Majority Leader calls for openness in African Parliaments

Alban BagbinMr Alban Bagbin, the Majority Leader in Parliament, has called on African parliaments to be open to the public to facilitate good democratic governance on the continent.

He said the operations of most African parliaments were opaque and shrouded in secrecy, which did not augur well for democratic governance.

He said the business of Parliament by nature was supposed to be opened to the public and it was for this reason that parliament, unlike the executive arm of government, had a public gallery.

Mr Bagbin made the appeal on Monday in Accra during the opening of a two-day conference of the African Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations (PMOs).

The conference on the theme: “Enhancing Transparency and Openness in African Parliaments Project” brought together representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) from African countries which have been engaging with Parliaments on the continent with the objective of enhancing their transparency and performance.

It also aims at strengthening Parliamentary openness and accountability through building the capacity of African PMOs to monitor the functioning and the effectiveness of African Parliaments, as well as promote citizen-Parliament engagement on the continent.

The Majority Leader said it was heartening that CSOs were now demanding openness and accountability from Parliaments in Africa.

He said the general concept was that the history of every country and the current situation played critical roles in shaping its parliament.

Mr Bagbin said the majority and the minority needed to work together in parliament for the good of the nation.

He called for the creation of a legal unit of Parliament so that it would not have to depend on the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for advice all the time.

He said the creation of the publication affairs directorate of Parliament in Ghana had brought about efficiency in its record keeping, but their main challenge now was the problem of implementation of policies.

Mr Bagbin assured Ghanaians and the media that the Right To Information (R2I) Bill, which is before Parliament, would be passed into law this year.

Mr Francis Tsegah, the Senior Research Fellow at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD – Ghana), lauded Mr Bagbin for his commitment to enhancing transparency and openness in all aspects of the Ghanaian society. GNA

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