The House of Parliament on Tuesday, after taking a day off from Parliament last Friday resumed with a worry on the loss of experienced Members of the House and chairpersons of Committees.
Forty-one sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) lost in the primaries, and on the first day of sitting, after the primaries, at the House, in Accra, only five out of the 41 showed up.
The Speakership and Leadership of the House observed that the defeat would affect negatively the performance of the institution, and the Speaker, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, congratulated them the winners, but urged the defeated to prioritise their work in parliament.
He said the outcome of the primaries is usual with politics and so they should not let the defeat affect their contributions to proceedings in the House.
Most of the MPs who won wore white attire to the House, in symbol of their victory, on which the “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose…And that is the name of the game,” Speaker Oquaye said, adding, “and if nobody lost, nobody would be here.”
“Congratulations to those who won and those who did not, better luck next time. We are in a competitive situation and in fact, one thing we should all realise is that sometimes you lose and sometimes you win.
“Once you win a fight, be prepared to lose one someday. That’s the name of the game and in fact, if nobody lost, nobody would have been here.
With tension brewing in most of the constituencies, where the primaries were held, the Speaker directed that: “And even for our followers, let us learn to rather cool them down.”
Speaker Oquaye reminded the losing MPs that not being in the House does not mean the end of their service, saying “and in fact we know you can leave Parliament, you can still be in the Government.”
“You can even do more strongly outside Parliament than in Parliament,” he said, and urged the legislators to attend to the business of the House with all the desired seriousness and promptness in the few months to the December elections, so that the work of the legislators would continue even after the elections and their outcome.
According to him, the nature of the enterprise of politics involves outcomes such as electoral defeat and must be accepted as such.
He said: “being out of Parliament does not mean you are not going to serve. We all know that you can leave Parliament and serve in government and some even do that more strongly outside Parliament.
“I will say let us attend to the business of the House in all seriousness and in all practice so that if fortunes smile on your party, some of us can still continue to play an impact role and if fortunate also smiles on the people on the right you will also be able to play a meaningful role in building this nation, Ghana.”
He directed: “I want us to have the full complement of the House until the election time. I also continue to pray that as much as we are all in the political season we must act as statesmen and assume some circumspection in all we do and in all that we say is good to us.
“In politics you know, there is a political class and when you talk about that group of people, it is to attack both the Majority and Minority members of Parliament at any given time because those are the people who are in politics and the game of politics and I hope we conduct activities in that manner for the rest of the period.”
Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South Haruna Iddrisu, calling the defeat “political tsunami or tornado, expressed worry about defeat of Mr Banda, Chairman of the Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee; and Dr Mark Assibey Yeaboah, MP for ……. And Chairman of the Finance Committee, and on the Minority Side Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, and Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
He wondered if the defeat was as he put it “if the Government is unpopular, the MPs are unpopular or if money is popular.”
Attributing the defeat of some of the MPs to the use and influence of money, and called for a national conversation on the politics of monetization in the body politic of Ghana, he praised the adoption of measures of the governing NPP, “undemocratic as it is”, as he put it to protect some of its sitting MPs.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Leader, a survivor of the primaries, who also went unchallenged, said: “I shudder to think that ¼ of sitting Members of Parliament are jettisoned. It cannot be good for the growth of any democracy.”
He called on the political parties with representation in Parliament to reconsider their constitutions so that report on the performance of the MPs would be submitted, as finding out which seats can be contested.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu decried the practice of some MPs and aspirants making promises on development project to woo voters, which made some electorates use unfulfilled promises to boot out MPS.
The Majority Leader suggested to political parties to introspect on ways of retaining experienced MPs, and argued that leading countries in parliamentary democracies are no longer practising the system, where doors are widely open for new aspirants to contest sitting MPs.
First Deputy Speaker and MP for Bekwai Joseph Osei Owusu, expressed worry about delegates and the electorate holding individual MPs responsible for failed electoral promises of political parties.
He wondered if monetization affected only the political class, and observed that there is a growing level of dishonesty in the country.
Also pressure is on MPs to satisfy personal financial demands of the people, the First Deputy Speaker said, and advised that the tackling of the use and influence of money should be made part of the education curriculum, starting from the Basic Education level.