Executive legislative relation in ghana


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Executive legislative relation in ghana

  1. 1. CHAPTER ONEThis chapter gives the background to the study. It is followed by the statement of theproblem, purpose of the study, conceptual framework, hypothesis, the scope of the study,significance of the study, methodology, and limitations of the study.1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY.Ghana has experienced different models of democracy since the attainment of politicalindependence in 1957. Each model had its peculiar institutional design by which power wasdistributed among the three organs of state. By the same institutional logic the frameworkof governance was different. While Ghana‟s democracy is often cited as one of the mostfunctional in Africa, its institutional arrangements continue to be a constraint to democraticconsolidation. (Regina 2007:1). In this regard, this research is aimed at getting fullerunderstanding of the Ghanaian Legislature and its relationship with the Executive andpresents the existing institutional deficits and how this has hindered the efficient andeffective performance of Ghana‟s parliament.The 1992 Constitution of Ghana creates a hybrid political system that combines elementsof presidential and parliamentary systems. This political structure has constrainedparliament‟s potential policy influence by creating an expectation of parliamentary oversightwhile simultaneously undermining its independence. In particular, the constitution requiresthat the majority of government ministers also be parliamentarians, and has thus partiallyfused the executive and legislative branches. 1
  2. 2. It is generally recognized that as a consequence of the fusion, majority of theParliamentarians often aspire to ministerial and other government appointments. Thisexpectation constrains them from presenting substantial challenges to presidential policiesfor fear of damaging their appointment prospects. Further, it is difficult if not impossiblefor a parliamentarian who doubles as a minister of state to perform independent andunbiased oversight of government.This partial fusion of the Executive and the Legislature is a key problem in the 1992Constitution. It undermines official separation of powers and reinforces the negativepattern of executive dominance in Ghanaian politics. The power and the opportunitygranted to the President under the constitution to appoint Members of Parliament (MPs) toministerial positions keeps the MPs beholding to the President.The requirement that majority of ministers of states be selected from among members ofparliament also has the potential to decimate the institution of parliament and undermine itsbipartisan cohesion as MPs now serving as ministers of state will be distracted from theirlegislative duties. This weakens the ability of parliament to countervail executive powers andfurther pose a threat to Ghana‟s democratic consolidation process agenda.(Prempeh 2003:8)The combination of constitutional constraints and Ghanaian political culture and practicehas also made the laying of Private Member Bill (PMBs) extremely difficult, a situationexacerbated by the divided loyalty of many MPs between their legislative and executiveduties. In practice, sector minister have laid bills before parliament during the entirety of thefourth Republic (1992-present), meaning that no legislation has originated in Parliament. 2
  3. 3. As a result of the structural impediments and the incentive structure that have beencreated, the executive essentially controls both the legislative and public policy agenda.HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE LEGISLATURE IN GHANA.Legislative power was first exercised in the Gold Coast during the reign of Queen Victoria(1837-1901). During the period of 1850-1865, the Gold Coast had a distinct LegislativeCouncil consisted of the Governor and at least two other persons designated by RoyalInstructions. Apart from the legislative body, the Gold Coast also had an ExecutiveCouncil. The Legislative and Executive Councils were responsible for policy making andimplementation. (Ayensu and Darkwa 1999:16)Since independence in 1957, Ghana has experimented with various types of governments:“Westminster” model of parliamentary government (1957-1960 and 1969-1972); one-partydictatorship (1960-1966); military dictatorship (1966-1969; 1972-1979 and 1981-1993);United States‟ model of separation of powers (1979-1981) and Fourth RepublicanConstitution (1992 to date),which is a combination of Westminster type and the AmericanPresidential model.In all these duly elected constitutional governments (1957-1960; 1969-1972; 1979-1981 and1991-Date) the authority of the state has resided in the National Assembly elected on acompetitive basis. A Prime Minister or President for the Westminster and American modelseither headed the government. In the case of the Westminster model both the PrimeMinister and other Ministers were members of parliament whereas in the presidentialsystem there was a strict separation of powers (at least in terms of personnel) between theexecutive and legislature – the President and the ministers are not members of the 3
  4. 4. legislative body and do not take part in its proceedings. In contrast, the model adopted in1992 requires that a specific proportion of ministers were to be appointed from among themembers of the legislative body. The objective was probably to avoid deadlocks thatsometimes develop between the legislature and the executive in the presidential system.Ghana followed the Westminster type of democracy at independence in 1957 with a liberaldemocratic Constitution and all its trappings such as opposition parties, guarantees of civilliberties and an independent Judiciary. In 1960 the country became a Republic and fouryears (1964) later the Constitution of the First Republic was amended and replaced with aone party state with substantial legislative powers to the President. Although the traditionallegislative and oversight role of the then Parliament was not taken away, it was virtuallyineffective in checking the activities of the executive. While few members of the Housewere able to express the concerns of the electorate and made attempts to check theactivities of the executive, the majority of them tended to agree to whatever policies andprograms the executive initiated.The 1969 Constitution of the Second Republic of Ghana re-introduced multi-partydemocracy in Ghana with a more vibrant Parliament. Unfortunately, the Constitution wasoverthrown in over two years of its existence. The next constitutional attempt was made in1979 with late Dr. Hilla Liman as the President. Again, within two and half years of itsexistence the Constitution was suspended and parliament dissolved. Thus between 1972and 1979, Ghana was ruled by a succession of military officers (National RedemptionCouncil (NRC), Supreme Military Council (SMC) I and II) and in June 1979, by the ArmedForces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), headed by Flight Lieutenant J.J Rawlings. 4
  5. 5. Between December 1981 and January 6, 1991 the country was again ruled by a militarydictatorship under the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).The current Parliament of Ghana was established by Article 93 of the 1992 Constitution.The body is vested with legislative powers of the state, which is exercised in accordancewith the Constitution. The legislative power is exercised by passing of Bills which is laterassented by the President to become laws. The tenure of each Parliament is four years andthere is no restriction on the number of times an individual can seek re-election.At the apex of the Parliament established by the 1992 Constitution are the Speaker and twoDeputies (first and second Deputy Speaker). The next on the ladder is the Majority Leaderalso known as the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs followed by the Minority Leader, theWhips of the various parties and backbenchers. There are specific rules and proceduresgoverning the activities of the House. For instance, no debate can take place in the floor ofthe house unless a member moves it. The Parliament is a unicameral legislature with at least140 elected members as stipulated in the Constitution. The first three Parliament of theFourth Republic consisted of 200 members elected once every four years, from 200 single-member constituencies throughout the country. By the Representation of the PeopleParliamentary Constituencies Instrument2004, CI 41, the membership of parliamentincreased to230 from January 2005. THE 1992 CONSTITUTION The architecture of the 1992 constitution is complex. It is based on the principle of separation of powers, as well as a system of overlapping personnel, functions and powers resulting in a hybrid of the presidential and parliamentary systems of government. 5
  6. 6. In the first instance, state power is shared among its three organs: Article 58 (1) vestsexecutive power in the president; Article 93 vests legislative power in parliament; andArticle 125(3) vests judicial power in the judiciary. Second, Article 78 (1) provides thatthe President shall appoint ministers of state with the prior approval of parliament, andthat the majority of such appointees should be “from among members of parliament.”The Vice President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are not Members of Parliamentcan participate in the proceedings of parliament, except that they are not entitled to vote(Article 111). Third, though the President exercises executive power, including theenforcement of all the laws of Ghana under Article 58 (2) he or she cannot spend publicmoneys without authorization by parliament. Nor can the president make laws. Thepower to make laws as well as authorize the use of public funds is vested in parliament;but it is only the President who can introduce a bill or motion to impose a tax or spendpublic money. (Article 108)The president could refuse to assent a bill passed by parliament even though parliamentcould override the President‟s veto by a vote of not less than two-thirds of its members(Article 106 (9-10). Fourth, Article 81 (1) empowers parliament to initiate proceedings toimpeach or remove from office either a minister or deputy minister, however, clause 5 ofarticle 82 leaves it to the discretion of the President to revoke the appointment of theminister or deputy minister concerned.The strong bond between the president and his party in parliament creates a virtualmonopoly over the decision making apparatus of the state. That is, the president(together with his cabinet) and the legislature are able to control these two criticaldecision-making structures within the state system. 6
