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Poor Time Management and Absenteeism Are Tearing Ghana’s Parliament Apart

Parliament of Ghana

Accra, Ghana, November 13, 2018//-Ghana’s parliament is experiencing absenteeism and the adverse side of time management, which is poor time management. This unhealthy development is tearing the country’s legislature apart.

Although, absenteeism and lateness to parliament are not new, they have been aggravated since the inception of the fifth parliament of the fourth Republic.

Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Aaron Ocquaye, has suspended parliamentary sittings in a number of times due to lateness and absenteeism.

Some of these MPs blame their lateness on pressing national duties, while others blame their absenteeism on busy and conflicting schedules.

For instance, as at business time 10am, on fateful Wednesday’s sitting, only 43 Members of Parliament (MPs) were present on the floor of the House when at least 91 MPs are needed to constitute a quorum.

According to the standing orders of Ghana’s parliament, “the House shall sit on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Sittings shall, subject to the direction of Mr. Speaker, ordinarily commence at ten o’clock in the morning”.

But, there seems to be a shift away from the ten o’clock as stated in the standing orders, ever since the new parliament under the fourth Republic began sitting on 7th January, 2017.

Odekro, a civil society group recently published its damning report on how absenteeism by parliamentarians has cost the taxpayer ¢1.4 million in 2017.

54 MPs during the time absented themselves from parliament without permission in clear violation of the constitution, according to the 54-page report.

It identified eight of the 54 top absentees which included chairmen of committees and some Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs.

“Overall 54 MPs reached and crossed the 15 sittings absence without permission threshold, thus violating Article 97(1) (C) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, since there is no material evidence that they sought permission in writing from the Speaker.

“Of this statistic, 34 chronically absentee MPs (representing 62.9% of the 54 absentee MPs) double as Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State,” the report said.

Majority of those who absented themselves from the House are New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs who also double as either Ministers or Deputy Ministers.

Some of the absentee Ministers include Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Samuel Atta Akyea, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Catherine Afeku, Joe Ghartey, Ambrose Dery, Ignatius Baffour Awuah and Kwasi Amoako Atta.

Others are Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Joseph Kofi Adda and Dominic Nituwul among others.

Among the notable Deputy Ministers who have been absent without permission are Kingsley Carlos Ahenkorah, Daniel Nii Titus-Glover, Anthony Abayifaa Karbo among others.

Other notable nine opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs who have been absent from parliamentary proceedings include Alban Bagbin, Sampson Ayi, Dr Dominic Ayine, Casiel Ato Forson and Samuel George.

Clock-in devices

Prof Ocquaye who could no longer tolerate the perennial lateness and absenteeism of the, he disclosed that House would soon install clock-in devices to check the canker.

Prof Ocquaye who explained this to some selected journalists in Accra said the move would hopefully get legislators to be more punctual to sittings.

“Non-punctuality is not good and we have said it ourselves on the floor of parliament and as of today, we are working at these things. “Members have all agreed that they are going to turn over a new leave…and there has been quite a change,” he said.

It is instructive to acknowledge that time management is the art of arranging, organizing, scheduling, and budgeting one’s time for the purpose of generating more effective work and productivity. It has become crucial in recent years thanks to the busy world in which we live.

The habit of poor time management has cut deep into the fabric of the Ghanaian society and even among its top officials like, the Executive, judiciary, legislature and the private sector.

Absenteeism on the other hand, is a habitual pattern of absence from a duty or obligation without good reason. Generally, absenteeism is unplanned absences.

It has been viewed as an indicator of poor individual performance, as well as a breach of an implicit contract between employee and employer.

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report









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