Story by Lilian Owusu-Mensah
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, says that the governance system as a people needs retuning and fine-tuning. This, he said, is because the citizens are not enjoying the benefits of the resources that the country has to offer and for this to happen, the governance infrastructure of the nation must be improved upon.
“The masses are not having the benefits of the wealth of the nations. That really doesn’t have to do with the parents, but we must admit that our own governance needs retuning and fine-tuning such that we can have equitable utilisation of the wealth of the nations,” he stated on GTV’s Breakfast show.
The MP for Suame constituency also maintained that although Ghana is endowed with much more resources than the UK, circumstances are still not the best and Ghanaians are to be blamed for it.
“Ghana, we are endowed with resources. In terms of resources, we are much more endowed than the UK, and yet our circumstances are not the best. If we talk about natural resources, we have much more than the British. We must admit though that in the days of colonialism, they exploited our wealth to also develop their countries but how long has that been? The fault certainly is not in our stars, the fault certainly is in ourselves. Let’s improve the governance architecture of our nation to really have greater transparency and accountability on the part of the governors, the rulers, and I think by that we will be able to spread the resources to better develop the country,” he opined.
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu further stated that irrespective of the negative impact of colonialism, the nation also benefited from it, so the current circumstances in the nation should not be blamed on the colonialists because, to him, Ghanaians can do better for themselves.
“Yes, resources were exploited, they left us some legacies. Now the rail trucks and the railways they left with us, what have we done with it? Are we going to blame them for that? No! The road network that they left with us, again many of them deteriorated, So I’m not oblivious of the negative impact of colonialism but let’s not keep blaming colonialists for our future development. We need to do better for ourselves,” he opined.
He, however, expressed concern about parliament not living up to expectations due to some inertia, although parliament has a great role to play.
He added, “improving governance, improving the ethos of transparency and accountability, parliament has a very great role to play. Our parliaments are not living up to expectations in regard to providing proper oversight over the executive. So we talk about corruption and so on, a lot of it really is attributable to some inertia on the part of parliament, and I think we should strengthen parliament.”
In his view, Ghana’s challenges are because of the constitution adding that some are also self-inflicted.
“In Ghana’s own circumstances, some of them are inflicted on us by the constitution and some are our own creation. For instance, we have been struggling to have this Private Members Bill. We have struggled for a very long time and recently almost at the end of the 7th Parliament we did have a speaker who was bold enough to have that understanding that we need to create space for this regardless of the language of the constitution.
One has to oversee the Executive. The vehicle to use is the Committee Systems in parliament. unfortunately, in Ghana’s parliament, we have a situation where everything will have to be referred in plenary by the speaker to the committee before they are able to work on them.
Maybe let’s say we have an outbreak of cholera and parliament is on recess. The Committee on Health cannot sit until the House resumes. Maybe a statement is made on the floor, on account of which the speaker makes a referral to the Committee to be investigated. This doesn’t happen anywhere. Some of the things that we have done to ourselves are self-inflicted by our own rules of procedure which parliament is trying to review.”