  7. 7. Though members of parliament could propose an independent members‟ bill, Article 108 of the Constitution vests in the president the sole authority to propose bills that have financial implications. Essentially the president and his cabinet, all of whom have so far come from the same political party, exercise exclusive responsibility for development policy. When a development policy issue gets to parliament for approval the president uses his party, which is in the majority, to get it approved. The majority party in parliament tends to be less democratic when major national issues come before parliament for consideration. It has turned parliamentary deliberation on such issues into partisan contests for hegemony in the legislature. Such partisanship has often forced the opposition party or parties to bring the issues outside the domain of parliament in order to mobilize a wider public to express their viewpoint. But the majority party in parliament has always had its way on such highly contested policy issues. This hybrid system has lead to what has become known as executive dominance over parliament in the Fourth Republic1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENTThe 1992 Constitution shares power among the various arms of government, however, thelegislature in a way has failed to overcome executive dominance and to undertake itsfunctions effectively within the framework of the 1992 constitution.What this research therefore seeks to unravel is the ineffectiveness of parliament serving as acheck on the executive.The fusion of executive and legislative powers in certain respects, and the hybridization ofthe parliamentary and presidential system have given the executive a huge and unequivocal 7
  8. 8. presence in parliament. First, executive power is exercise in parliament through thePresident‟s majority party of which he becomes leader by virtue of his position as President.On the one hand, this gives the President‟s party in parliament a strong stake in thePresident‟s +++policies and programmes that are brought before parliament. Because thesuccess or failure of the President‟s policies and programmes affect the electoral fortune ofhis party, the President‟s parliamentary party collectively and individually becomes a strongadvocate of the President‟s policies and programmes. On the other hand, the President alsosees his party in parliament as an indispensable resource for getting his policies andprogrammes through parliament. He accordingly maintains keen interest in the decisionsmade by his parliamentary party and closely monitors trends. The executive again, has a more direct presence in parliament through the ministersappoint from among members of parliament. The executive is further represented inparliament through ministers and deputy ministers who are not members of parliament butcan participate in the business of parliament except voting. The majority party in parliament also ensures that the person appointed as speaker is favorably disposed to the president. Theoretically the speaker is an independent officer of the state who has sworn The Speaker‟s Oath to defend the constitution and do right to all manner of persons in accordance with the constitution of Ghana and the laws and conventions of parliament. The reality is that the speaker is elected on the strength of the president‟s party in parliament, which makes the speaker indirectly part of the ensemble of powers that represent the president in parliament. It is therefore argue that, the framers of the constitution have subordinated the Legislature to the Executive (the President) which weakens the strength of parliament. 8
  9. 9. As a result, parliament has not been able to effectively perform its oversight functions asrequired by the constitution.Others further argue that, for the constitution to allow majority of ministers to beappointed from within members of parliament, it weakens the credibility of parliament inperformance of its oversight responsibility.This means the executive arm is highly influential over parliament. This undermines theeffective constitutional checks and balances and in effect, hinders accountability of theexecutive arm of government under the fourth republic. This has therefore come to beknown as the Executive dominance of the Legislature. 1.2 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY The research is aimed at critically assessing parliament under the Fourth Republic and established why the Legislature had failed to perform its oversight responsibilities on the Executive effectively. Specifically, the study would look into the major factors that militate against the work of the legislature. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK The concepts of separation of powers and checks and balances would be examined in relation to this work. According to Strong C.F. (1963; 58) cited in Gilbert Keith Bluwey (2002: 63) “these concepts first appeared in a work by Baron de Montesquieu entitled Esprit des Lois, published in 1748. Montesquieu held that when the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or, body of persons there can be no liberty because of the danger that the same monarch or senate may enact tyrannical laws and execute them in a tyrannical manner.” 9
  10. 10. He therefore advocated that in order to prevent abuse of power and tyrannical rule, notwo of the three functions of government should be vested in the same hands. Thesefunctions are: law-making, law-executing and the interpretation of the law in thesettlement of disputes.Another classical interpretation of this concept is given by M.J.C. Vile (1967: 13) cited inJ.C. Johari (1982: 524) “it is essential for the establishment and maintenance of politicalliberty that the government be divided into three branches or departments, thelegislature, the executive and judiciary. To each of these branches there is acorresponding identifiable function of government, legislative, executive or judicial. Eachof these branches must be confined to the exercise of its own functions and not allowedto encroach upon the functions of other branches. Also, the persons who compose ofthese agencies of government must be kept separate and distinct, no individual beingallowed to be at the same time a member of more than one branch. In this way, each ofthe branches will be able to control the machinery of the state.”Separation of powers therefore implies that, there should be three separate organs ofgovernment with their separate set of powers. It also implies that the various armsshould be kept separate in the interest of the individual. This in essence is the division ofpowers of government among the various organs in terms of functions and personnel‟s.Each organ must be confined to the exercise of its own functions and not allowed toencroach upon the functions of other organs. Also, persons who compose these threeorgans must be kept separate and distinct; no individual must be allowed to be a memberof more than one organ. 10
  11. 11. Under the concept of separation of powers a member of parliament who is appointed a minister of state is require to resign as Member of Parliament before the person can assume the office as a minister of state. In order to ensure efficiency and accountability of each of the organs in performance of their constitutional functions, Montesquieu did not only propose a clear and permanent separation of legislative, executive, and judicial functions. He also advocated that each of the organs should be made to check one another in order to avoid the abuse of powers by any of the organs through the concept of checks and balances. Here, each of the organs is vested with powers to serve as a watchdog on each other.Montesquieu thus gave to the world the twin concepts of separation of powers and checksand balances.Separation of powers would increase the competence of each of the branches while thechecks and balances would prevent abuse of power.This would promote the autonomy of each of the branches and enable them constitutethemselves and function effectively without undue interference from each other.1.4. HYPOTHESIS The entire study is based on the assumptions that:  The President has being vested with excessive powers over parliament.  Parliament and parliamentary committees lack office accommodation, which inhibits their oversight role.1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY.The research study was carried out within Accra and Kumasi. However, the offices ofparliament, CDD and IDEG were specifically selected within Accra. 11
  12. 12. For the purpose of our study, we limited our scope in Kumasi to KNUST campus andAdum. This has enabled us to minimize cost and elicited the relevant information for thestudy.1.6. JUSTIFICATIONIt is the conviction of the researchers that the findings of this study will go a long way toassist policy makers to be well informed of the extent to which parliament had failed toeffectively perform its oversight function over the executive. The researchers also believethat, the findings of this research will inform Ghanaians on how the constitution possessescertain limitations on the work of parliament.Finally, the study will also be of immense benefit to students and researchers who will carryout further research in this area.The constitution reflects a hybrid of the parliamentary and presidential systems whichpromotes executive dominance at the expense of parliamentary accountability. The framersof the constitution have handed us an executive-legislature arrangement that reinforce one ofthe negative aspects of our political culture which is excessive presidential powers overparliament. This affects horizontal accountability between the legislature and the executive.This means the executive will always dominate parliament so far as the ruling party maintainmajority in parliament and continue to draw majority of ministers from parliament. This canbe a root cause of bad government.1.6.0 METHODOLOGYThis section deals with the systematic way employed by the researchers to arrive at theorganized data in chapter three in relation to the research objectives. Under this, theresearchers outlined the population under study and the sample size for the study as well as 12
