Parliament is one of the most critical arms of government, the role of the member of parliament is indispensable in most jurisdictions. In Ghana, our arrangement has made parliament appear to be more closely linked with the executive arms. The appointment of most MPs as ministers and party politics is an unhealthy constitutional arrangement
The role of MPs has become under severe scrutiny, while others have established themselves like tin gods in the constituency with a remark of excellent performance, some are just a beneficiary of constituents been too primitive and refuse to change their mindset, others just benefit from ethnocentric politics and religious solidarity.
The debate on MPs goes beyond their performance or contribution to socio-economic development given a lot of allocations such as health insurance fund, social development fund, and common fund, a lot of Ghanaians are raising eyebrows on the entitlement of MPs.
Simply put the ex-Gratia of MPs could be described as a clear case of ‘milking the nation’, it is surprising while some MPs will be given a huge sum of money after four years of service to the nation. They receive an ex-Gratia of GH¢460,000.00 or (¢4.6 Billion) old Ghana cedis. If it takes an MP to be in parliament three consecutive times, such an MP will be receiving three times the stated amount.
Worrying, MPs still think the amount is a peanut and are advocating for its increment to (GH¢600,000.00) thus (¢6 Billion) old Ghana Cedis.
If an economic analysis of the 275 MPs is conducted, Ghana would be spending (GH¢126,500,000.00). These amounts could have been significant in providing borehole facilities for rural communities in the Upper West Region that will enhance the health and development.
It is unfortunate to see a teacher or a public servant who contributed to making the MP get to that stage, get a chicken change as the end of service benefit after 30 to 40 years of active service to mother Ghana. With reports that the 6th parliament took an amount of GH¢600,000.00, these 275 MPs could equally be hitting a jackpot.
We need to quickly reform our systems. It is still mind-blowing for even a sitting MP to receive such an amount in the name that the previous parliament is dissolved. If it is a retirement package, why are MPs who won re-election still be doing in the house? We either save the public coffers and pay one-time ex-gratia or completely scrap the payment of ex- gratia.
Our practices have led to MPs’ desire to buy votes to become an honourable member since there is a bounty to go home with after four years.
The payment of ex- gratia is a clear case of widening inequalities, civil servants, public servants continue to take home minimum wages and pension benefits, while MPs head to the bank with smiles all the time.
On the principle of equity and nation-building, we should be focused on bridging the gap of inequalities and appreciate political leadership as a call to duty and not to wrenched the nation coffers.