Sun, Jul

ROB quizzes... How do constituents want their MPs to represent them...?

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Over the centuries, political scientists have proposed about three models by which one is selected especially in parliamentary democracy.

 This issue has been a long standing bone of contention among grassroots and political scientists all over the world.

In Ghana, especially, it is common to hear from constituents especially in the run-up to General elections lamenting about their MPs not speaking on the floor of parliament to register their concerns (MPs).

Furthermore, constituents, especially party apparatchiks, mostly accuse the MPs of not serving the interests of their political parties in parliament.

Due the above, the issue of “How do constituents want their MPs to represent them?" remains a canker, thus should be dealt with...

Over the centuries, political scientists have proposed about three models by which one is selected especially in parliamentary democracy.

First of all, constituents vote MPs not really based on their personal qualities but for the parties that those MPs represent (Mandate model).

This is very prevalent in Ghana especially in the Ashanti and Volta Regions. As a result of this, constituents expect their MPs to solely and at all times, vote or take decisions which favour their Political party.

So they see their MP, as a "Political father" of the constituency, in the legislature.

Secondly, constituents vote for MPs to be their trustees .This means their MPs should only be exercising and expressing the minds and concerns of the people, even if they conflict with his personal beliefs.

It is the more reason why constituents mostly arise to even accuse MPs of sleeping on the job, for not coming to the constituencies and not even representing them properly...

All the above ways or expectations from constituents, in one way or the other, are needed and expected of MPs  in our parliamentary democracy though MPs are supposed to do more than them.

I will at this point quote the 18th century British renowned legislator and philosopher - Edmund Burke.

He said, "MPs should not be beholden to their constituents wishes and be true to exercise their own judgement".

In the above, the scholar advocates a system where the MPs are seen as people with knowledge and experience and are allowed to exercise their own judgements on issues pertaining to development (how and where it should be done) even if it goes against those of their constituents.

In fact, I'm totally in support of this model, which will make the people see their MPs as their delegate but not stooges.

Our voters need to vote based on personal traits, wisdom and knowledge of their aspiring MPs rather than on any other consideration because if MPs are able to exercise good judgements premised on experiences and science, it will further the gains of the constituents.

Once again, our NCCE and the relevant CSOs must rise up to help re-educate our people to be equipped with the requisite know-how on how their MPs represent them.

This will reduce the tension, brawls, accusations and mistrusts in our body politics...


The writer is a political scientist, writer, broadcaster, and educator.


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