Former Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Kwesi Yankah says the fear of being blacklisted in their party and losing their privileges is driving Members of Parliament (MPs) to vote against their conscience on particular issues before the House.
He said Ghana's parliament is losing its bite and the outcome of debates is very much obvious most of the time one can tell which direction any party will tow.
Prof Yankah thinks the current political system of winner takes all mirrors the society we have which is one sided and therefore calls for a diversity of representation in opinion, adding that “we must be realistic about the society we live in. We need more of such [diversity of representation] than we do now."
On the quality of MPs, he said: “As for what becomes of or how you define quality in political output, I still believe in diversity.”
"We are too sycophantic as a country and that has nothing to do with quality, but the nature of the system of the winner takes all,” he said.
Prof Yankah told Francis Abban on Pulse program on JOYNEWS that most of the time parliament brush through bills with some of the bills predetermined as the majority in parliament that can decide to walk through it.
According to Prof Yankah, although no study has proven how the voting pattern is in parliament, he believes 99 percent of the time, parties vote in solidarity with their party’s interest.
He concedes that there was a time where a minority within the majority came out to object to the outcome of a vote on some bills.
“I look forward to a much more intense debate based on time enough on their hands to do critical reading and understanding of budgets, bills that are presented," Prof Yankah said.
He wants parliament to give enough time to bills and MPs to be resourced in terms of research assistants as well as offices to enhance their work.
When provided with these, he thinks it will help them to determine what their jobs demand so they will read critically and do research before they advance a viewpoint on a matter.