Kofi Bentil, vice president of IMANI Africa

Senior Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, has accused MPs of treating their work in Parliament as a part-time job.

Speaking on news analysis show Newsfile on Saturday, he condemned such acts saying that there are rules for Parliament that clearly state that being a Parliamentarian is a full-time job.

“Indeed the rule is that if you are an MP, it is a full-time job and if you want to do anything on the side, you need to get the permit from the Speaker so to do,” he added.

He reiterated that more than half of MPs work outside of Parliament for private gain, adding that it is wrong for MPs to treat a full-time job as part-time.

According to Kofi Bentil, Parliamentarians can relinquish their seat if they cannot go to Parliament.

“If you don’t want to do the job of a lawmaker i.e. go and make laws, sit in Parliament to debate, then please don’t go to Parliament,” he pleaded with the MPs.

This comes after the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, referred three Members of the House to the Privileges Committee, for their continuous absence in Parliament.

The three are; the Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, Ayawaso Central MP, Henry Quartey and Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong. All from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) side of the House.

According to the Speaker, the three legislators have breached the 15-day absence rule, hence his decision to refer them to the Privileges Committee for the necessary actions to be taken.

Delivering his ruling on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Alban Bagbin explained that based on the relevant provisions of the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament, the named NPP lawmakers are guilty of the absenteeism threshold for Members of Parliament.

“I have accordingly come to the irresistible conclusion that a Member who absents himself or herself from 16 sitting days of Parliament in a particular meeting, without the permission in writing of the Speaker, falls squarely within the ambit of Article 97, clause 1(c) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 16(1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament”, he stated.

Reacting to this, Kofi Bentil said that it is good that it is taking place.

This, he claims, will make Parliamentarians sit up and take their jobs seriously, knowing that there will be repercussions if they do not.

He said that the issue of absenteeism in Parliament should be talked about and dealt with because the “Parliamentarians in the Fourth Republic have elevated a footnote into to a keynote.”

He added that to say that he hopes the issue of absenteeism will be taken up by citizens as well and not legislators alone.

“I think the ruling must be enforced so that Parliamentarians will feel the need to do what they have been paid to do and what they stood for election to do,” he stated.