Ghana’s Parliament to ban MPs from bringing phones into the chamber

The Parliament House of Ghana is set to ban Members of Parliament (MP) from bringing mobile phones into the House during proceedings.

Parliament to ban MPs from bringing phones to the chamber

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said MPs get distracted by their phones during proceedings.

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday (March 5, 2020), Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, the ban will be enforced as soon as the new Standing Orders of Parliament are approved.

“We proposed that in the next Parliament, once we accept the review standards, no Member of Parliament will be allowed to bring a cell phone to the House. We need to demonstrate seriousness. When the President of the House is talking, members will be fidgeting with their phones.”

“When the Minister responsible for Finance comes here, members will be fidgeting with their phones. When Ministers are providing answers in the House, members will be fidgeting with their phones. It does not tell a good story about us,” Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu added.

Aside from the concerns of fidgeting with phones in the House, the Speaker of Parliament Prof Mike Oquaye has often complained about MPs’ seeming apathy to the work of Parliament as they continue to absent themselves for sittings.

MPs who also double as Minister of State were the worst culprits of absenteeism without permission during the First and Second sittings of the Seventh Parliament, 2017.

A report by Odekro showed that the Ministers, including deputies, absented themselves from at least 15 sittings without the permission of the Speaker of Parliament.

The report stated that the guilty MPs consisted of 18 Ministers and 21 Deputy Ministers.

Odekro is a civil society organization focused on activities of the legislature.

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