  13. 13. the techniques adopted in getting the sample size. The methods adopted in collections ofdata, presentation and analyzing of the data are also included under this section.1.6.1 PopulationThe population of this study is made up of Ghanaian adults who are between the ages ofeighteen and above. The target population was however categorized into three. They weremade up of the educated elite, civil societies and the mass public. The educated elitesconstituted parliamentarians, staffs of parliament and students. CDD and IDEG were themain civil societies consulted.1.6.2 Sample sizeIn order to obtain objective and accurate information on the problem, a sample size of twohundred respondents was targeted. The targeted population was sampled from each of thecategorized of the population. However, one hundred and twenty respondents wereconsulted at the end of the research.1.6.3 Sample techniqueThe non-probability sampling technique was used to obtain the sample size. Specifically, thepurposive sampling was used to obtain respondents. This was due to the nature of the studywhich requires some level of knowledge about the legislative and executive arms ofgovernment.1.6.4 Method of data collectionBoth primary and secondary data were used. The primary source of data includesadministered questionnaires and discussions. Journals, articles, reports, thesis fromresearchers, both published and unpublished and the use of the internet were our secondarysource of information. 13
  14. 14. 1.6.5 Types of dataBoth quantitative and qualitative types of data were collected. The qualitative data includedthe comments and suggestions from the respondents. The quantitative date on the otherhand, includes statistical data and values collected from the respondents.1.6.6 Method of Data AnalysisIn analyzing the data obtained, both qualitative and quantitative methods have been used.Analysis of the research work was in three main processes, which is preparation of codingscheme, coding data entry, and analysis. Analysis was done by the use of statistical packagesfor Social Sciences (SPSS). Furthermore, the data was analyzed by examining the features inrelation to the objectives of the study. Descriptive statistics were employed by the use of piechart, and bar graphs.1.7 Organization of the studyThe study has been organized into four chapters. Chapter one constitutes the generalbackground of the study, problem statement, conceptual framework, hypothesis, scope ofstudy, objectives, methodology, and relevance of the study. The limitation, delimitations andbudget are also under this chapter. Chapter two consists of literature review where relevantworks relating to this study had been reviewed. The review was captured under the followingsub-headings; Studies on the legislature, Historical overview of the legislature in Ghana,Parliament of the fourth Republic, Factors that militate against parliament and Reviewsummary and evaluation. Chapter three contains the demography of the respondent as wellas data presentation and analysis. The final chapter provides a summary of the findings,conclusion, recommendation and bibliography. 14
  15. 15. 1.8 LimitationIn the course of the research, the challenges encountered include; getting access toinformation from the office of parliament and even members of parliament (MPs). Therewere also time constraints and financial set-backs. However, to overcome these challengesletters were sent to the office of parliament and MP‟s to give them prior notice. Financialsupport was also sought from our parents and guidance. 15
  16. 16. REFERENCES1. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana. Accra, Ghana.2. H. Kwasi Prempeh (2003), Executive Legislature Relationship Under the 1992 Constitution: A Critical Review.CDD Publication Accra, Ghana, September 2003. Critical Perspective Number 15 (P:8).3. Ninsin A. Kwame (2005). Executive- Parliament Interface in the Legislative Process (1993-2006). A Synergy of Power, Institute for Democratic Governance Publication Accra; Ghana (P:2)4. Center for Democratic Development Newsletter (2001), Democracy Watch Volume 2 Number 1. CDD Publication, Accra, Ghana March, 2001.5. Regina Oforiwa Amanfo (2007), A paper presented on African Legislatures Project Conference on African Legislature; Integrating Research and Policy (The Case of Ghanaian Parliament)6. Center for Democratic Development Publication (2000), Parliament and Democratic Governance in Ghana’s Fourth Republic. CDD Publication, Accra, Ghana.7. K.B. Ayensu and S.N. Darkwa (1999), The Evolution of Parliament in Ghana, Institute of Economic Affairs Publication, Accra, Ghana.8. Thomas E. Patterson (2002), the American Democracy (16 Edition), McGraw Hill Publication. United States of America.9. Kumekpor Tom K.B (2002), Research Methods, Sonlife Press and Service, Accra, Ghana.10. Gilbert Keith Bluwey (2002) Political Science: An Introduction. Legon Center for International Affairs (LECIA) Publication. Accra, Ghana. (P:63) 16
  17. 17. 11. J.C Johari (1982) Comparative Politics. Sterling Publishes Limited, New Delhi, India. (P:524)12. Shana Warren (2005) Legislative Performance in Ghana: Assessment of the Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic, 2001-2005. CDD Publication Accra, Ghana. (P:9) 17
  18. 18. CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter deals with the review of some published works relating to the research topic. A number of studies have gone into the legislatures and parliament in Ghana, however, no single published work emphasizes on the ineffectiveness of parliament in serving as a check on the executive. Some of the works however, establish several factors that militate against the effective performance of parliament. For the purpose of the study, a brief review of literature is attempted. The review is centered on the following sub-related topics: 1. Studies on the Legislature. 2. Historical Overview of Legislature in Ghana. 3. Parliament of the Fourth Republic. 4. Factors that militate against Parliament of the Fourth Republic. 5. Review Summary and Evaluations. 2.1 INTRODUCTION In general, a bewildering variety of terms are used to describe the law making organ of government. It is often referred to as congress in the USA, national assembly in France, and the House of Representatives or diet in Japan, parliament in Singapore and Ghana, congress of duties in Spain and so on. Parliament or legislature is derived from the French word “parler” which meant to speak‟ the Latin origin of parliament is „parliamentum‟.Legislatures are perceived as “building where representatives meet and discuss the mainaffairs of the nation, they pass legislation and they exercise control, or try to exercise it overgovernment”. (Chapman et al. 1999:99). 18
  19. 19. Others contend that legislatures are deliberating bodies of states. Legislature is also perceivedas “Law making assembly of elected members in formally equal relationship to one another”.(Mclean, 1996:280) Legislatures occupy a unique position in the machinery of government in every state. Today every state has a legislative body of some kind. In some states legislatures are powerful decisions making bodies, while in others they are merely advisory bodies, performing only as rubber stamp institutions. The constitutional arrangement of states however, established a relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government. This mostly depends on the system of government practiced in that particular country. The most fundamental differences between the various systems of government therefore lie in the relationship between the executive and the legislature. According to Andrew Heywood (2002:313), the executive-legislative a relations in everystate more commonly conform to one of three institutional arrangements: ParliamentaryPresidential, and Hybrid system of government. In an attempt to explain these systems ofgovernment, Heywood explain the parliamentary system as “one in which the governmentgoverns in and through the Assembly or Parliament, thereby fusing the legislative andexecutive branches.” He emphasized that the central feature of this system is a fusion oflegislative and executive powers. 19
  20. 20. J/C. Johari (2009:494) also shared the same view with Haywood but added that under theparliamentary system, “parliament has the upper hand because it has the ultimate power:the ability to remove the government”The principal alternative to the parliamentary system according to Haywood (ibid, 315) isthe presidential system of government. The presidential system to him is based on the strictapplication of the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive and thelegislature. This ensures that the two are formally independent from one another andseparately elected.J.C. Johari also emphasized that the essential feature of this system is a separation of thelegislature from the executive. To him, this system does not allow the president and hisministers to become members of the legislature. He maintained that in case the presidentappoints someone as a minister who is also a member of the legislature, he will have toresign his legislative membership before accepting the ministerial assignment.According to Haywood and Johari, states either adopts the presidential system as practicedin the United States or the parliamentary system as practiced in Britain. However, othersalso practice a mixture of both the presidential and parliamentary systems as it is in Franceand Ghana. Here there is an elected president who can appoint some of his ministers fromthe legislature without them resigning their legislative membership. This system is mostlyknown as the hybrid system.2.2 STUDIES ON THE LEGISLATUREA lot of studies have been undertaken on the legislature. A contemporary comparativepolitics series edited by Joseph LaPalombara, offer a comparative perspective of legislatureacross the globe, the work is fundamentally devoted to what legislatures can do and cannotdo what they can do best and under what conditions these achievements can occur. 20
  21. 21. Andrew Heywood explores legislatures from a theoretical point of view. He is of theconsidered view that legislators are often treated with special respect and status as thepublic and even democratic face of government. He continues with the definitions of thelegislature and identifies some of the functions of the legislature which include; legislationrepresentation, scrutiny, political recruitment and legitimacy (Heywood 2002: 216-219). Hefurther discusses the structure of parliament and the committee system. He concluded that,legislatures seem to be on decline largely because of the emergence of disciplined politicalparties, the growth of big government, organizational weaknesses of legislature and the riseof interest groups and the media power. This study is very instructive as the theoreticalgrounding of our study relies extensively on it.The work of Jackson and Jackson on the legislature was brief but very authoritative. Theyaffirm the importance of legislature and assert that in democracies, these bodies consist ofrepresentatives who govern on behalf of the people (Jackson and Jackson 1997:243).Jackson and Jackson identify some functions of legislatures such as law making, the powerto raise taxes, helping to elect a government and teaching and informing the public (Jacksonand Jackson 1997: 244-246).The study also touched on the organization of legislatures by explaining the twofundamental houses of legislature and reasons for their adoption. Their study also indicatesthat the internal rules for deliberations in legislatures are important in the determination ofmember‟s activities and their effectiveness. The study mentions the committee system, thespeaker and other bodies of the house which help the institution to function effectively(Jackson and Jackson 1997:248-250). 21
