A former Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpianim, has backed calls for the total separation of the legislative arm of government from the executive.
“I sincerely believe that if we have a strict separation of the legislature from the executive, that will be good for the country so I support what he said,” he told Citi News.
Mr. Mpianim, who served as Chief of Staff for President John Agyekum Kufuor, was commenting on the Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Prof. Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson’s call for the appointment of Members of Parliament as ministers to cease.
Delivering the maiden Constitution Day lecture in Accra on Monday, Prof. Bondzi-Simpson said the practice of legislators also serving as ministers of state burdens MPs and did not ensure effective governance.
Mr. Mpianim observed that Parliament would be unable to serve as an effective check of the president’s rule.
“If you are a member of the executive and the same time a member of the legislature, how can the legislature have some sort of subversive rule over the executive? If something comes to Parliament for a debate, you are part of it. Are you going to rise up and say no even if you know it is not right.”
He made reference to the partial government shutdown in the United States of America which has been in effect for 17 days after lawmakers failed to break a budget impasse.
The former chief of Staff noted that the legislators in the US have been able to stand up to the presidency and demand more dialogue.
“But if because you are a President and therefore whatever you take to Parliament must be accepted, then I don’t think that should be the right approach,” he added.
Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution compels a President to appoint most of his or her Ministers from Parliament.
Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament from among members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament, except that the majority of Ministers of State shall be appointed from among members of Parliament.
The Akufo-Addo administration has over 60 MPs serving as ministers.
But Civil Society Group, Odekro, among other observers, has in the past spoken against the appointment of MPs as Ministers.
The group noted that the appointment of experienced parliamentarians as Ministers could weaken the leadership of the lawmaking House.
Odekro also believes that this system is a major contributor to absenteeism in Parliament.