Mr Speaker, the firstMeeting of the Fourth Session of the SixthParliament of the Fourth Republic endstoday. As the practice has been, we mustthank God for his mercies. Mr Speaker, Imust also appreciate the opportunity tomake these few remarks.
Mr Speaker, we have debated, amendedand passed many Bills after thoroughconsiderations. In this Meeting, HonMembers have worked tirelessly anddiligently to ensure the effective executionof parliamentary business and metdeadlines, which have ensured thesmooth administration of Government.This has culminated in a very fruitfuldiscourse and productive session duringthese months of Meeting and everyonemust receive commendation for efforts putinto the Meeting. Mr Speaker, the signature issue for thisMeeting was the State of the NationAddress of the President of the Republic.Indeed, by the conventional standards ofmeasure, there are clear indications thatthe State is rubber-legged. There is,therefore, the need for all of us to admit tothe true state of affairs and bond togetherto find pragmatic measures to dealfrontally with the challenges facing thecountry. Mr Speaker, it is worth mentioning that,in this Meeting, our Parliament playedhost to a number of events and thisincluded a capacity building seminar forAfrican Parliamentarians on addressingChild, Early and Forced Marriage with thesupport of Parliamentarians for GlobalAction and at which we had a publiclecture by Dr Babatunde Osotimehin,Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary General of United NationsPopulation Fund (UNFPA), which had todo with critical and connected issues ofpopulation and development, in particular,as they affect people in the Global South,including, especially Ghana. Mr Speaker, it is my belief that, we takea cue from the conclusions andrecommendations that emerged for the
advancement and development of our dearnation. Mr Speaker, also worth mentioning wasthe fact that the Majority Leader and I wereinvited to be part of the launching of theSustainable Development Goals in Ghana,in which H.E. John Dramani Mahama, whohas been appointed as a Co-Chair of thegroup of 16 eminent persons, who wouldassist in the campaign to achieve theSustainable Development Goals, gave akeynote address. Mr Speaker, in providing the necessaryoversight and accountability for theeffective implementation of SDGs,Parliament must continue its role increating awareness, ensuring thatgovernment policies and programmes areSDGs-compliant, and establishingappropriate linkages among thesepolicies, programmes, projects andbudgets. This is a clear way of achievingthe goals under SDG in record time. On the issue of security, Ghana, wemust admit, is no longer immune from terrorthreats as recent happenings in BurkinaFaso and la Cote d'Ivoire attest to it. It isthe reason inaugurating a police unit inthe precincts of Parliament today is agood thing worth commending. The policeexist to protect life and property and toensure peace and security. Ghanaians are generally speaking,peace-loving and that partly explains whyfor a long time, Ghana has remained anoasis of peace in a region that has hadmore than its fair share of conflict andinsecurity. The world has since September 11,2001 changed significantly and that is whyit is imperative that Ghana begins to takecommensurate, proactive steps. Theinauguration of a police unit and facilitywithin Parliament today is intended toprovide security to Mr Speaker, the thirdrecognisable person in the country, Hon
Members, the staff, guests to the Houseand property on the precincts ofParliament. Mr Speaker, as I said this morning,Parliament cannot serve as a thoroughfareto other destinations. Yet Ghana'sParliament is a thoroughfare for as longas the precincts of Parliament remain ashared facility between Parliament and theExecutive. Mr Speaker, the time has come forLeadership of Parliament to take the matterof the Executive ceding the part ofparliamentary precincts that the arms ofthe Executive now occupy, to thelegislative arm with H.E. President JohnDramani Mahama, who himself is a formerMember of the Fourth RepublicanParliament. The low point of this Meeting was thebrutal murder of our Colleague the Hon. J.B. Danquah, in whose memory a befittingtribute has just been made by the HonAtta Akyea, the Member for the otherAbuakwa Constituency. We will urge thepolice to work assiduously to let us knowthe truth in this beastly event. Thus far,the absence of relevant information is nothelping matters. Paradoxically, the security agencies inthe immediate aftermath of that heinouscrime, hurried to Parliament for timeousbriefings, for which we commended them.Information has since then dried up. Canthe relevant agencies respond to ourinquiries? Their silence is not helpingmatters. In the meantime, may I wish the partiesparticipating in the by-elections a verycivil and mature electioneeringcampaigns. May the best candidate win.
Mr Speaker, presidential and generalelections are scheduled to be held onNovember 7 this year. If that is so, thenwe have less than 8 months and yet thenation does not know when the electionswill hold. Elections, if they are to be freeand fair, must be transparent andpredictable. The parties must know well before duetime what events will occur at whichperiods. It is most unfortunate and indeed,unacceptable that the relevant Bill has notcome to Parliament yet. I want to believethat nobody wants to stampede thepolitical parties and indeed, the entirecountry. We need tranquility in ourelections. Parliament has an oversight responsibilitypursuant to good democratic governance.One traditional tool of exercising theoversight function is Question and Motions.It is unfortunate that many Questions andMotions that are filed to exact responses fromthe Executive, some IGIs and quasi-governmental institutions remain unres-ponded to. Parliament is disabled by that,especially when the Members who file theQuestions and the leadership of theCaucuses that they come from, are not toldanything. We should not emasculate Parliamentby the resort to the trend of not allowingMembers to engage the Ministers. Itdisables Parliament. Mr Speaker, may I take this opportunityto express my felicitations to you and yourdeputies for the manner in which theaffairs of this Meeting have been steered.It is my sincerest hope that God will grantyou wisdom and grace to be as just andimpartial as possible to guide the Housein the discharge of our duties. Mr Speaker, I also express myappreciation to the Clerk and his staff forworking assiduously to enhance theBusiness of the House.