Odekro is a registered non-profit organisation whose objective is to monitor, assess and evaluate the work of the Parliament of Ghana. As part of its work, Odekro gathered data covering the period January 2013 when the 6th Parliament of the Republic of Ghana was constituted and July 2015. The data Odekro used was sourced from publicly available records compiled by the Parliamentary Service.
An analysis of the said data revealed that 125 Members of Parliament (MPs) have breached Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution. Article 97(1)(c) states that an MP shall vacate his or her seat if:
“he is absent, without the permission in writing of the Speaker and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges from fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet;”
On 2nd December, 2015, Odekro wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, requesting that he declares the seats of these Members of Parliament vacant, pursuant to the Constitution failing which we were going to seek redress through the courts.
The Speaker of Parliament failed to acknowledge receipt of our letter and he also failed to honour our request to declare the seats of the defaulting MPs vacant. Consequently, we have instructed our lawyers to file a suit at the High Court asking the court to declare the seats of the 20 worst-offending MPs vacant.
The 21 worst offenders who have missed several sittings between the period January 2013 and July 2015 are:
Evans Paul Aidoo (Sefwi-Wiawso) – 188 Sittings
Hannah Serwaah Tetteh ( Awutu-Senya West) – 176 Sittings
Eric Opoku ( Asunafo South) – 165 Sittings
Akwasi Opong-Fosu ( Amenfi East) – 155 Sittings
(Dr) Dominic Akuritinga Ayine ( Bolgatanga East) – 150 Sittings
(Mrs) Queenstar Pokua Sawyerr,( Agona East ) – 135 Sittings
Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo (Kpone-Katamanso) – 132 Sittings
Mark Woyongo ( Navrongo Central ) – 126 Sittings
Clement Kofi Humado ( Anlo) – 124 Sittings
Maj. (Rtd) Mustapha Ahmed ( Ayawaso North) – 118 Sittings
Fiifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey (Ketu South) – 110 Sittings
Alhaji Bashir Fuseini Alhassan (Sagnarigu) – 102 Sittings
James Agalga ( Builsa North) – 97 Sittings
Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo (Wa Central)- 94 Sittings
Aquinas Tawiah Quansah (Mfantseman West) - 92 Sittings
Ken Ohene Agyapong ( Assin Central) – 89 Sittings
Collins Dauda ( Asutifi South) – 89 Sittings
Ahmed Arthur (Okaikwei South) - 84 Sittings
Grace Addo ( Manso Nkwanta) – 83 Sittings
Joseph Boakye Adu Danquah (Abuakwa North) – 76 Sittings
Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye – 75 Sittings
By this action, Odekro intends to establish a legal precedent with which to sue the remaining defaulting MPs to vacate their seats. A full list of the 125 MPs can be viewed on http://blog.odekro.org
The truancy of Ghana’s MPs cuts across partisan political affiliations. 62 of the absentee MPs are from the ruling NDC and 61 from the opposition NPP with the PNC’s single MP and an independent MP completing the numbers.
This repeated and persistent absenteeism is a symptom of the general disinterest in Parliamentary work which allowed the AMERI deal, the Content Authorization LI, and the bill that led to the imposition of new taxes to pass through the House with little or no scrutiny.
By repeatedly absenting themselves from Parliamentary work, these 125 MPs weaken the institution of Parliament thereby making it ineffective in the discharge of its constitutional mandate as a representative of the people.
We call for the support of all well-meaning Ghanaians and civil society in this important action being taken by Odekro in demand for accountability from our elected representatives in Parliament.
Join us build a stronger Parliament and hence a stronger democracy. Long live the Republic of Ghana!
NB: All media enquiries should be directed at Nehemiah Attigah, Principal Lead of Odekro on 0577605119 or Kinna Likimani, Special Programs Officer of Odekro on 0243451003 – email@example.com