  22. 22. They conclude, by discussing the relationship between the executive and the legislaturewhich they believe is very crucial to the way a political system works. They consider twomain opposing schools of thought on this topic. One school of thought has it thatlegislatures have declined over time and thus allowed executives to become more powerfulin the policy process. This position is countered by the position that there never was aperiod when the legislature dominated executives; legislative institutions have always beenrelatively weak.The relationship between the executive and the legislature is of paramount importance toour study. The conclusion we draw on this is that this asymmetrical relationship hasundermined the performance of the legislature.The work of J. Blondel describes the legislature as one institution of governments thatposes the most fascinating problem. Legislatures continue to be the most revered, the mosthoped for and often the least successful institution in contemporary governments. (Blondel1973: 2). He maintains that legislatures are considered as mere puppets, exercising littleinfluence over policy-making. He also opines that even though legislatures are expected topromote liberalism and democracy, they have not been successful in that endeavour.(Blondel 1973: 3).Among the other issues dealt with by the study are the constraints of legislature,constitutional framework of powers and the role of legislature on policies of immediateimportance which relate to the generation of new ideas and the control of output ofadministration and government (Blondel 1973:104) 22
  23. 23. On the functions of the legislature, Blondel is of the views that, legislatures serve asintermediaries for demands made by others or may themselves serve as originators ofsuggestions. In relation to output of the political system, it will ran from very detailed togeneral, they often result from initiatives of members or triggered by constituent andinterests. (Blondel 1973: 16-17).He concludes that even though there is an exaggerated view of the importance of thelegislature, they still remain very influential in countries where they were originally createdand elsewhere than is usually claimed (Blondel, 1973: 133)The study offers a general overview of legislature in a comparative basis. It also providessome useful insights into the functions of legislatures.The work of Godwin and Wahlke was on forms of government. They specifically discussparliamentary and presidential system and also focus on the responsibility and dissolutionof parliament. They dilate on the institutional framework of legislatures like legislativecompetence, the number of chambers, rule of procedure, and the authority and leadershipstructure. The committee system is also discussed (Godwin and Wahlke 1997: 218-224).Legislative processes such as initiative, deliberation and enactment are elaborated. Onelegislative performance, the study identifies representation as a very crucial function of thelegislature.They maintain that many people believe that a representative‟s first obligation is to protectthe interests of the home district and to base actions on the opinion of constituents(Godwin and Wahlke 1997:229). They further mention oversight and control over theexecutive, community service, recruitment of political elites some symbolic functions such 23
  24. 24. as the oath of office and promising to uphold the constitution and preserve the welfare ofthe entire country. (Godwin and Wahlke 1997: 252).Although the oversight responsibility of the legislature over the executive was notelaborated much in their work, it is however, crucial to our study.2.3 HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE LEGISLATURE IN GHANALegislative power was fist exercised in the Gold Coast during the reign of Queen Victoria(1837-1901). (Boafo-Arthur 2005:121). During the period of 1850-1865, the Gold Coasthad a district legislative council consisted of the Governor and at least two other personsdesigned by royal Instructions. Apart from the legislature body, the Gold Coast also had anExecutive Council. The legislative and Executive council were responsible for policymaking and implementation. (Ayensu and Darkwa 1999:16). To them the legislative councilwas specifically required to make all laws, institutions and ordinances as may from time totime be necessary for the peace, order and good governance in the Gold Coast which wassubjected to rules and regulations made by Order in Council. They maintained thatGhanaians were under-represented in both the legislative and executive councils. What waseven worse according to Ayensu and Darkwa was that both councils were mere advisoryones and therefore their decisions were not binding on the Governor of the Gold Coast.According to Alabi (1998:9), under the British rule the first elections into the legislativecouncil took place under the 1925 Guggisberg Constitution. Nine out of the thirty memberswho constituted the legislative council were Ghanaians. This gave room to the people toimpact on policies and programmes that affected their lives. 24
  25. 25. According to Ayensu and Darkwa “legislative authority of Ghana has been vested in parliament which has exercised it in varying degree since independence in 1957”. (Ayensu and Darkwa 1999:122) Aye is of the View that “Ghana has experimented with various types of governments: “Westminster” model of parliamentary government (1957-1960 and 1969-1972); one-party dictatorship (1960-1966); military dictatorship (1966-1969; 1972-1979 and 1981-1993); United States‟ model of separation of powers (1979-1981) and Fourth Republic constitution (1992 to date) which is a combination of Westminster type and the American Presidential model” (Aye 2005:91)In all these duly elected constitutional governments (1957-1960; 1969-1972; 1979-1981 and1991-date), Aye maintained that legislative authority of the state has resided in the NationalAssembly elected on the competitive basis. A prime minister or President for theWestminster and American models either headed the government. In the case of theWestminster model both the Prime Minister and other Ministers were members ofparliament whereas in the presidential system there was a strict separation of powers (at leastin terms of personnel) between the executive and legislature- the president and the ministersare not members of the legislative body and do not take part in its proceedings.Ghana followed the Westminster type of democracy at independence in 1957 with a liberaldemocratic constitution and all its trappings such as opposition parties, guarantees of civilliberties and an independent judiciary. In 1960 the country became a Republic and four years(1964) later the constitution of the First Republic was amended and replaced with a oneparty state with substantial legislative powers to the president. Although the traditionallegislative and oversight role of the then parliament was not taken away, it was virtuallyineffective in checking the activities of the executive. 25
  26. 26. While few members of the House were able to express the concerns of the electorate andmade attempts to check the activities of the executive, the majority of them tended to agreeto whatever policies and programs the executive initiated.The 1969 constitution of the Second Republic of Ghana re-introduced multi-partydemocracy in Ghana with a more vibrant Parliament. Unfortunately, the constitution wasoverthrown in over two years of its existence. The next constitutional attempt was made in1979 with late Dr. Hilla Lima as the president. Again, within two and half years of itsexistence the constitution was suspended and parliament dissolved. Thus between 1972 and1979, Ghana was ruled by a succession of military officers National Redemption Council(NRC), Supreme Military Council (SMC) I and II) and June 1979 by the Arm ForcesRevolutionary Council (AFRC), headed by Flight Lieutenant J.J Rawlings. BetweenDecember, 1981 and January 6, 1991 the country was again ruled by military dictatorshipunder the Provisional National Defence council (PNDC)2.4 PARLIAMENT OF THE FOURTH REPUBLICThe work of Ayensu and Darkwa offer a panoramic view of the evolution and developmentof parliamentary practice in Ghana. They started with the Bond of 1844 and the beginningof the exercise of legislative authority in the Gold Coast up to the second parliament of thefourth Republic. Their work was motivated by the fact that the decisions of parliamentaffect the lives of everybody in Ghana. It is therefore very important for people and MPs toappreciate the history and the workings of the institution. While offering the overview ofparliaments in Ghana, they also explained that most of them could not live theirconstitutional mandated term, largely because of military adventurism. 26
  27. 27. There is also a discussion of the activities of the big six and the various phases ofconstitutional development in the country. Their work highlights the various parliamentsfrom 1957 through to the fourth republic.They maintained that the First Parliament of the First Republic (1960-1965) and the firstparliament of the fourth republic (1993-1997) completed their statutory terms of office(Ayensu and Darkwa 1999: 148). The life of the Independence Parliament of 1957 was cutshort by the nations overwhelming desire to become a republic. The second Parliament ofthe first republic and the parliament of the second and third republics had their termsterminated by military interventions.In concluding their work Ayensu and Darkwa (1999) shed light on the development of thecommittee system, which they maintained has being a common feature of most ourrepublican parliaments. They explained that the committee system enables parliament toscrutinize bills brought before them. Their work is very authoritative in that it provideselaborate information on parliaments in Ghana. This would enable us examine the fourthrepublican parliament very effectively.A Guide to Parliament of Ghana is a handbook prepared by the Parliament of Ghana. Thebook has given a brief outlook of the Parliaments of Ghana. It tries to compare the variousparliaments and bring out some peculiar features of each. The work however concentrate onthe fourth republic, pointing out the basic features of these parliaments include, multi-partysystem, hybrid system, role in governance, representation, and oversight (Parliament ofGhana 2004 :14). The book also gives an overview of the evolution of the legislature inGhana. 27
