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It’s time to decouple the legislature from the executive – Osei Kyei

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The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has suggested the decoupling of the Legislature from the Executive.

According to him, this is one of the ways to enhance the public’s trust in Parliament. He noted that it would also ensure a strict separation of powers.

Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, the Suame Member of Parliament stated that after several consultations with the core leadership of Parliament, it was realised that the hybrid Westminster-Presidential system of governance currently practised by Ghana, has outlived its usefulness.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu’s comment was sourced from the report of a working dialogue with the core leadership of Parliament on the theme, ‘Building consensus and trust in Parliament to enhance both procedural and substantive democracy.’

He explained that the hybrid system was borne out of a need to ease the jealousies and covetousness of party Members of Parliament who felt their struggle to get their party into power had been unrewarded.

He said “You’ll recollect that on December 31st, 1981, the coup that swept away Limann’s administration was occasioned in the main, by the disagreement among the ruling party members themselves. At the time we had a strict separation of powers.

“Limann had all his Ministers from outside Parliament and the Members of Parliament, many of them thought that the Ministers who had come on board, were not involved in the fighting that occurred in the trenches.

“They fought for victory, and when victory came, the President brought people from outside who were not involved in fighting for the party to win the general and presidential elections and made them Ministers.”

“And when they went to the Ministers to discuss issues, they had to wait sometimes 3-4 hours because the Ministers will not see them. So the budget of Limann came to Parliament and the ruling party members were at the forefront to reject the budget.

“Out of petty jealousies and covetousness and learning from that experience, and to have harmony, a very smooth and harmonious working relationship between the party in Parliament and the ruling administration, then we had this [the hybrid system] inserted into the Constitution.”

He admitted that indeed, the hybrid system had come to stabilise governance in the country.

However, due to current trends in the country, it is time to go back to the strict separation of powers.

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“I must say that this arrangement has stabilised the shape of things for some time, 28-29 years into the Fourth Republic. Don’t forget the Second Republic lasted over just two and half years. The Third Republic as well, two years, four months. This is the longest-lasting Republic that Ghana has seen since independence. So it stabilised the ship of state.

“But where we are, is it serving the purpose? The majority of the participants felt that we have gotten to a stage where we should terminate this marriage that yielded the hybrid system that we have.

“So they’re calling for a constitutional review to decouple the Legislature from the Executive, and committees and Member of Parliament should be allowed to operate independently from party control and interference,” he said.

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