An Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for European Studies of the University of Ghana, Prof Ransford Gyampo, believes that Hon. Haruna Iddrisu’s confused position on the E-Levy is problematic.

According to him, the Minority Leader’s position on the E-levy clearly shows that he and his party, the NDC haven’t learnt any serious lesson on what has created the kind of parliament we have today.

“He was heard publicly asking for a reduction of the 1.75 percent to 1percent. Now he’s saying the whole E-levy must be jettisoned. What is this, Haruna?” he questioned.

According to Professor Gyampo, it appears that the Minority Leader spoke out of his own conviction on the one percent and was later forced by his party to reverse what he’s publicly said to outright rejection of the levy.

“How does this make him feel as Minority Leader? Extreme partisan manipulation of leaders who have their own conviction in synch with their constituents, is a recipe for disaster in any democratic representation,” he stated.

According to him, representation is not about political parties and their interests but rather absolutely about constituent interests.

He added that any attempt to extol partisan interest over constituent interest would backfire in a manner that would hurt a political party badly.

He believes that we have a hung parliament today partly because the NPP wanted to safeguard its partisan interest by imposing candidates on constituents.

“They are paying dearly for it, even though their pain is also paying for democratic deepening,” he noted.

He further stated that “the decision to support or not to support the E-levy must be based on the Ghanaian constituent interest and not partisan interest. Constituency interest and partisan interest must never clash in the context of representation. In other words, to make him a champion of democratic representation in the discourse on the E-levy and all other parliamentary deliberations, Haruna Iddrisu must pander more to constituent influence than NDC partisan influence.”

He also urged the NDC to understand that their MPs are first, representatives of their people and that partisan interest that breeds unnecessary intransigence comes secondary, and cannot be used to manipulate leaders in parliament in the context of democratic representation.

He urged the Minority Leader not to allow himself to be weakened and be made manipulable by the party in a manner that sacrifices his own conviction, independence of thought and need to first articulate constituent/national interest in any discourse.

“The well meaning Ghanaians who have spoken against E-levy have done so because of its potential impact on the already burdened tax-payer, the poor and the possibility of bringing cash economy into full scale. These should be the reasoning behind any call for reduction or total abandonment of the levy. Excessive partisanship in this discourse is repulsive to floating voters as it would lead to needless intransigence that would eventually make the country ungovernable,” he stressed.

He urged both sides of the House to engage in sincere dialogue, knowing that, consultations cannot be held in perpetuity and that none has the weight to throw about.

He added that the threat to shut down the entire government, should the budget not pass, is an unnecessary political blackmail that has no place in situations that calls for proper dialogue.



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