The Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) has asked Ghana’s parliament to be more open.
Leader Sammy Obeng stated that when the cameras or the media are not present, the members seem to work, but the moment they see the cameras, every member tends to do a thing, so their constituents will see them working.
Another aspect he wants the Ghanaian parliament to consider is to make its committees more open.
He said several of the committees in parliament are not open and ”Ghana could learn from other parliaments that have open committees”.
He was responding to the latest Index that rated Ghana’s parliament as the best out of 13 countries evaluated by the index.
The Parliament of Ghana has been adjudged the best Parliament according to the Africa Open Parliament Index (OPI).
The Index was launched under the auspices of the Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) and the Africa Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations Network (APMON).
The Index assessed the openness of Parliaments in Africa.
The Africa OPI is a joint effort with the APMON Working Group, which is made up of renowned parliamentary monitoring organizations in Africa namely, Mzalendo Trust (Kenya), Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Parliamentary Monitoring Group (South Africa), Africa Parliamentary Press Network (APPN), and the Pan African Parliament Civil Society Forum which is coordinated by the Center for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria. It also received technical support from Directorio Legislativo, an Argentina-based organization which co-founded the Latin America Legislative Transparency Index and Network about a decade ago.
The Index uses the three criteria of Open Parliament: Transparency, Civic Participation and Public Accountability, to assess Parliaments across Africa.
Sammy Obeng said although Ghana came tops out of the 13 countries, it scored only 63% which was not encouraging.
He explained that generally, the level of openness in African parliaments is ”very low”.
He stated that if Ghana’s parliament is more opened, several parliaments could come and learn from our experience.
About the Index
The Index will enable civil society to work together with national and regional parliaments to identify systemic challenges to achieving parliamentary openness and to co-create reforms that will strengthen the capacity of parliaments to enhance their openness.
The rationale for the Index includes:
Provide minimum standards to assess the level of parliamentary openness across African national and regional legislative institutions.
Empower parliamentary monitoring organizations (PMOs) and Parliaments to monitor the level of progress in enhancing the principles of open parliament; Document parliamentary best practices towards supporting parliaments to be more open; and Leverage the partnership between civil society and parliaments to co-create parliamentary reforms, policies and action plans that strengthen institutions of parliaments to effectively perform their role of oversight, law-making and representation.