The first Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu has stated that he has observed that specific 15 Members of Parliament (MPs) are frequently absent when the issue on MPs absenteeism was raised by Sam George, MP for Ningo Prampram.
According to Hon. Owusu, such a gesture raises questions over the integrity of MPs.
According to him, he knows of 15 MPs with such behaviour but he would not mention names.
Speaking on the issue on the floor of Parliament, Hon. Sam George said, “Mr. Speaker, this is an honourable House...can we all be truthful to ourselves and to God that if we take today’s votes and proceedings, the names marked present were really present in this chamber?”
He added that the issue even continues in committee meetings stressing that “even State Of the Nation Address they don’t even attend".
He said, “We really need to look at this carefully and find a better way of marking members present,” he said and warned MPs who are honest may be forced to join in the bad practice.
He said he would, however, strike out the nam es of such MPs from the attendance list whenever this attitude is observed.
Scenes from parliament routinely show a depleted chamber despite a heavy workload.
The Speaker of Parliament on March 3, 2019 watched aghast as only 15 in the 275-seater chamber showed up for work at the time of commencement.
MP absenteeism is a frequent theme in his opening addresses when parliament reconvenes.
There is a website, Odekro.org, dedicated to tracking MP attendance.
Odekro, a parliament-focused civil society organisation released a 50-page report which revealed, Ministers of State who double as Members of Parliament absented themselves more frequently than MPs without a Ministerial position.
As “punitive measures”, Odekro suggests that “MPs found to have no reasonable excuse to be absent without written permission from 15 sittings and beyond should be asked to vacate their seats in line with Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.”