Member of Parliament for Kwesimintsim Constituency Dr Prince Hamid Armah has argued that the country’s cultural and societal construction enjoin an MP to necessarily go beyond his legislative role in order to become a complete representative of the people.
He said in order for “you to succeed as an MP in Ghana, while you are doing the parliamentary work you must as a matter of necessity also respond and follow up on the daily needs of your constituents”.
“And sometimes because of how the problems are, you cannot rely on the assembly because they may need an immediate response. And you and I know how our assembly system works. So, to be able to address them you must dig deep and that will require that you use your personal resources to be able to address them.”
Dr. Prince Armah insisted that in many respects, solving such basic needs for some constituents are their definition and measure of “a working MP”.
“…of course, the role of the MP is defined. But we have to agree that the definition of a Member of Parliament in Ghana cannot be the same as the Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom where the definition of the MP is strictly a legislative function. Ours, is a hybrid and goes beyond that. For example, a portion of the Common Fund is allocated to the MP for development works. This gives you an indication that there is a development agent component associated with the work of the MP. So, the job therefore is between Parliament and your constituents. Thus, you must necessarily be able to draw a balance between the two and try and fulfil them to the best of your ability”.
Dr. Prince Armah was speaking with Connect FM’s news and current affairs programme Asem Yi Dzi Ka researcher Eric Yaw Adjei on the commencement of a constituent interface dubbed ‘The Prince Armah Surgery’.
The Prince Armah Surgery will be a platform through which the MP will be engaging his constituents in his bid to be more accessible while attempting to address their needs whether personal or community oriented.
Due to Covid-19 and its attendant restrictions, Dr. Prince Armah will start the “surgery” with a scheduled appointment in his newly established MPs Office.
“For a start, I have scheduled this Thursday and Friday to have a one-on-one engagement with my constituents in my office. We have arranged to meet close to 20 people in a day. But of course, there will be room for emergency meetings and already today I’ve had few of such encounters that were not on the appointment list. Let me add that I don’t know the political background of any of those I have met and will be meeting. Once you are in Kwesimintsim and wants to meet your MP, my doors are wide open.”
He explained that the request he has so far received are about “personal welfare needs, community needs, job requests and help with a cover letter”.
When asked how he will be able to manage expectations, Dr. Prince Armah said any request he has received is treated as a case and a case manager assigned to it to see how best it can be resolved.
“…what the case manager will do is to talk to the appropriate person or agency who can help resolve that case. While at it, he will also be updating the complainant or constituent on the case as and when necessary. This will go on until it is resolved. Some may take a year and still the case manager will be on them.”
He added: “In my engagement if I realise that I can help immediately and in their presence I will place a call to the appropriate quarters for a response and I did that a couple of times today. Those that fall squarely with the assembly I will table it before the MCE whom I have been meeting frequently. And because the MCE and the Assembly are aware of the challenges, these challenges then inform them when they are planning or budgeting. We want to manage expectations which for me is very important because I want this interface I have started to last for a long time.”
Some of the constituents who were present were confident that their request will be addressed.
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana
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