After barely a week of immense condemnation by Members of Parliament on the Political Performance Index (PPI) survey conducted by the African Watch magazine on the performance of Ministers and Members of the Legislature, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo yesterday ruled that everything will be done to bring the editor of the magazine to parliament for contempt.
She stated that the constitution clearly defines the work and roles of parliament and cannot be undermined by inaccurate survey, saying, “an act or omission which obstructs or impedes parliament in the performance of its function or obstruct or impedes a member or officer of parliament in the discharge of his duties, or affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce that result, is contempt of Parliament.”
The speaker made the comment, after the MP for Manhyia, Dr. Opoku Prempeh and Ashaiman Mr. Alfred Agbesi made statements concerning the publication on the floor of the house.
In his remarks, the MP for Ashaiman, Mr. Agbesi described the survey as denigrating since it did not represent the working of parliament. He said parliament cannot relief itself from criticism but the criteria for assessing their performance should be more scientific.
Mr. Agbesi said, monitoring and evaluating the performance of political officials makes them work harder to serve their nation and should reflect objectivity, openness, and fairness. He stated that MPs perform their functions at various levels such as the floor of parliament, Committees, Workshops, Seminars and at the Constituency.
The MP suggested that parliament should put in place an internal mechanism to assess MPs yearly, initiate ways of building the capacity of MPs on the constitution, Standing Orders, Ethnics and leadership. He added that MPs should be exposed to international and recognised democratic institution to beef up the performance in parliament.
In his statement, the MP for Manhyia, Dr. Opoku Prempeh described the publication as an affront and purported to tarnish the image of parliament. He noted that MPs are not averse to be assessed, but there should be a laid down benchmarks to grade them.
According to Dr. Prempeh, the PPI seeks to undermine the harmonious working relation in the plenary since this will give way for backbenchers to compel the leadership of the house to allow them express the views on patent matters. He intimated that the work of parliament is huge and one cannot use only statement and contributions made on the floor of parliament by MPs as a formula for assessment.
Mr. Prempeh called for a review of the Standing Orders to make the House Committee a more active one with many subcommittees and issue a code of conduct to forestall issues of conflict of interest and ethics being used against MPs.
Contributing to the statement, the Majority Leader Mr. Cletus Avoka described the survey as unfortunate, since factors used for the assessment is questionable by the workings and functions of parliament. He said the magazine lacks the capacity of grading parliament. He also agreed by the stands taken by the speaker that the editor should be brought before the privileges committee for
Source: ISD (Gilbert Ankrah/Richie Osei )