  28. 28. The structure of the fourth republican parliament, areas like composition, qualification ofMPs, declaration of vacancy and seating arrangement of parliament had all been examined inthe guide. The Parliamentary Guide also identifies the functions of parliament as legislative,financial, oversight of the executive, representational and deliberative. It concludes with adiscussion on functionaries and parliamentary service and their role in effectively managingthe affairs of parliament. The oversight role of parliament discussed in the work would bevery helpful because it is very keen in this research.Boafo-Arthur (2005) takes a view of Ghana‟s parliamentary practices for the past 150 years.He tackles the struggle of local elites for greater representation and how they are governed.He also covers the period between 1957 and 1992, where the legislature went throughseveral mutations. He gave the structure of the fourth republican parliament focusing on theofficers of the house and the composition of parliament from 1993 to 2005.On the functions of parliament, Boafo-Arthur (2005) states that parliament embodies thewill of the people because parliamentarians who represent 230 constituencies of the countrytry to highlight the developmental needs of their constituents. He also identified law making,control of the public fund, the exercise of oversight over the executive and the vetting ofnominees to fill ministerial and other important positions as other functions of parliament.He concludes that “a strengthened parliament with functional committee system, to a largeextent, holds the key to national efforts to ensure governmental accountability, transparencyand democratic consolidation”. Boafo-Arthur, 2005:140) In a presentation by Regina Oforiwaa Amanfo (Program Officer of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development), on African Legislatures specifically the case of Ghana, she was 28
  29. 29. of the view that, the current Parliament of Ghana was established by Article 93 of the 1992constitution. The body is vested with legislative powers of the state, which is exercised inaccordance with the constitution. The legislative power is exercised by passing of billswhich is later assented by the president to become laws. The tenure of each parliament isfour years and there is no restriction on the number of times an individual can seek re-election.In terms of the structure of parliament, Regina identified that, at the apex of the parliamentestablished by the 1992 constitution are the speaker and two Deputies (first and seconddeputy Speaker). The next on the ladder is the Majority Leader, the Whip of the variousparties and backbenchers. There are specific rules and procedures governing the activitiesof the House. For instance, no debate can take place in the floor of the house unless amember moves it. She added also that, the parliament is a unicameral legislature with atleast 140 elected member as stipulated in the constitution. The first three Parliament of thefourth republic consisted of 200 members elected once every four years, from 200 single-member constituencies instrument 2004, CI 41, the membership of parliament increasedto230 from January 2005.To her, the parliament of Ghana like any other parliament of the world over, performsthree important functions namely representation, legislation and oversight. She maintainedthat parliament‟s representative mandate involves identifying the needs of its constituent,the citizens of Ghana, and reflecting them their needs in its deliberation, legislative andoversight roles. She added that parliament is responsible for the oversight of the executive,its actions and spending. She maintains that, parliament needs constant access toinformation on the activities of the executive branch. She is also of the view that parliament 29
  30. 30. fulfills its legislative functions through the creation and passage of bills, and scrutinizingexisting statutory instruments and evaluating when and how they should be applied.To effectively exercise these functions, the institution of parliament is composed of 230elected members and is headed by a speaker on the first day of the life of each parliamentaccording to Regina. She added that the speaker is assisted by two deputy speakers who bypractice and convention are expected to come from a different political parties for the sakeof preserving a balance of power within parliament. The work by Aye is a reflection on government, politics and development of Ghana in fifty years of independence. He generally examined the atmosphere of governance after independence and the development that have taken place in Ghana as an independent state. Looking at government specifically on the role of the legislature, Aye maintained that, generally the legislature performs a number of functions and this may include; representative role. He is of the view that the legislatures represent the interest of at least some or all social class in the state. Aye believe that, although the legislature performs other functions such as law making, vetting and approving government nominees and so on, crucial to these is to keep the bridle on king, which is to limit abuse of power by the executive. He added that the “legislature both in parliamentary and presidential systems have power to keep tabs on the executive branch and its agencies” (Aye 2007:89) this to him is normally done through the use of „question time‟, the power to impeach the president for gross misconduct and other act which have the tendency of bringing the office of the president into disrepute and the power of the purse. 30
  31. 31. 2.4 FACTORS THAT MILITATE AGAINST PARLIAMENT OF THE FOURTH REPUBLICA number of studies have being conducted on parliament of Ghana especially under theFourth Republic. However, three major works would be reviewed. One of such works is byH. Kwasi Prempeh. His work is a review of the relationship that exists between parliamentand the executive under the 1992 Constitution. He maintained that “the legislature has failedto overcome executive dominance and to undertake its functions effectively within theframework of the 1992 Constitution” (Prempeh 2003:4). According to him, of the threearms of government, parliament has had the most discontinuous and punctuated existence inGhana‟s history. Unlike the judiciary and the administrative machinery of the state that havealways survived the forced overthrow of constituted authority in Ghana, there was noparliament to speak of 1966 to 1969, 1972 and 1979, and 1982 to 1993. To him, thisinstitutional discontinuity has retarded the smooth and consistent development of aparliamentary tradition in Ghana. Consequently, the parliament of the fourth Republicstarted the ongoing transition to constitutional democracy with the most institutional deficitof all the three branches of government.He added that, the parliament of the fourth republic started its life facing a crisis oflegitimacy. The fist parliament was a de facto one party parliament since the opposition partyboycotted the parliamentary election. All the candidates put forth by the NationalDemocratic Congress (NDC) won by default.Prempeh focus specifically on Articles 78 and 108 of the 1992 Constitution which requirethe President to appoint majority of ministers from among MPs and where parliament isforbidden from proceeding on bills or motions regarding taxation, payment or withdrawalfrom the consolidated fund that does not come from the President respectively. 31
  32. 32. To him, “given the superior attractiveness of ministerial positions, Article 78 helps to divertthe interest and ambitions of MPs away from their role as legislators and towards theExecutive. Election as a Member of Parliament has become for many MPs, merely a way ofenhancing their chances of making into the President pool of ministers. And once theirministerial ambitions have been satisfied, MPs generally pay little attention to their role aslegislators” (ibid: 9).He added that what make article 78 more problematic is the absence of ceiling on thepresident‟s ministerial appointment. To him this does not promote effective checks andbalances and horizontal accountability to ensure good governance. He also believes thatArticle 108 essentially reduces parliament to a law passing instead of law making. Second, itdenies parliament institutional autonomy in determining the level of funding that it needs tocarry on with its work. Parliament budget is subject to item by item control by the ministryof Finance.He added that, it is not surprising that parliament has persistently lacked the resources andcapacity to perform its work. Partisanship is also another factor indicated by Prempeh ascontributing to parliamentary ineffectiveness. He thinks parliament of the fourth republichas failed to speak with a collective voice and to take resolute action to stem abuse,corruption, inefficiency and waste in the public half of the national economy. Prempehhowever, hold the view that parliament‟s ineffectiveness cannot all be blamed on theconstitution or partisanship. In certain instances, legislative lethargy appears to be moreappropriate culprit. He thinks although parliamentarians have the constitutional mandate tointroduce a “private member bill”, yet for the past years parliament has not enacted suchlegislations require by the constitution. 32
  33. 33. The standing orders of parliament according to Prempeh also hamper its institutionaleffectiveness. Parliament‟s standing orders give little initiative or scope to parliamentarycommittee, caucuses, or individuals members to trigger investigations or inquire into mattersof public concern. Only the full house can initiate committee investigations, this means thatthe party with majority in parliament can always veto any attempt to initiate investigationinto allegation into of scandal and other cases of executive malfeasances.Parliamentary committee system was also examined in his work and maintained thateffective parliamentary committees promote good governance in many respects. He addedthat, if parliament appears to be weak vis-á-vis the executive it because it was designedconstitutionally to be so. He therefore concluded that, indeed requiring, the president to usehis patronage power to co-opt MPs to the executive side of government only serve toemasculate parliament thereby entrenches the culture of executive hegemony in Ghana. Therelationship between the executive and parliament to him is however crucial to enhancegood governance and consolidate democracy.Another important work on the Fourth Republic parliament is “Refection on theeffectiveness of the parliament of the fourth republic of Ghana by Peter Ala-Adjettey. Hebegan his work by examining the legislative council under colonial rule through toindependence. He continued with parliament from the independent constitution to thefourth republic. To him “legislative competence of the Parliament of Ghana since 1969 hasbeen subject to limitation imposed by the constitution themselves” (Ala-Adjettey 2006: 16).Focusing his work on the Fourth Republic parliament, as a former speaker of parliament heshared the same view with Kwasi Prempeh. He however added that article 108 of theconstitution “by one stroke of pen has taken away from parliament one of its mostimportant weapon or tool for securing control over or compliance by the executive, namely 33
