Let’s Learn From Burkina Experience – MPs Told

THE NEW Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Wenchi, Prof George Gyan-Baffour, and the Deputy Minority Leader, Dominic Nitiwul, have strongly warned members of Ghana’s parliament to learn a great lesson from what has happened to MPs in Burkina Faso after ordinary citizens in whom power is vested rose up against them and burnt their personal properties.

The people of Burkina Faso just about a week ago stormed parliament and burnt down the building, following it up to burn the private and public houses of their MPs after they tried to amend the country’s constitution to give an unfettered opportunity to President Blaise Compaore to run for another five-year term, having been president of that country for 27 years.

Making contribution to a statement on the political crisis in Burkina Faso, Prof Gyan-Baffour disclosed that what happened in Burkina Faso could easily happen in Ghana if MPs continue to think about their political and personal interests rather than the interests of the people who voted for them.

“We should not arrogate ourselves to functions and powers of the executive and always endorse every policy that is detrimental to the plights of the people, otherwise the people will rise up and come and attack us in parliament as has happened in Burkina Faso,” Prof Gyan-Baffour said, stressing that Ghanaian MPs must refrain from being too partisan endorsing whatever emanates from the executive because the electorates always see MPs as the people who pass the laws that govern everything in the country.

He, therefore, asked MPs who are on the Majority side not to always bulldoze their way to pass bills that would result in more hardship for the people or approve ‘dubious’ loans, otherwise people who feel the pinch of such policies would target MPs and visit mayhem on them.

The Deputy Minority leader for his part warned politicians not to take the citizens or the electorate for granted because they really have the sovereign power.

“If you are a politician and do not respect the constitution, the people will also not respect it,” he said, adding that if MPs in Burkina Faso had listened to the people not to go ahead to amend the constitution, what happened to them and their parliament would not have happened.

He also served notice to President Mahama to remember that political power always rests with the people and that in implementing any policy; the welfare of the people should be the key decider.

“Nobody thought what has happened to Blaise Compaore could ever happen to him because he thought he was a grassroots president who was winning between 70 percent and 80 percent of all the elections he had contested.”

He said it was also important for Speakers of parliament to be always neutral and not be partisan so that if there is any power vacuum, they could easily fill it without any agitations.

“I believe the situation in Burkina Faso should be a big lesson to us as MPs here in Ghana, because when there is any problem we cannot stop the people. As for me, I don’t want my house to be burnt so I will always ensure that I fight for the interests of the people who voted for me to be here,” he said.

The Majority Chief Whip and National Democratic Congress (NDC) for Asawase, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, said the situation in Burkina Faso seriously depicts the anger of the people, adding that the burning of the MPs’ houses was rather unfortunate.

He also reminded his colleague MPs from the Majority side to take a cue from what had happened in Burkina Faso and try to represent the interests of the people all the time.

The MP for Subin, Isaac Osei, who is a ranking member on Committee for Foreign Affairs, said parliament in all jurisdictions should always assert its independence and not become a tool to be used by the executive for its political interest.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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