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Ghanaian Members of Parliament on a study visit to Parliament

From left: Second Deputy Minority Whip in the Parliament of Ghana Hon. Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah, Swapo-Party Chief Whip in the National Council Hon. Lebbius Tobias, Majority Chief Whip in the Parliament of Ghana Hon. Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, Deputy Secretary to the National Council Juliet Mupurua, First Deputy Minority Whip Hon. Ahmed Ibrahim, Head, Majority Secretary Abigail Aba Anso (first from right in the back row) with Members of Parliament and Staff members in the National Counci

 

  Story by Pamela Mate

Members of the Parliament of Ghana and support staff are on an official study visit to the National Council. The Members are particularly interested in cooperation between the two institutions as well as to learn more and benchmark on the Parliamentary Whip system of the Namibian Parliament.

The delegation is led by Hon. Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh - Majority Chief Whip and other members include Hon. Ahmed Ibrahim – 1st Deputy Minority Whip, Hon. Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah – 2nd Minority Whip and Ms. Abigail Aba Anso – Head of the Majority Secretariat.

This morning, the delegation held a briefing session with Deputy Secretary to the National Council, Ms. Juliet Mupurua, Swapo Party Chief Whip in the National Council, Hon. Lebbuis Tangeni Tobias as well as National Council MPs, Hon. Joyce Namuhuja and Hon. Phillipus Katamelo.

In her presentation to the visiting members, Ms. Mupurua touched on the formation of Parliament and issues related to law-making. The presentation also looked at the work of the various Committees of the National Council as well as important events on the parliamentary calendar such as the Opening of Parliament and State of the Nation Address. Key to her address was the formation, functions and role of the Whip system at National Council, an integral part of the study visit. The visiting members had an interactive session with the National Council Staff and MPs and most questions centered on the Whip system, given the overwhelming majority of the ruling party in the National Council. The oversight function of the National Council was also thoroughly discussed. Hon. Tobias assured the members that despite the large majority, members of Parliament work together as a team and have placed the review and oversight role at the center of their duties, disregarding political power but rather focusing on the interest of the nation as a whole. The Chief Whip and the delegation then held talks on the role of the Whip system and how their respective parliaments operate this important function of the legislature.

 

The delegation also paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi. Having been a former Chief Whip in the National Assembly, Prof. Katjavivi shared the importance of a whip, stating that it requires a lot of tact and patience. He emphasized the need for whips to work on the discipline of party members as well as to advance the agenda of government at party level within the legislature. Hon. Katjavivi also noted the importance of the opposition whips, citing that the ruling party cannot do everything alone and should give courtesy to opposition parties to inform them on the happenings in government, for proper input and consultation. The Speaker also noted that in Parliament, all members are equal and important players in democracy. MPs from all formations should therefor value every input and contribution. Hon. Tobias echoed these sentiments, stressing that all members of Parliament should feel valued and at home, despite level of political representation.

In their remarks, the team from Ghana expressed that they are keen to learn and share what they have. Hon. Ahmed Ibrahim – 1st Deputy Minority Whip said that the Ghanaian parliament works hard to push whips up in the Parliament Structure. He added that the Parliament of Ghana has a very strong and skillful Secretariat that gives adequate support to MPs. The MP said good reports breed good debate, and thus, it is imperative that the Secretariat is knowledgeable on matters of the legislature.

The delegation is expected to meet the Chief Whip of the ruling party tomorrow, 24 October as well as Chief Whips of the opposition parties and party leaders.

The visit will continue until this Friday.

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