Very few MPs debate on issues now, populism overtaking intellectual depth – First Deputy Speaker laments

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Joseph Osei-Owusu is not happy about the posture of majority of members of the current legislature.

He said only a few of them debate issues as they are as most of them are inclined to engaging in political antics before the cameras.

“I think that the Parliament that I witnessed before I joined in was a lot more vibrant in providing advocacy, showing intellectual depth than we have today,” he intimated to TV3‘s Evelyn Tengmaa in an exclusive interview.

“It thus appears to me that the populism is gaining upper hand over intellectual depth in our Parliament.”

The Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic has hit the headlines for both the right and wrong reasons.

It is the first time a member of the opposition party serves as Speaker after long-serving National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP Alban Sumana Bagbin beat former Speaker Professor Mike Oquaye in tense elections on Wednesday, January 6 to the role.

That night saw military officers troop to the chamber in what is still yet to be investigated by the House.

With 137 each of members, the two caucuses also debated over who sat on the right or left of the Speaker to assume the Majority or Minority roles.

All these were, nonetheless, resolved until after the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, came to present the 2022 budget statement.

After the Minority rejected the budget based on voice votes and in the absence of the Majority on Friday, November 26, the latter came back five days later to overturn the decision, quoting Article 104 of the constitution and the Standing Orders and with Mr Osei-Owusu in presiding role.

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Speaking to the posture of the current Parliament, the Bekwai MP, who also served as a First Deputy Speaker in the previous Parliament, stressed: “There are very few people debating based on issues, speaking to the things that matter, very few of us.

“Too many of us are doing populist things, showing demonstrations so that we will be on Facebook and so on.

“I regret to observe that, maybe I am too old or I am getting too old, but I think that our depth is getting less deep [and] it is getting more shallow.”

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana