MONEY-DRIVEN POLITICS IS BECOMING A NATIONAL CRISIS, SAYS KYEI-MENSAH-BONSU Featured

By ISABELLA AGYAKWA October 03, 2019 621 2 comments

The Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has bemoaned the growing trend of monetisation of Ghana’s electoral politics, saying “it has reached alarming proportions” and is becoming a national crisis.

He worries particularly that cash-driven politics is counterproductive in the fight against corruption.

“How do we deal with it, when we know that the process of electing politicians or Members of Parliament to represent us is so much predicated on money tricks?
“We can’t deal with corruption if we don’t confront this reality,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, echoing that “nobody is in politics as Father or Mother Christmas”.

The Majority Leader expressed these concerns when he took his turn in the Ministry of Information’s Meet the Press series yesterday in Accra.

Primaries

In his view, the raging inferno of moneybags hijacking the political space can be dealt with thoroughly only with when political parties review their policies as well as processes and procedures relating to the selection of parliamentary candidates.

“If we don’t refine it and we limit it to whoever is the highest bidder in the various constituencies, we will produce Members of Parliament … who will not be interested in the core functions of Parliament,” he said.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu added, “Parliament is not all about making legislation. When it comes to scrutiny and oversight of the Budget, how many people have an interest in it?”

He said out of the current 275 MPs, only about 50 participate in the lawmaking process of the House.

Quality

The Majority Leader said the government interest can be well pursued in Parliament by safeguarding the longevity of members, even though there is a need to strike a balance between old and fresh minds in the House.

“On the average, the longer a person stays in Parliament, the greater the value addition that he or she introduces or garners to improve democratic governance,” the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said.

He cited an instance in which during the visit by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Ghana, she kept referring to Congressman John Lewis, and described him as an icon in the US House of Representatives.

“That was because he sometimes provides the constitutional memory required by actors in the House,” said Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.

He said because of this particular insight, Congressman Lewis is consulted by many.

The Majority Leader explained that it is not for nothing that Ghana needs old brains in the House. He questioned, “Why do you want to do away with the old brains and resolve to introduce newbies when you know that in relative terms, apart from their old intellectual capacities, they have gathered sufficient experience and competencies to garnish our Parliament?”

“So I agree that we should strike a careful balance,” he said.

Inclusive governance

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs will promote general consensus around fundamental issues of national development.

It will also encourage the participation of civil society organisations in the shaping of public policies in order to secure “for ourselves and posterity the blessings of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity as captured by the preamble of the 1992 republican constitution,” the Majority Leader said.pol

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