Ghana’s parliament to ban MPs from using phones

Prof. Mike Oquaye is the Speaker of Ghana's Parliament

Ghanaian lawmakers will no longer be allowed to use mobile phones while debate is in session, the leadership of the House is proposing.

Local reports say the proposal is aimed at getting the full attention of MPs when the House is in session.

The move is part of a review of the standing orders of the lawmaking entity of the West African nation.

“Mr. Speaker I believe the House must make a determination and let me emphasize, it’s the reason why it’s been proposed that in the next parliament, once we accept and indeed adopt the reviewed standing orders, no member will be allowed to bring a cellphone in this chamber. We need to demonstrate seriousness in this House. We need to,” the majority leader and minister for parliamentary affairs Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.

According to the Suame MP, the practice where members focus on their phones to the neglect of proceedings even when the house hosts important guests dents the image of the legislature.

“When the president of the republic is talking members are fidgeting with their phone. When the minister responsible for finance comes here members are fidgeting with their phones. When questions are asked, ministers are providing answers members are fidgeting with their phones. It doesn’t tell a good story about us. Mr. Speaker let’s be very honest with ourselves,” Accra-based Starr FM quoted him.

Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu argued the ban would not be novel to Ghana since parliaments in some other countries practice same.

“Mr. Speaker the parliament of Ghana is not the only parliament in the world. And there are established parliaments in the world who do not allow members to come to parliament with their cellphones. That should be the (case here too) and Mr. Speaker we shall apply the rules religiously once we adopt the reviewed standing orders”.

Parliament of Ghana is undertaking a comprehensive review of rules governing conducts of business called standing orders. Should the reviewed standing orders be adopted, members of Parliament for the 8th parliament will not be able to use phones in the chamber.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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