Political stakeholders in the Korley Klottey constituency of the Greater Accra Region have conceded that the primary role of Members of Parliament (MPs) is neither to initiate developmental projects nor undertake social intervention programmes in their communities.
The stakeholders agreed that MPs are constitutionally bound to represent their constituents in parliament in the areas of policy formulation and holding government accountable to the people.
The agreement was arrived at in a town hall meeting organised by the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra under the supervision of the Justice and Peace Commission of the church for the Korle Klottey constituency on November 8, 2020. The event which was held at the St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Osu, was highly attended by the parliamentary candidates for the NDC, NPP and the LPG and their supporters. Other participants include the NCCE, constituency Electoral Officer, police, Municipal Chief Executive, the clergy, community members and parishioners of the church.
In his keynote address, the Chairman of the Justice and Peace Commission, Rev. Fr. Wisdom Larweh, stated that the democratic progress made by Ghana may be attributed to the strong representation of the people in parliament with Members of Parliament bringing the needs of the people into parliamentary debates. He emphasised that this role could be seen clearly in the MPs’ participation in legislation for the benefit of the constituency and country, vetting of president’s nominees for ministerial positions, use of the MP’s Common Fund for community services and lobbying the government for developmental projects in the constituency.
He, however, expressed his disapproval of the impression created by MPs that they are the initiators of developmental projects in their communities by their many unattainable promises in their bid to win the mandates of the people to represent them in parliament. He also blamed the unfortunate situation on the lack of knowledge of many constituents on the role of the MPs and local authorities. Rev. Fr. Larweh informed participants that development at the local level was the duty of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies through the various departments under them.
The parliamentary candidate for the New Patriotic Party, Lawyer Prince Appiah Debrah, said demands made of MPs outside their constitutional mandate by constituents create room for corruption. He sided with the constitution on the statement that the sovereignty of Ghana resides with the people of Ghana for whose welfare all powers of government shall be exercised.
According to him, development is the process by which the social, economic, scientific, cultural, and political wellbeing of the people is improved overtime. He was of the view that for Ghana to achieve true development, the people must uphold the values contained in the National Anthem.
On the part of the Member of Parliament for the Korle Klortey and the Parliamentary Candidate for the National Democratic Congress, Hon. Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, all members of the Korle Klortey constituency should learn to live as one people, be tolerant and avoid violence because an elected MP represents all constituents.
As a result, the MP’s Common Fund should also be used for the common good of the community and not on partisan basis. She believes that the time for elections is a time for stakeholders to share ideas and agree on common grounds on which they could support Ghana to develop in her democratic agenda.
Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings moved that MPs should help deepen decentralisation by collaborating with local authorities to push for development through lobbying, supporting the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and then participate in decision making at such levels.
The Parliamentary Candidate of the Liberal Party of Ghana, Mr. Fred Ntow Boateng, requested that the Municipal Assembly should turn its attention to the perennial flooding troubling the people of Adabraka.
The Osu District Commander of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Alhaji Abdul Latif, pledged the readiness of the Police to ensure that Ghana experiences a peaceful election before, during, and after 2020 elections in their bid to protect and defend the political stability of Ghana.
Chairman for the occasion, Linda Esi Abban, commended the Catholic Church for organising the event. The chairperson, who is also the Electoral Officer for the Korle Klottey Constituency, assured participants that her outfit was determined to organise the best elections in the constituency.
The representative of the National Commission for Civic Education used the occasion to educate participants on how to thumbprint on the voting day.
The Justice and Peace Commission is part of the Pontifical Council for Justice of Peace of the Catholic Church dedicated to action-oriented studies for the international promotion of justice, peace, and human rights from the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church. Effective, January 1, 2017, the work of the Council was assumed by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development with Cardinal Peter Turkson as the prefect.
The town hall meeting, sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) was on the theme, ‘’the role of parliament, local authority, and participatory governance in community development.