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An eminent Ghanaian Jurist has entreated Members of Parliament (MPs) to demonstrate a sense of independent-mindedness in their deliberations and voting on issues of national interest.
Justice Vincent Cyril Richard Arthur Charles Crabbe said MPs “tend to tow, and to kotow to, the party line whether or not that line is in the best interest of the Republic, and would subtract to the disadvantage of the welfare of the people”.
“What we need is a strong and effective Parliament”, he noted, adding that, “We also need “rebels” in our Parliament who can, in the best interest of the nation, defy the three line whip and the government of the day, and vote according to their own consciences”.
Justice Crabbe, a former Justice of the Supreme Court, was speaking at the Eighth R.P. Baffour Memorial Lectures in Kumasi, at the week-end.
The Lectures, instituted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 1977, is in honour of the late R.P.Baffour, the first Ghanaian Vice-Chancellor of the University, for his sound leadership and immense contributions to its physical development and growth.
The three-day lectures dealt with the essence, as it were, of the 1992 Constitution, Office of the Attorney-General, and some Articles of the Constitution.
The programme, in general, looked at the Nature of Constitutions, the Language of the 1992 Constitution, Enforcement of the Constitution, the Abuse of Power and Human Rights, the Power-sharing Syndrome, Presidential Powers of Appointment, Private Members Bills and Tenure of Office of the President.
It also discussed the Political Party and the President, Gender Balance, Decentralization and Devolution.
Justice Crabbe indicated that Parliament, as the Legislature, and a strong arm of government, ought to stand tall and firm to check the excesses of the Executive for good governance.
“Why should MPs allow themselves to be dragooned into voting for measures they do not believe in, or boycott the sittings of Parliament because the national executive of their party says so?”, he asked.
Justice Crabbe stressed the need for the nation to uphold the rule of law, saying the exercise of any power, private or public, must have its foundation in the Law.
Mr. Paul Victor Obeng, the KNUST Council Chairman, welcomed the on-going review of the Constitution, as it would lead to the strengthening of democratic dispensation for accelerated growth.