President John Mahama is asking aspiring Members of Parliament in Ghana and other parts of Africa to make realistic promises during electioneering campaigns.
He also wants the MPs to make a conscious effort in educating the public about the specific role legislators play in order to put an end to demands on the MPs by the electorates.
Addressing representatives of the Africa Regional Commonwealth Speakers Conference here in Accra, the president bemoaned the practice in which electorates depend on MPs for their livelihood.
“One of the increasingly worrying developments in Africa is the misconception of the role of the MP. This has led to worsening public pressure on the Parliamentarians to directly provide public goods and services for their constituents as well as meet the personal needs of individuals.
“This puts MPs under severe strain and has the potential of putting their integrity to the test,” the president said.
Outlining the core functions of the MP, the president said the parliamentarians must first represent their constituents in Parliament, contribute to debates on the floor and act as agents of change.
“Unfortunately demands for monies for school fees, fuels for weddings, place the MP in a precarious situation,” he said.
He admitted though that the MPs are partly to blame for the situation because they have not well articulated their role to the public.
“During election campaigns promises must not be aimed at delivering heaven on earth. Promises must be realistic and realizable,” he pointed out.
The president who has a 12-year experience in Parliament also admitted to partisan nature debates are handled on the floor.
He challenged MPs to always put the national interest ahead of partisan interests.
“The public perception of our Parliament is of a deeply divided House of rubble rousers who cannot reach a consensus on any issue of national interest unless related to the welfare of MPs.
“Parliament must hold its members to a high level of integrity and conduct to win back public confidence,” the president charged.
Source – Joyfm