PN Africa and CDD Ghana to decentralize ‘Crystal Ball Series’
As part of its vision of strengthening parliamentary democracy in Ghana, the Parliamentary Network Africa (PN Arica) in collaboration with the Center for Democratic Development, Ghana (CDD Ghana) plans to regionalize the ‘Crystal Ball Series’ programme. The aim is to facilitate the process of interaction between elected Members of Parliament (MPs) and their constituents to deepen accountability to the people process.
The ‘Crystal Ball Series’ which was started about three years ago is an initiative by PN Africa and CDD Ghana designed to discuss the Agenda of Parliament before the commencement of each Meeting of Parliament. The pre-Meeting discussions are focused on the Agenda before Parliament and its impact on the various sectors of the economy, and good governance in general. It also affords participants the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions on the Agenda.
Top Governance experts, lawyers, leading politicians, the Minority and Majority leadership of Parliament and the Public Affairs Department of Parliament have at one point or the other addressed the ‘Crystal Ball Series’. Participants are often drawn from Civil Society, the Diplomatic Missions and other institutions of governance interest.
Executive Director of PN Africa, Samuel Obeng, hinted hbtvghana.com in an interview on the sidelines of this Meeting’s ‘Crystal Ball Series’ that, the new phase of the programme will ensure that MPs meet, explain and update their constituents on the workings of Parliament especially the law making process.
He said the strategy is to gather the constituents at a particular location in the region and bring the MPs in that region to meet with them for a discussion of issues regarding the business of Parliament.
“We believe that decentralizing the programme to the regional level will make more impact as we bring parliament closer to the people. We intend to focus on the regional caucuses in Parliament by creating the platform for dialogue in the regions. This will get the people involved in the discussions in the assessment of their representatives,” he stated.
PN Africa through the Crystal Ball Series continues to ensure that there is Parliamentary openness.
PN Africa’s Programmes Director, Gilbert Boyefio, also noted that, by their new moves they would be killing two birds with a stone – by presenting to the people the good works their MPs are doing while at the same time taking feedbacks on the performance of the MPs.”
He was hopeful that the programme will start by the last quarter of this year.
During this Meeting’s ‘Crystal Ball Series’ – the Sixth in the series, MPs in the current parliament had impressive grading per a data on their performance in as monitored by PN Africa’s MPs performance tracker. The Data revealed that the MPs in the current parliament have shown high levels of commitment to their work in the Chamber.
Presentating the report, Samuel Obeng, said, among others that Ghanaian MPs have demonstrated a lot more commitment to work in the chamber in 2018 than the previous years and the first meeting of the year 2019.
Regina Oforiwa Amanfo of CDD Ghana praised Parliament for dedicating some good attention to the RTI bill in the last session.
Notwithstanding, she was not enthused that the Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye led Parliament has not honored its promises regarding internal reforms and passage of certain key Bills. She mentioned the Bills to include the Affirmative Action Bill; the Narcotics Control Amendment Act; and an Amendment of the Disability Act as well as enacting a Legislative Instrument to operationalize the Acts.
She called on the Speaker and the Leadership of Parliament to ensure the operationalization of the Private Member’s Bill to make Parliament more assertive; ensure the publication of the rulings of the Speaker in order to free the office from the partisanship tag; and also ensure the Standing Orders of Parliament are revised to match up with the changing times in order to do away with the current restrictions on the workings of the Committees of Parliament.
Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson