The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Sumana Bagbin, has called on Members of theEighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic to build more consensus than before.
He said though Parliament had always built consensus on many matters, the uniqueness of the current legislature should not be lost on members.
“We need to build more consensus than before, we need to build bridges and discuss more national issues than before. You are all aware that the tolerance of Ghanaians to unbridled and unashamed partisanship is reaching breaking points,” the Speaker said.
“The earlier we respond appropriately to that tipping edge the better for multi-party parliamentary democracy in Ghana and the African Continent”.
Speaker Bagbin said this at the orientation and induction seminar for the new Members of Parliament (MPs) at Ada in the Greater Accra Region.
The four-day seminar is to introduce members to the processes and practices of Parliament as well as equip them with the rudiments and tenets of the House to enable them to function successfully.
The Speaker mentioned that the Eighth Parliament had 123 first time members, which constituted about 45 percent of the membership, and was unique in many aspects in terms of equal representation of 137 members each for both the NPP and NDC, as well as having 20 female MPs each for both parties.
He urged the MPs to put the nation’s interest above their partisan political considerations andcharged Parliament to lead Ghanaians to consolidate the democratic cultures of the country.
“The current Parliament has no option than to lead Ghanaians to build and develop a by-partisan inclusive justice and free society in accordance with Article 31(1), 34(1) of the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the 1992 Constitution,” he said.
The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, explained the duties and obligations of an MP to comprise representation, deliberation, power of the purse, as well as oversight functions.
He said for MPs to sustain the demands of their office the Constitution, in Article 24, imposed certain obligations on them.
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, stated that the uniqueness of the Eighth Parliament imposed some responsibilities on members to ensure that the way business was conducted would lead to a new turning point for the Legislature.
He, therefore, challenged the new MPs to join the Speaker and the leadership to set a new paradigm, which strengthened Parliament as a responsive, transparent, and accountable institution.
“It is my view that the people of Ghana voted for more consensus and cooperation because they are tired of our polarisation, divisiveness and petty partisanship,” he said.