POLITICAL RELEVANCE OF THE EQUAL NUMERICAL STRENGTH OF THE NDC AND NPP IN PARLIAMENT
Inspired by the sociological theory of functionalism, which teaches that anything that exists on earth has a useful purpose to serve no matter its harmful nature, I would want to share my thoughts on how Ghanaians and their government can maximize the political balance of power in the 8th Parliament for the collective good of all.
At the end of the 2020 parliamentary race, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) garnered equal number of seats, with both parties securing 137 seats apiece. This has since become a serious issue of concern to some Members of the NPP who think policies and decisions of the current government would be blocked by the opposition MPs. Though the fears of these NPP members is politically expedient, proper management of this phenomenon would go a long way to strengthen our democracy and promote good governance.
To ensure that the current composition of this Parliament really works in the collective interest of Ghanaians, the parliamentarians also supplemented the will of Ghanaians by the election of Rt. Hon Kingsford Sumana Alban Bagbin, an NDC member, as the Speaker. This blend of His Excellency Nana Addo and Rt. Hon Kingsford Summana Alban Bagbin is a signal to both parties that Ghanaians demand from them national integration and unity, key determinants of national development.
It is indeed true that President Nana Addo would not find it easy pushing his decisions and policies through this current Parliament. Nevertheless, that cannot be taken as something entirely bad. After all, checks and balances is adopted to promote good governance for the collective good of all.
A critical assessment of this phenomenon with the lenses of sociological imagination shows that the positives far outweigh the negatives. Nonetheless, it would cost us as citizens not to let this novel parliamentary composition of the 8th Parliament to work to promote the collective interest of Ghanaians and not a particular political party as often been the case.
As a contributory factor to the composition of this current Parliament, I justify it for a few reasons. In the first place, the current president and his cabinet would be compelled to take decisions that would best serve the interest of Ghanaians. This stems from the fact that any government policy or decision that promotes any selfish interest somewhere would not only be contested in Parliament by the opposition, but would also be explained to the constituents to make the government unpopular. More interestingly, this will not be carried out by just a handful of MPs but a considerable lot of them.
In a similar fashion, if the opposition MPs, for selfish partisan interest, decide to oppose any government decision or policy, the government of the day would also use its MPs, Ministry of Information and perhaps the Information Services Department (ISD) to appeal to the citizens for their support. At the end of the day, the citizens would be compelled to become part of the decision making process of the country. Thus, the administration of the country would no more be left in the hands of the NDC and NPP.
To ensure that the current Parliament works to promote good governance, the Members of Parliament must be compelled to explain to their constituents, government policies and bills that are put before them in Parliament. In fact, this is a role of parliamentarians that the Ghanaian law makers have long trashed into political dust bin. The government of the day must also address ‘Fellow Ghanaians’ from time to time to draw their attention to loans, and other government decisions that are being taken to promote their welfare. When these are done, the citizens would resist their representatives in Parliament for any attempt intended to frustrate the President.’
To really make this current Parliament work in the best interest of Ghanaians, Civil Society Organisations, National Commission for Civic Education, efficient, informed political party communicators and the almost forgotten Information Services Department must be ready to work.
BY BALA ALI, CIVIL SERVANT