  34. 34. what has been described as „the power of the purse‟. (Ala-Adjettey 2006:17). By prohibitingparliament from debating matters involving the raising of taxation or increases in the rate oftaxation or increase in the level of expenditure, parliament has been denied the use ofweapon which can bring a recalcitrant executive to heel.” To him the people‟srepresentatives are effectively prevented from having their way in matters that vitality affectsthe people. He however concluded his work that, looking at the constitutional history of thiscountry parliamentary supremacy can be dangerous tool in the hands of supine parliamentand a determined president. However, parliament should be clothed with sufficientindependence to enable it exercise oversight control of the executive.The work Staffan I. Lindberg examines the rise and decline of Parliament of Ghana. Heagreed with Prempeh that parliament of the fourth republic started its life facing the crisis oflegitimacy. The opposition NPP boycotted the parliamentary election nationwide after theircomplaints of voting rigging in the 1992 presidential ballot. As a result, the first parliamentof the fourth republic was a defacto one party parliament, as nearly all the candidate putforth by the NDC won the seats by default. Out of the 200 seats contested the NDC won189 representing 94.5% National Convention Party had 8 representing 4.0%, Eagle Partypulled 1 representing 0.5% and 2 seats representing 1.0% going to independent andcandidates shared the 11 remaining seats representing 5.5%. The NPP which was thestrongest opposition party had no seat in parliament. This outcome weakened therepresentativeness and the credibility of parliament during the first four years of the fourthrepublic.To him the second parliament of the fourth Republic presented amore balance situation asthe opposition parties contested the elections and posed some impressive results. 34
  35. 35. For Staffan, although the first parliament (1993-1997) was often seen as a “rubber stampparliament”, MPs made significant impact on many of the bills introduced by PresidentRawlings government. Despite being essentially one-party parliament, the first parliamentnevertheless managed to have four out of 88 bills (4.5 percent) withdrawn by the executive.(Staffan 2003:8). Staffan also maintains that, in the second parliament, influence overlegislation was further pronounced with 14bills out of a total of 78 (18 percent) withdrawn.Notwithstanding the impressive performance put forth by the Fourth Republic Parliament inthe area of legislation, parliaments under the fourth republic are still coupled with a lot ofchallenges. Staffan agreed with both Prempeh and Ala-Adjettey on the constitutionalprovision that allows MPs to double as ministers as one of the major challenges ofparliament. To him, the effect of this is felt directly in parliament as those MPs who doubleas ministers spend less time in the legislature.He also believed that parliament power to obstruct-cum-control the president‟s politicalagenda is circumvented by Article 108 preventing parliament from proceeding on anylegislative initiative that would incur budget or tax increase unless such initiative comes fromthe executive.2.5. REVIEW SUMMARY AND EVALUATIONS.From the above literature review it is very clear that, of all the formal institutions ofgovernment, the legislature plays a very important role in promoting checks and balances inany political system. In Ghana for instance, unlike the judiciary that must wait for aggrievedplaintiffs to bring justifiable cases before it, parliament can act on its own initiative toinvestigate any issue of public interest imaginable issues like corruption, mismanagement ofstate enterprises, ministerial abuse of power, and government profligacy. 35
  36. 36. The review above has looked at the various views hold by different authorities on thelegislature in Ghana and legislatures in general. They content that, legislature are of vitalimportance in democracies because it is through the legislature that citizens are represented.Many of the authors were of the view that, legislatures are sometimes faced with somechallenges in the performance of their constitutional duties. In the case of Ghana, theauthors were of the view that, there are certain constitutional provisions that militate againstthe work of the legislature. Others believe that instead of parliament to use its institutionalpowers to check the executive, parliament has stood by like a spectator while report uponreport has carried stories and anecdotal evidence of waste, corruption, self-dealing and ultravires transaction at a number of taxpayer-funded entities. Some authors contend thatparliament of Ghana has failed to show bold and timely initiatives in its quest to serve as acheck on the executive under this fourth republic.Based on this theoretical analysis about the Ghanaian Legislature, what is left now is actuallyto examine the situation on the ground. This is the purpose of the research work. 36
  37. 37. REFERENCES1. Andrew Haywood (2002) Politics, Second Edition. Macmillan Publication: London (Pp:216-219,313,315)2. Alabi Niyi (1998) Parliamentary Democracy in West Africa. Friedrich Ebert Foundation: Accra. Ghana.(p:9)3. J.C Johari (1982) Comparative Politics. Sterling Publishes Limited, New Delhi India.(P:494)4. Jackson Robert and Doreen Jackson (1997) A comparative Introduced to Political Science. Prentice Hall Publication: New Jersey. (244-246,248-250)5. Blondel J. (1973) Comparative Legislature. Prentice Hall Publication: New Jersey. (Pp:2,3,16-17,133)6. Godwin Kenneth and Walhlke (1997) Introduction to Political Science. Harcourt Brace: New York. (Pp 218,224,29)7. K.B. Ayensu and S.N Darkwa (199), Evolution of Parliament in Ghana. Institute of Economic Affairs Publication. Accra: Ghana. (Pp.160, 148) 37
  38. 38. 8. Ghana Parliament (2004) A Guide to the Parliament of Ghana. Parliament of Ghana Publication. Accra. (P;14)9. Boafa-Arthur K. (2005) “Longitudinal View on Ghana’s Parliamentary Practices” in Salih Mohammed M.A (Ed), African Parliaments between Governance and Government. Palgrave Macmillan Publication. New York. (P:140)10. H. Kwasi Prempeh (2003), Executive Legislature Relationship Under the 1992 Constitution: A Critical Review. CDD Publication Accra, Ghana, September 2003. Critical Perspective number 15. (Pp:4,5)11. Peter Ala-Adjettey (2006). Reflection on the Effectiveness of the Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. CDD Publication, Accra: Ghana. (Pp.16,17)12. Staffan I. Linberg (2003). The Rise and Decline of Parliament of Ghana. Center for Africa Studies. University of Florida. (P:8)13. Ayee R.A.Joseph (2007), Ghana at 50: Government, Politics and Development. University of Ghana Publication, (Legon), Accra, Ghana (77,88)14. Regina Oforiwa Amanfo (2007) A paper presented on Africa Legislatures Project conference o Africa Legislature; Integrating Research and Policy (the case of Ghanaian Parliament) CDD Publication, Accra: Ghana (P:2)15. Bealey F. Chapman and R.A. Sheehan (1999), Element in Political Science. Edinburgh University Press; Edinburgh (P:99)16. Mclean Latin (1996), Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics. Oxford University Press;(P; 280) 38
  39. 39. CHAPTER THREE DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS3.1 INTRODUCTION.This chapter deals with the presentation and analysis of data collected on the study.Questionnaire was the main technique employed in collecting data. The questionnaires werepersonally administered to the respondents by researchers.As mentioned in the chapter one, bar charts and pie charts have been used in presenting andanalyzing the data, through the use of the Statistical Package for Social Science.3.2 .0 SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF RESPONDENTS.3.2.1 Respondents’ Gender In order to ensure a fair gender representation, both males and females were consciously selected as respondents. Out of the one hundred and twenty respondents selected, 75 were males representing 62.5% and the remaining 45 were females representing 37.5%. 39
  40. 40. This is illustrated in the figure below. 37.5% 62.5%3.2.2 Category of Age Groups of Respondents.For purposes of effective data collection, the research defined three ranges of age groups.Respondents ageing from 18-30years constituted 46.7%. Those from 31- 45years alsoconstituted 34.2% the respondents. The remaining 19.1% was composed of those ageingfrom 46years and above. The above statistics indicates clearly that majority of the respondents fall within the ages of18-30years. 40
  41. 41. 46.7% 34.2% 19.1%3.2.3 Educational level of Respondents.All the one hundred and twenty respondents selected had attained formal education. Out ofthat 7.5% had basic education and 29.2% also had secondary education. The remaining63.3% were those who had either completed their tertiary education or were still at tertiaryinstitutions. 41
  42. 42. 63.3% 29.2% 7.5%3.2.4 Respondents OccupationThe occupation of respondents is categorized into four sectors after coding. 34.2 percentwere made up of public servants who composed of Members of Parliament and Staffs ofParliament who were purposively selected. 22.5 percent made up of civil servants, Studentswere made up of 20.8 percent and 15.0percent were also self employed. 7.5 percent wereunemployed. 42
  43. 43. 20.8% 34.2% 7.5% 15.0% 22.5%ANALYSIS OF FIELD INFORMATION3.3 General Performance of Parliament.This section of the research sought to assess the general performance of Parliament. Theoverall performance is perceived to have improved steadily. Responding to the generalperformance of Parliament, the elite respondents rated Parliament very high. However, theywere of the view that there is more room for improvement. 69.2 percent of the respondentsperceived the general performance of Parliament to be good. 18.3 percent of this segment ofrespondents felt satisfied with Parliament general performance and rated parliament verygood. The general performance of Parliament was rated poor by 12.5 percent of therespondents who were mostly composed of the mass respondents. 43
