Members of the Ghanaian Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Judiciary Committee, Subsidiary Legislation Committee, and Foreign Affairs Committee were visited today by an eight-person delegation from the German Bundestag’s Committee on Legal Affairs.
Hon. Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, the chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, welcomed the group and stressed the significance of this historic visit because it is the first of its type in the parliamentary democracy of Ghana’s Fourth Republic.
Members of the Joint Committee exchanged experiences with their counterparts from the Bundestag on a variety of topics, including the application of Ghana’s parliamentary procedures, the administration of justice, access to justice, the fight against corruption, financing of political parties, and human rights issues.
The delegates heard from Hon. Bernard Ahiafor, vice chair of the committee on constitutional, legal, and parliamentary affairs, on the constitutional procedures for minister nomination by the president and the requirement for previous approval by Parliament before appointment by the president.
The Vice-Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee, Hon. Cletus Avoka, explained to the delegation how Ghana has transformed from the Westminster, Presidential, Parliamentary and hybrid systems since the First Republic to the current Fourth Republic, stressing that perhaps the 1992 constitution has been the longest practicing constitution in the history of Ghana because of the combination of the Presidential and Parliamentary system of Government.
Hon. Avoka also wanted to know from the German MPs whether the government funds political parties in Germany.
Other Joint Committee members, such as Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Hon. Dominic Ayine, and Hon. Francis Xavier Sosu, spoke about the Justice for All program and how many people who had been detained for more than eight years had been released. They also discussed the need to increase female representation in Parliament and the use of technology to reduce corruption in the nation.
The delegation’s head, Hon. Elizabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, stated that laws must be utilized to protect society’s weaker members, adding that only when parliaments are powerful via the application of the law can it be severe with the executive branch.
She responded to the question of states funding political parties by saying the German Government supports political parties that are able to pull about 0.5% in elections in order help it remain relevant.
On the issue of the status of sexual rights laws in Germany.
The delegation was made up of Hon. Elizabeth Winkelmeier-Becker (Chair of the Committee of Legal Affairs), Hon. Esra-Leon R. Limbacher (MP), Hon. Stephen Mayer (MP), Hon. Till Steffen (MP), Hon. Philipp Hartewig (MP), Hon. Stephen Brandner (MP) and Hon. Clara Anne Bunger(MP).
The delegation was also supported by staff of the German Parliament and the German Embassy in Accra, they include Mr. Michael-John Mccabe (Interpreter), Ms. Sara Hennemann (Secretary) and Pauline Okkens (Political and Protocol Section).