Parliament Losing Experienced Hands Sadly
…As More MPs Quit, Citing Frustration And Lack Of Protection From Political Parties
The 9th Parliament, which commences on January 7, 2025, will be denied very experienced and competent hands, after a number of them unexpectedly declared their loss of interest in standing again in the 2024 general election.
Highly fine brains and popular faces, like the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ketu North constituency, James Klutse Avedzi; Bekwai constituency lawmaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu; MP for Suame and Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu; the Odododiodio MP, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, as well as the Ho Central MP, Benjamin Kpodo, will no longer be available to contribute their knowledge and expertise to enrich parliamentary work and debates.
These MPs, among others, have served notice that they will be hanging their boots, with some having served for various terms in parliament for 20years and above.
But The Anchor’s information is that, many of these MPs are not bowing out of Parliament because they willingly want to retire, but doing so because of frustration and lack of protection from their respective political parties.
Nii Lante Vanderpuye, MP for Odododiodio and former Minister of Youths and Sports, who made this known in a recent interview, said he has had to take this bitter pill because, just like his other colleagues, he is frustrated.
Nii Lante, who is currently serving his third term, faulted both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) for looking on unconcerned as he and his colleagues go through this frustration alone without protection for them.
In a system where MPs are expected to provide their constituents with their every need, when in actual fact their job is to make laws, he said he decided to quit prematurely for his own sanity.
“I am leaving Parliament because I am frustrated; the [political] parties really do not protect the people they have [in Parliament]. So, you are subjected to so much pressure that, after a time, you lose interest because you don’t get the sort of environment to be able to harmonize the talents and competence you have,” he said in an interview with Accra-based Citi FM.
According to him, this kind of frustration happens to many MPs from both sides of the House, leading to disturbing attrition rates in the House.
He said Parliament is fast losing members who make valuable contributions to the House.
In the past, he said very valuable MPs, including the late Dr. Akoto Osei of Old Tafo constituency, and the former MP for New Juaben South, Dr. Mark Osei Assibey, who were knowledgeable in finance and contributed immensely to the Finance Committee, were booted out without considering their fine brains.
The vacuum Dr. Osei Assibey, for instance, left appears too big for his replacement, Michael Okyere Baafi.
The former minister further roped in the current Speaker, Alban Sumana Bagbin for his stellar performance compared to his predecessors, who were never MPs, but served as speakers.
“The attrition rate in Parliament is too high, and, as such, people do not get the sort of experience they require to advance the work of Parliament. One of the gentlemen I admire so much since I entered that House in 2013 was Dr. Osei Assibey. When I look at the work he does and how he comes out to analyze documents, I can see someone who spent time doing research to be able to ask the necessary questions. The late Dr. Akoto Osei was another when it came to drafting bills.”
“Bagbin is succeeding as a Speaker because of the lengthy experience he has had as a member of parliament. If you look at his speakership, you will see some quality that is better than what we saw of other speakers who were not members of parliament, and it is clear for us to see,” Nii Lante added.
Call for Protection
The former sports presenter underscored the need for a supportive environment that enables MPs to utilize the long years of experience and competencies for the benefit of Parliament.
Recall a similar situation in 2015 where the then MP for Ningo Prampram, Enoch Teye Mensah, was defeated by Samuel Nartey George in a fierce contest.
The former Minister of Youth and Sports, who was then described as one of the “Mugabes” in Parliament, could not forgive him and, it is unclear, if he made up with his successor before his passing last month in South Africa, where he had gone to seek medical care.
Others in the NDC, who, but for their defeat in the party’s primaries would have loved to remain in the House, are also on their way out after losing in that election in August. The NPP is yet to hold their parliamentary primaries, as they have picked early next year as the period they will organize their major elections.
Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, 58, first entered Parliament in 2013 after beating the New Patriotic Party’s Victor Okaikoi in the 2012 general elections.
He was quite confident about his chances of winning, famously stating in November 2012 that if he got less than 65% of the vote, he would concede the seat to Okaikoi.
In the end, he won by a smaller landslide than expected, with 45,967 votes (63%) against 26,269 (36%) for Okaikoi and 745 (1%) for Emmanuel Odoi of the Convention People’s Party.
In December 2016, he was retained as the Member of Parliament for the Odododiodio Constituency with 36,606 votes representing 57.04% against his closest contender from the New Patriotic Party, who had 26,671 votes, representing 41.56%.
He was the same person President Akufo-Addo, during the 2020 campaign, mistakenly canvassed for votes for him, instead of the NPP’s candidate Nii Lantey Bannerman.