Inusah Fuseini re-ignites debate over minimum academic qualification for MPs

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini

NDC MP for Tamale Central Inusah Fuseini has asked for some minimum academic qualifications before a person can become an MP.

He blamed the lack of minimum academic qualifications for the low quality of debates in parliament and representative democracy as a whole.

In an interview with theghanareport.com, the politicians said “because there are no criteria for contesting elections, we are unable to insist on quality in the selection process.”

“Anybody who has money to buy a form and is otherwise 18 years, and is qualified by the terms of the constitution goes to buy a from a political party office and wants to contest elections. Never mind that they will be unable to represent the people and contribute to shaping national discourse, the Tamale Central MP said.

According to him, some MPs lack the confidence to contribute on the floor of the house due to their poor educational background.

“Every job should have a job qualification. If you want to represent your people, you should at least, have some educational background. There are some MPs who have never spoken in parliament because they lack confidence. The examples abound. There are a lot of them,” he told theghanareport.com.

theghanareport.com conducted a research which showed at least 34 MPs who never spoke on the floor of the House in 2019, according to the Hansard.

Of the 34 MPs, 28 are with the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP). Four female MPs in Parliament made the infamous list. Some were also first-term MPs.

In a comment that re-ignites a debate over the quality of Ghana’s representative democracy, Inusah Fuseini, who is leaving parliament after 16 years, claimed the absence of qualification criteria had created room for corruption in the country’s politics.

“Because there are no criteria, everybody goes in so the qualification criteria now become how much you can pay delegates. That is introducing corruption into the selection process.

“Because people know that if you have enough money to pay delegates, you will get elected to come to parliament. The delegates are not concerned with what happens in parliament, as for them, they are interested in money,” the former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources said.

He said parliament is the weakest of the three arms of government hence, political parties must ensure a certain academic requirement to protect the image of the institution.

When asked the minimum academic qualification a parliamentary aspirant should have, the Tamale Central MP said “Secondary school certificate”.

He blamed Ghana’s 1992 Constitution for the lapses experienced in the country’s parliament.

Meanwhile, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu who spoke during a forum organized by his ministry laid the blame at the doorstep of framers of the 1992 constitution.

According to him, basic academic qualification was a criterion for entering parliament until the framers of the 1992 constitution jettisoned it.

“If you have a general qualification to be in parliament, you should be versatile such that if you are posted anywhere u can perform,” Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said.

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