Research Assistants: MPs Displeased With First Class/Masters Degree Demands

Members of Parliament have cautioned the Legislature would be setting a bad precedent if it uses the excuse of First Class degree to disqualify candidates for the position of Research Assistants for MPs.

2nd Deputy Speaker, the Hon. Alban Sumani Bagbin

The members argued that Parliament would be setting very negative standards for other institutions if the criterion for employing research assistant for MPs is First Class or Master’s degree because that would be telling the rest of the country those without such qualifications are not fit for office jobs.

The MPs made the observation after 1st Deputy Majority Whip, the Hon. Matthew Nyindam, who was substituting for the substantive majority leaders last Friday, stated that the Clerk has been giving the go ahead to recruit candidates who meet set standards.

According to him, some MPs submitted candidates who could not meet the criteria and argued that at a leadership meeting those who met the standard have been giving the clearance to be employed.

However, MP for Lambussie Constituency, the Hon. Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery, argued that such standards would set a very bad guide not only for other institutions but the country as a whole.

According to him, as politicians and Members of Parliament, they do not recruit holders of master’s and first class degrees for campaign during elections or to get them strategic information.

“When we go campaigning do we look for people with First Class to campaign for us? Do we look for holders of master’s degree to campaign for us,” he queried?

2nd Deputy Speaker, the Hon. Alban Sumani Bagbin, who presided over the sitting called on leadership to take the recruitment of the research assistants serious.

According to him, the research assistants would be personal staff to the MPs and not of the Parliament Service and depending on how long an MP stays, the assistant would also be part of the House but subject to good behavior and the hopes and caprices of the MP.

Research in Parliament, he said, may not deal with only academic research and stressed that a research assistant could be a partisan character because he would be representing the political views of his master.

He said, “Therefore there should not be too much emphasis on academic research.”

“Academic researchers are recruited into the research department of Parliament but the research could raise very partisan matters for an MP. This is done all over the world.”

Hon. Alban Bagbin noted that the public has already been informed that MPs have research assistants while budgets have continued to be allocated for such purpose and stressed that it is unfair that two years on members still have none.

 By Osumanu Al-Hassan/

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