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and other dignitaries.
The event which took place on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, began with a minute of silence for the late President Jerry John Rawlings who led the drafting of the 1992 constitution of Ghana to transition the country into the fourth Republic.
The current Parliament came into being on 7th January 1993 with Justice Daniel Francis Annan as the first Speaker.
The 30th-anniversary celebration is under the theme “Thirty (30) Years of Parliamentary Democracy under the Fourth Republic: The Journey Thus Far”.
In a speech marking the launch, the Clerk to Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah recollected the first Parliament in the fourth republic began with 200 seats in 1993, 230 in 2005 and 275 seats since 2013.
He said the democratic nature of the current parliament is “evidenced by the peaceful alternation of governmental power between the two major political parties in keenly contested elections in the years 2000, 2008 and 2016.”
According to him, commitment accounts for the observance of this major milestone.
“We have indeed come far as a parliament. We witnessed instances where honourable members used the boots of their vehicles as offices and storage spaces for official documentation. Thankfully, through the dedication of successive RT Hon Speakers of Paleimanet and Parliamentary Service Boards and the honourable leaders of the House, we now have two ultra-modern edifices, the Job 600 building and its annexe constructed under the Parliament Infrastructure Enhancement Project.”
The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) representing the Civil Society Organisations in the country said this is the first Parliament to reach adulthood in the country’s history.
“Over the course of this fourth Republic, Parliament in keeping to its rightful role as people’s assembly and for that matter, the most popularly accessible and representative branch of government has developed a productive working relationship with Civil Societies.”
It, however, indicated that more is expected of the House.
The Chief of Staff at the Office of the President on her part said the country, specifically, Parliament, has every right to be proud of this achievement.
She continued, “We cannot emphasize enough role of Parliament in exercising the checks and balances needed on the Executive we cannot emphasize enough the role of Parliament as the voice of the people and we cannot emphasize enough the role of Parliament in setting the toll for public discourse in the country.”
President Akufo-Addo assured the public of his government’s commitment to strengthening the Parliament.
In a message read on his behalf by His Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Opare, he said, “Government is committed to working with Parliament for peace, progress and prosperity of mother Ghana”.
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Cassiel Ato Foson also said there must be strengthened collaborations between the Minority in the House and stakeholders to hold the government to account.
“It is the Member of Parliament from the Minority side that often questions the act and omissions of the government of the day. It is the same members of parliament on the Minority side that raises critical issues, demand answers and hold the government accountable. This is certainly a big task for the member of parliament from the Minority side.
“The Minority need the assistance and cooperation of Civil Society Organisations, the academia, professional bodies, trade unions, students and all Ghanaians to enable it to hold the government accountable”.
The Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, on his part, called for constitutional reforms to meet the world’s dynamism.
“It is time to re-engineer our constitutional architecture to conform to today’s realities. We need a constitutional order that frowns upon winner-takes-all syndrome and promotes collaborations, collectiveness and consensus building in decision-making at all levels of governance. We need a new constitutional order that will ensure gender equity and in many respect, equality to promote real development.”
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin in his address said the 30 years of the current Parliament in the Fourth Republic has been a journey of vicissitudes towards a peaceful democracy that we enjoy today and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
The event also witnessed music interludes.
Activities To Mark The Anniversary
The Speaker said a Committee led by Hon Atta Akyea, the MP for Abuakwa South constituency, has been constituted to supervise the activities to mark the anniversary.
He said there will be a series of events in six regions to mark the year-long celebration in six regions.
These will include Public forums, mock parliament football matches, and health walks.
Also, at the national level, there will be public forums, football matches, lectures, award ceremonies, prayer and thanksgiving services and a documentary on the Parliament in Ghana.
In addition to that, he said some infrastructural projects will be developed including the reconstruction of the ceremonial gate of Parliament and others which will be funded through their partners and not public funds.
Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini