By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

?

??????????? The widely reported massive walkout of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary minority, in response to the arbitrary renaming of Constitutional Instrument 73 as Constitutional Instrument 77 on Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, was perfectly in order (See ?Minority Walks Out Of [sic] Sitting Over Constitutional Instrument? Vibeghana.com 9/3/12). As Speaker Joyce Bamford-Addo aptly suggested, both CI 73 and CI 77 are essentially about the same controversial issue regarding the creation of 45 additional parliamentary constituencies, with barely three months to Election 2012.

 

The walkout by the NPP parliamentary minority appears to have been about the suspicion that the parliamentary majority membership of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) may well have something sinister up its sleeve, since the House had earlier on been presented with CI 73 before it went into recess about a month ago. The clearly articulated agenda was for the Full-House to deliberate on CI 73, once Parliament resumed. Needless to say, the walkout was largely informed by the decision of the NPP minority not to have the Electoral Commission, allegedly in cahoots with the ruling National Democratic Congress, ram through a law authorizing the Afari-Gyan-headed Electoral Commission to creating the aforesaid 45 new constituencies without due regard for electioneering protocol, as clearly established and studiously observed throughout advanced and functionally progressive and efficient democracies around the globe.

 

But what makes the NPP parliamentary walkout all the more legitimate is the rather lame explanation offered by Speaker Bamford-Addo for the unceremonious change of the name of CI 73 to CI 77. According to the Speaker, it is the responsibility of the Government Publisher ? in this instance, the Assembly Press ? to ascribe numbers to Constitutional Instruments, rather than the Full-House or Assembly of Parliamentarians. This is rather strange, as the NPP minority aptly observed. And unless the authority of the Government Publisher to label and/or re-label Constitutional Instruments is clearly articulated in Ghana?s 1992 Fourth-Republican Constitution, then, of course, the entire procedure is patently unconstitutional and must cease forthwith.

 

If, indeed, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu?s assertion that the contents of the purportedly renamed CI 77 is palpably different from those of CI 73, then Speaker Bamford-Addo, obviously, owes both the Minority Leader and the Full-House of Parliament a far better explanation than the one reportedly offered. The Speaker also, even more significantly, needs to explain to Parliament and the rest of the country, at large, precisely what measures have either been put in place, or are in the process of being put in place, in order to forestall any such procedural anomaly in the near future.

 

In the meantime, it goes without saying that the New Patriotic Party parliamentary minority, in particular, and the entire House of Parliament, in general, owe Ghanaian citizens and posterity the bounden duty of ensuring that our hard-fought and hard-won and sub-regionally and continentally enviable democratic culture does not go down the proverbial drain.

 

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of ?Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana? (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: [email protected].

###

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.