  44. 44. 69.2% 18.3% 12.5%3.4 Parliament Serving as a Check on the Executive.In assessing Parliament on its role of serving as a check on the executive, many ofrespondent believed parliament had not perform to their satisfaction. 60.8 percent of therespondent were of the view that parliament is ineffective in the area of its oversight role onthe executive. However, 39.2 percent of the respondents were also of a different view thatparliament is effective in that regard. 44
  45. 45. 39.2% 60.8%3.5 Ensuring Financial Accountability of the Executive by Parliament.Of prime importance in democratic governance is promotion of executive accountability.Parliament serves a vital link in the chain of accontability between government and thecitizens. On effecctiveness of Parliament in this area, majority respondents of 50.0 percentrated parliament poor. Majority of the elite respondents were diassastisfied in this regard.On the contrary, 25.8 percent of the respondents were satified with the work of parliament.20.0 percent of this segment of respondent rated parliament good whilst the remaining 5.8percent also rated the work of parliament in this regard very good. A good number of24.2% of the respondents rated the work of parliament in ensuring financial accountabilityof the executive very poor. To them the high incidence of corruption allegations againstformer ministers is an indication of parliament‟s ineffectiveness of ensuring financialaccountability. They added that parliament had allow the Excutive to spend state funds fortheir own private gains without any proper checks by parliament. A study by CDD alsorevealed that, the overall performance of parliament in this area is less than satisfactory. 45
  46. 46. Many Ghanaians believe parliament is not doing any good job in the area of ensuringfinancial accountability of the executive. 50.0% 24.2% 20.0% 5.8%3.6 Facilities at Office of Parliament.For parliament to function effectively as an institution there is the need for adequatefacilities for both MPs and Parliamentary Staffs‟ In responds to indicate a simple Yes ∕Nowhether the office of parliament had been well equipped for effective performance, 43.3 %of the respondents indicated Yes whilst the remaining 56.7% were for No. Many of therespondents at the office of parliament responded no to this question. A chart with some ofthe staff at parliament revealed that, most of them are accommodated in small shells which 46
  47. 47. are mostly overcrowded due to their number. This to them, affect effective discharge oftheir duties 56.7% 43.3%3.6 Assessment of Office Facilities for MPs and Select Committees of Parliament.In assessing office facilities for MPs and Select Committees of Parliament, 28.3 percent ofthe respondents indicated adequate whilst the remaining 71.7 percent also indicatedinadequate. A visit to parliament by researchers attested to the fact that only the leadershipof both the majority and the minority has offices to operate. Reactions from some MPs tothis question also revealed that most of the Parliamentary Select Committees attend theirmeetings in the conference rooms of some ministries outside parliament. This results to thelateness of some MPs to parliamentary proceedings. Others may even stay out of parliamentfor committee work. Other committee meetings which are organized within parliament aremostly done in the open. As a result certain issues are not objectively discussed by 47
  48. 48. committee members due to the presence of the press. Others also shared the view that,parliament‟s power is mainly derived from the formal provisions of the constitution withoutthe political and material means for actualizing it. 71.7% 28.3% 48
  49. 49. 3.7 Opinion on whether lack of Offices for MPs Affect the work of Parliament.Having identified lack of offices for MPs as one of the major challenges of Parliament, adifferent stage was then set to find out if that contribute to the inefficiency of Parliament.Responding to a Yes and No question, 60.8 percent of the one hundred and twentyrespondents admitted that lack of offices for MPS also contribute to the administrativeinefficiency of Parliament, as against 13.3 percent who said No. However, 5.9 percent of therespondents left the question unanswered. A further probing into this question from theMPs themselves revealed that most of them operate from their car boots where all relevantdocuments are kept. To them this does not ensure effective performance asparliamentarians. Although, they have research assistance to assist them in their work, theylack the facilities to enable them do their work effectively. 5.9% 33.3% 60.8% 49
  50. 50. 3.8 Assessment of Presidential Powers over Parliament.Another key area that has raised concerns on the ineffective of the Ghanaian Parliament isthe excessive powers of the President over Parliament. When respondents were askedwhether the office of the President has being vested with excessive powers over Parliament.An overwhelming majority of 79.2 percent responded yes to the question as against 20.8percent who indicated no. This result validate the notion that the 1992 Constitution grantsmore powers to the President then to Parliament which constitute the representatives ofGhanaians. 20.8% 79.2%3.9 Opinion on whether the Excessive Powers of the President weakens Parliament.A follow up question was asked as to whether parliament is affected by the excessive powersof the President. Although responses were different among respondents, those whoresponded yes maintained an overwhelming majority of 79.2 percent as against 13.3 percentof those who answered no. However, 7.5 percent recorded was unanswered. This resultauthenticates the notion of executive control of parliament. 50
  51. 51. 79.2% 13.3% 7.5%3.10 How the Excessive Powers of the President weakens Parliament.Respondents were asked to identify ways by which parliament is affected by the Powers ofthe President. With this, responses of respondents were centered on four key areas aftertheir answers have been coded. 25.8 percent of the respondents indicated that parliament hasbeen reduced to a rubber stamp with the kind of majoritarian parliamentary system practicein Ghana. To them because majority takes all when it comes to voting on the floor ofparliament, whenever the ruling party controls majority in parliament the President is able topush certain policies through parliament without any proper scrutiny by Parliament. 12.5percent of the respondents also indicated that parliamentary independence is affected by thepowers of the President. 51
  52. 52. fvcvmAmong the elite respondents some quoted Article 78 of the Constitution that allowsthe President to appoint majority of MPs as ministers as militating against parliamentaryindependence. To them this provision of the constitution is one of the means the executiveuses to dominate parliament. Some of them cited the case of the recent appointment of theentire leadership of the majority NDC Party in Parliament as ministers as a clear indicationof parliament being weaken by presidential powers. 39.2 percent were also of the view thatthe excessive powers of the president weaken parliament oversight powers on the executive.To them majority party in parliament for the past have always toe the line of the presidentbecause most of the MPs within the majority always aspire to be appointed by the Presidentas ministers. They therefore find it extremely difficult to come out objectively to criticize theactions and policies of the President. Some MPs attested to this and added that parliament ismandated to approve ministerial appointments through the activities of the AppointmentCommittee of Parliament, however, when it comes to firing or reshuffling ministers‟parliament is not consulted. Some further added that, although, the Public AccountsCommittee of Parliament has the powers of a high court to prosecute public officials whoare found guilty of corruption, the committee in practice had failed to exercise such powersover the years. The remaining 22.5 percent of the respondents were of the view that theexcessive powers of the president limit parliament‟s legislative powers. Although severalreasons were given to support their view, majority of them especially the elite respondentwere of the view that because the President can refuse to assent to bills passed by Parliamentto become laws, parliament had in a way been limited in its legislative powers. To themwhether a bill would become law or not, it lies in the hands of the President not Parliament.These responses affirm how parliament had been weakened by executive powers over theyears. 52
  53. 53. 39.2% 25.8% 22.5% 12.5%3.11. Why Parliament is Unable to perform its Oversight Role on the ExecutiveEffectively.One of the key responsibilities of parliament in every state is to serve as a watchdog on theactions and policies of the President and the entire executive arm of government. However,this seems to be ineffective in the case of the Ghanaian Parliament. This question thereforesought to know the views of respondents as to why parliament is unable to perform such atask effectively over the years. 52.5 percent of the respondents endorsed the fact that theexecutive specifically the President wields too much power over parliament and has 53
  54. 54. therefore cripple parliament in that regard. However, most of them explained with the samereasons as provided in figure 3.12. 24.2 percent were of the view that parliament isineffective in this regard because MPs double as ministers. They buttressed their view withthe fact that the moment someone is appointed as a ministers such a person is accountableto the President. Therefore, the moment an MP is appointed a minister automatically theperson become accountable to the president. It now becomes extremely difficult if notimpossible for an MP who doubles as a minister to check someone he or she is accountableto. MPs that double as ministers always toe the line of the President when an issue comes tothe floor of parliament. A staff of Parliament affirmed that the situation is even worse if anMP is appointed as a cabinet minister. Another important issue raised by 19.2 percent of therespondent is lack of office accommodation for MPs and Select Committees. This segmentof respondents were of the view that much of the oversight role of parliament is done at thecommittee level but sadly enough these committees are not well resourced in terms offacilities and finance.Victimization of MPs by the Executive was also recorded by 4.2 percent of the respondents.Among the mass public many were of the view that MPs are given certain packages to toethe line of the executive. However, if a Member of Parliament comes out public to revealsuch an act he or she is victimized. This has keep some of the MPs mute even when theyknow clearly that a decision being taken is not in the interest of the country. Some of themcited the case of the Member of Parliament for Odobeng Brakwa; Hon. P.C Appiah Ofori.These are clear indications that Parliament as one of the key institutions of the country existwith challenges which need greater attention of Ghanaians in order to consolidate ourdemocracy effectively. 54
