Mr Alban Bagbin, the Majority Leader in Parliament on Thursday said he has not decided to bow out of Parliament as was suggested in the media last week.
He said even though he had contemplated allowing others he had mentored to also contest the Nadowli/Kaleo constituency seat: “It has never been my decision not to seek another mandate to represent my people…I have never come to that conclusion.”
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, he said what might have led to those media reports was a reasoning he shared with some members that he should perhaps give the opportunity to some younger persons he had groomed to also contest the parliamentary seat.
He said he had never been emphatic on not seeking re-election in 2016, adding that even those he tutored had recognised that they had not gotten to that stage where they could step into his shoes.
A usually reliable source told the GNA that the majority caucus called a meeting to discuss issues affecting the party and that top on the agenda was the issue of rumours that Mr Bagbin may not be contesting the primaries in his constituency.
The source said the meeting concluded that “it does not lie in Mr Bagbin’s mouth to decide whether or not to contest the elections and that they (members of the caucus) would ensure that the Majority Leader seeks another term and would communicate that decision to the Party”.
The members contended that Mr Bagbin had brought significant improvement to the leadership and management of the affairs of Parliament, and that even though the caucus has quality members of parliament, they did not think that those materials measured up the Majority Leader.
They also reasoned that owing to his experience in mentoring the new generation of lawmakers, it is prudent that he does not abandon them midstream but stay in the House to nurture them to maturity.
Mr Bagbin told the GNA that most of his constituents would not even acquiesce to the idea of him bowing out of Parliament, with some, including the Upper West Regional and constituency executives of the party, sending very emotional messages, wondering why he would desert the constituency at such a crucial time.
“The work of the legislator is service to the people and society…and calls from the people cannot be ignored,” he observed.
Mr Bagbin said the exit of many senior members of the House is a weakness to the institution of Parliament, insisting that for democracy to respond to the needs and aspirations of the people, it must be anchored by a strong and matured Parliament.
“I deem it fit to stay back in Parliament to push through a mentorship programme of grooming a number of members to be able to continue the good works of the Legislature”.
Some experienced parliamentarians have decided not to seek re-election, a situation analysts and political commentators argue could dwindle the institutions’ capacity to bring knowledge and experience into the deliberations and workings of the Legislature.
Mr Bagbin said he is of the belief that parliament needs experienced people to consolidate democratic culture in the country and “even though the old are giving way to the new, there is the need to blend the new with a number of accomplished hands to guide and sharpen their talents and to prevent them from repeating the mistakes of the past and re-inventing the wheel".
The Majority Leader, who has served in various leadership roles in the House since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, said another reason to seek a renewal of the mandate to stay in Parliament for another term, is the role he plays for Ghana in sub-regional and international parliamentary bodies.
He said leaving parliament would mean that Ghana would automatically lose the leverage to influence decisions that affect the country and the West African region.
“My departure from Parliament will mean the loss of that platform to Ghana and Africa.”
Mr Bagbin is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He serves in that capacity as the representative of the West African sub-region.
From 2004 up till 2010, Mr Bagbin was the Vice President of the Committee on Peace and Democracy at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organisation of parliaments in the world, which was established since 1889 as a focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue.
His departure to join the executive in 2010 as a minister took the seat away from Ghana.
Mr Bagbin said there is still a lot to be done in Parliament and that he believes in being part of that change not as an outsider but an insider, adding: “You need experienced hands to lead the change.”
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