The Minority Chief Whip in Parliament and Member for Asawase, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, has advised the leadership of the House to install a biometric clocking device to keep track of attendance.
This, according to him, would provide genuine records of members of Parliament (MPs) who come to work. He suggested that even at the entrance, the members could just clock in and out using the biometric device.
He further explained that the biometric device would also prevent controversy on who put what in the attendance book. To him, the House was paying the price for not taking advantage of technology.
“…So now, we will be logging in through biometric. So you don’t need to argue about who put what there, because we all refuse to use technology; that’s the price we have to pay. It won’t cost this House anything, because this becomes biometrically registered, and it will just be that you clock in and you clock out. Nobody can dispute that – if you are not here, you are not here.
“But, with this, even now, if you want to investigate, where are you going to start, because you go and take the book, and people have either written their names or walked away, or they were not here; others have written their names and signed for. Let’s take advantage of technology. Even if it’s at the entrances, as you enter you just clock in and enter, when you are going away you clock out.
“It takes away all these arguments, because this has come up again and again. And so long as it is going to be a book sitting somewhere, where people will go and write their names, you will always have this,” he stated.
Muntaka was responding to concerns raised by the member for Bekwai, Joseph Osei Owusu, that names he sees in the attendance book are not seen in the Chamber. He called for proper monitoring and indicated, whilst referring to a previous attendance list, that, “… I think that this is not the true reflection of the members who were present in the Chamber.”
Discipline must be discipline –Speaker Oquaye
Responding to the issue, the Speaker, Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye, described as sad controversies over which MPs were present or absent.
“In fact, we’ve got to put our own House right, and it’s not like somebody is being a headmaster or anything, but discipline must be discipline, and order must be order. And it’s painful that we don’t want to keep time; we are always arguing about whether a person was present or not present,” he stressed.
He stated that for the House to exercise its appropriate authority, it must show it in all forms, including its punctuality, so that there would be dignity for the House.
“So, honorable members, as for this, it’s worthy of mention,” Speaker Oquaye said.
Responding to the request by the Minority Chief Whip, Speaker Oquaye, who indicated that a full computerisation process of Parliament was ongoing, asked the Clerk to report to him on the process, and also call a meeting of all people needed.
Order 16 (1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament states: “A Member shall not absent himself during meetings for more than fifteen sittings without the permission in writing of the Speaker. Any Member infringing this Order shall have his conduct referred to the Privileges Committee.”
Source: The Chronicle
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