Punish MPs to check absenteeism – Odekro

Odekro, a parliament-focused civil society organisation, has suggested punitive measures to discourage Ghana’s legislators from absenting themselves from the House without permission.

The recommendation follows its latest report on the conduct of the parliamentarians.

Odekro’s MPs’ Absenteeism Report on the First and Second Meetings of the Seventh Parliament, 2017 found that Ministers and Deputy Ministers absented themselves from at least 15 sittings without the permission of the Speaker of Parliament.

The report reveals that Ministers of State who double as Members of Parliament absented themselves more frequently than MPs without a Ministerial position.

As “punitive measures”, Odekro suggests that “MPs found to have no reasonable excuse to be absent without written permission from 15 sittings and beyond should be asked to vacate their seats in line with Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.”

However, prior to this punitive measure, Odekro suggests that the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, should task the Privileges Committee of Parliament to summon MPs who have been absent from 15 parliament sittings and beyond without written permission of the Speaker, to inquire into reasons for their absenteeism in line with Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992  Constitution of Ghana.

This committee inquiry should be open to the general public by default, the civil society said.

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