  55. 55. 52.5% 24.2% 19.2% 4.2%3.12 How Parliament can be Strengthen to perform its oversight role.Having established these challenges and how disastrous they could be to our democracy interms of horizontal accountability between parliament and the executive, it was prudent tosolicit for the views of respondents on how best parliament can be made to perform itsoversight responsibilities effectively. Among the several options provided by respondents,Parliamentary independence recorded 51.7%. The mass publics were of the view that thehybrid system being practiced does not ensure horizontal accountability. Ministers of Statemust therefore be selected from outside parliament. Secret balloting doing parliamentaryproceedings was also identified by 12.5 percent of respondents. To them voting by headcount as done during parliamentary proceedings does not allow for objectivity on the part ofMPs. Some are influenced by the actions of their chief whips. 55
  56. 56. 18.3 percent were of the opinion that parliament should be well resourced in order to ensureeffectiveness. They believed parliament should be financially autonomous for it to be able tocarry out their oversight responsibility effectively. Some Members of Parliament were of theview that, financial autonomy of the legislature is guarantee by Article 179(2) of theconstitution and Act 460 of 1993 providing that the administrative and operational expensesof the Parliamentary Service are neither subject to budgetary review or control by theMinistry of Finance, but this autonomy has been compromised and parliamentary budgetshave being subjected to scrutiny by the Finance Ministry. 12.5 percent also believed thepartisan attitude of parliamentarians must also be avoided in order to ensure objective andeffective oversight. A study also by CDD suggested that one crucial means to enableparliament to effectively serve as a check on the executive is to get enough informationabout the activities of the executive. To them information is an important lubricant for everyinstitution, and more important for an institution charged with the responsibility oflawmaking and policy deliberation. 56
  57. 57. 51.7% 17.5% 18.3% 12.5% 57
  58. 58. CHAPTER FOUR SUMMARY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUTION4.0 RESEARCHERS MAIN FINDINGS.After we have been to the field to carry out the research, the following are our main findings. There is poor public awareness of what parliament does as an institution of the state. Some people do not even know the kind of relationship that exists between parliament and the executive. The overall performance of parliament had improved. Many Ghanaians think parliament is performing better today in its legislative functions then some year back. However, many are of the view that, the performance of parliament in terms of the effectiveness with which it carries out its oversight role on the executive has been low. The rationale for the provision that majority of ministers be picked from parliament was intended for them to inform parliament on its deliberation. However, the reality on the ground is different because those ministers see themselves more as members of the executive than as MPs and therefore compromising their independence. Both qualitative and quantitative data suggest that parliament had failed to overcome executive dominance and to undertake its oversight responsibilities on the executive effectively. Many of our respondents were of the view that because MPs double as ministers they are unable to be independent in order to exercise a check on the executive as parliamentarians. 58
  59. 59. The current Ghanaians political dispensation creates the attitude of partisanship in MPs who hope to be offered ministerial appointment. The excessive power of the President over Parliament is seen as one of the main source of parliamentary weakness Lack of offices for MPs also affects the performance of parliamentarians. There are constitutional constraints that also militate against parliament in its oversight role on the executive.4.1 RECOMMENDATIONS.The research findings reveal clearly that there are still more to be done for parliament to beable to exercise its constitutional checks effectively on the executive in order to achievehorizontal accountability between the legislature and the executive arms of government. Anumber of recommendations result from the study conducted. The implementation of theserecommendations would help strengthen the capacity of parliament to perform its oversightrole effectively on the executive. There should be effective public education on the work of parliament so that people can understand how parliament works and what they should expect from it. Ghanaians should be educated to understand how they are governed. Good governance practices that promote complementary rather than partisan and conflicting relationship between the three main institutions of government in the performance of their functions should be adopted Institutional network that promote greater interaction, collaboration, communication and consensus building between the organs of government on: setting national 59
  60. 60. priorities, determining resource allocation and regular appraisal based on agreeindicators should be establishedInfrastructural and resources capacity of parliament must be improvedVoting by head count in parliament must be replaced by secret balloting in order toenhance independence of voting and thereby reduce partisan approach to thebusiness of parliamentThe need to strengthen the committee system. In order to reduce the executivedominance of parliament and to strengthen the oversight functions of the legislature,members other than from the ruling party should chair committees of parliament.In order to make parliament more relevant and eradicate the perception ofparliament as a mere approving body, a mechanism should be put in place to involveparliament in the process of policy initiation at very early stages to enable it prioritizeand influence allocation of resources and not just wait to be given completed policiesthat require ordinary approval.Parliament should be strengthened to have necessary independence to do its work.This will require the development of a national vision and strategic plan forparliament as an institution; identification and adoption of best practice norms tofoster the insulation of key national issue from excessive partisanship and thedevelopment of consensus based decision making in parliament.In order for parliament to effectively carry out its oversight functions effectively it isimportant for parliament to keep the executive at arm length so that it can moreeffectively perform the oversight function. 60
  61. 61. 4.2 CONCLUSIONIt is a little disappointing that one of Africa‟s most successful cases of democratization has aparliament that does not seem as potent as a democratic institution as the country deserveslooking at the overall situation for democracy. It is not unique, however, that a youngdemocracy experience a period of executive dominance. Executive branches of governmentafter all generally seek to extend their influence beyond their bounds not only in emergingdemocracies but also in established ones. Known in Latin American politics as the lack ofstrong horizontal accountability (O‟ Donnell 1998), this phenomenon is expressing itself invarious ways in Africa.The Parliament of Ghana since its inception in has not been able to enjoy all the necessaryorganizational resources that will enable it perform it oversight, representation and legislativefunctions. The history of Parliament in Ghana has been tumultuous; but, the overallperformance of the Ghanaian Parliament has been better than before. However, quantitativedata suggest that parliament has failed to overcome executive dominance and to undertakeits functions effectively within the framework of the 1992 Constitution.The major challenges that weaken Parliament in the Fourth Republic include; domination ofparliament by the executive in the current political environment, the constitutionallymandated selection of Ministers of State from among MPs, frequent voting by head countrather than by secret balloting, weak infrastructural and resource base and the excessivepowers of the president over parliament. The organizational resources are necessary for theeffective performance of parliament, and therefore Parliament must exert itself to ensure it isguaranteed financial autonomy and the resource to carry out all its activities. MPs should 61
  62. 62. have well equipped offices both in Parliament and their various constituencies, capable,competent and professional staff to assist MPs and Parliament in their assigned roles. TheParliamentary Committees should also have well equipped meeting rooms to facilitate theirinvestigative and oversight roles.However, improved infrastructural and resource base of parliament is not enough to alterthe situation. There would still be significant obstacles to the ideal operation of theGhanaian Parliament even if these constraints are removed. For parliament to fulfill itsduties, a very fundamental issue must be resolved, namely the constitutional right of thePresident to appoint a large number of appointees of the executive wing of governmentfrom parliament so as to achieve an effective separation of power between Parliament andthe Executive. More so the present state of affairs where parliament has to depend almostentirely on the executive for funds to provide its functioning and the constitutional right ofthe president to determine the salaries and other allowances of Members of Parliament. Allthese constraints tend to derogate substantially from the effectiveness of Parliament.For the Parliament of Ghana to be truly independent and function well as an autonomousarm of government, Ghana must re-evaluate the 1992 Constitution which shapes Parliamentas an institution. 62
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  67. 67. APPENDIX A STATISTICAL SUMMARY OF FINDINGS.Figure 3.1: Respondents Gender Cumulative Frequency Percent Valid Percent PercentValid Male 75 62.5 62.5 62.5 Female 45 37.5 37.5 100.0 Total 120 100.0 100.0Figure 3.2: Respondents Age 67