When Kennedy Agyapong (Hon) allegedly slandered Ghana parliamentarians for being irresponsible, a member of the supposedly august House lodged a complaint against him with their Parliamentary Privileges Committee for disciplinary hearing to be taken against him and subsequently punished were he to be found guilty.
Many a discerning Ghanaian believes they are more than irresponsible if not complete bunch of incompetent thieves. When you consider the poor state of Ghana, although amidst plenty of natural endowments, and the extreme partisan behaviour of our parliamentarians, one has only to say they are utterly misfits in their position as legislators. When I compare their behaviours to their colleague-parliamentarians in the Western civilized world, I have only to sit down and watch agape at their horrible under-performance often emanating from their ruinous partisan lineage. They are unable to agree on common sense policies that are perceived to be beneficial to the collective interests of the populace. However, they always unanimously agree on policies that will benefit only them as parliamentarians without letting to surface even slightly, their bitter disagreements, the culmination of their mockingly ugly partisan alliances.
They call themselves honourable without any palpable justification. They do absolutely nothing that qualifies them for that title, if I were to be frank with them. How rational are they to agree and to pass into law that each parliamentarian be awarded around US$50,000 every four years to purchase a new car? More often than not, we see them come out to argue that it is a loan that they surely pay off. Yes, it is a loan! Why don’t they source their own loans from the private banks like any other ordinary person but rely on the government not only to secure them soft loans but also, to become the guarantor hence the collateral?
Additionally, why should each parliamentarian be awarded ex gratia payments running into hundreds of thousands of Ghana New Cedis at the end of the four-year term of a parliament? Is this not madness? Does it not amount to taking the poor Ghanaian masses for fools?
What is ex gratia payment, one may ask? It is a payment made to an employee as a favour rather than as a matter of right. Why should parliamentarians be paid monies out of favour but not other civil service workers? Whichever President came up with this nonsense must be out of his head! They have been operating on the policy of “you scratch my back, I scratch your back”. When the President or the Executive offers the parliamentarians such benefits, they in turn vote similar huge benefits for the President or the Executive.
While Ghanaians are suffering with a huge number of the youth including University graduates unemployed, here we are with our parliamentarians voting huge percentage pay increment for themselves, accepting ex gratia and four-yearly loans guaranteed by the government to purchase cars. This Ghanaian parliamentary mentality in the midst of the dearth of ambulances for our hospitals, potable water for the citizens and good feeder roads, must be condemned and viewed as an abomination.
In the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, USA and the developed world, it is not the government that secures loans for parliamentarians to purchase cars for their use. The government does not pay them ex gratia at the end of the life of every parliament unlike in Ghana, a poor developing country.
In the United Kingdom, every parliamentarian conducts a surgery (British an occasion when an MP, lawyer, etc., is available for consultation). Any constituent having legal problems, having immigration problem, having any problem of any sort after exhausting some available avenues can have a consultation with their MP. The MP has an office where he goes to meet such persons on fortnightly or monthly basis. Constituents can write to their MPs on a number of their personal issues and the MPs do get back to them by writing to offices that are capable of assisting with the problems conveyed to the MP’s attention.
However, in Ghana, the MPs do fuck all as far as helping to guide a constituent come out of their problems goes. I am not suggesting to MPs to dig deep into their pockets to solve the problems of their constituents. I am suggesting to them to be available in their constituencies from time to time to interact with the people, know some of their problems and see how best they can help the constituents solve them through advice, suggestions or writing letters to the appropriate offices on their behalf.
Some of these Ghanaian MPs when they win elections to go to parliament, their constituents see them only again when another election is due. My investigations conducted into that behaviour of theirs revealed that some of the constituents do pester them with requests of all sorts, especially, demands for money which they feel incapable of affording hence trying to stay away from them. Be that as it may, the MPs must find a means to fulfil their obligations to the constituents and to the nation. They were voted to perform a duty to better the image of Ghana and the lives of Ghanaians so they must be seen to do that but not to pass into law what will always favour them as a corporate body while the majority of the citizens suffer.
I am yet to see a Ghanaian MP from either the majority or the minority side crossing the carpet during parliamentary voting on a policy to support the rival side when he or she sees sense from the rival’s side. They always tow party lines. This is not the order in the developed countries. If an MP sees that what his/her rival party is proposing will benefit the nation and the citizens at large, irrespective of his/her party’s collective opposing stance, he/she will vote according to their conscience.
Going back to prove the incompetence and partisan nature of our Ghana Members of Parliament, the National Identification Authority (NIA) charged with issuing national identity cards to Ghanaians have set the criteria for qualifying to be issued a card. They require a person to present either their Ghanaian passport, Ghanaian birth certificate or get a family member who is a Ghanaian or two friends or two people who are Ghanaians and are from your town or locality to vouch for you under oath that you are a Ghanaian. However, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs in parliament are opposing it. They are coming up with the most stupid excuses that some people may have lost their birth certificates or were not issued any depending on when and where they were born. Subsequently, they should accept voter card as proof of one’s Ghanaian nationality to be issued a Ghanaian national identity card.
If they were not stupid as said, what is hard about those without passport or birth certificate going for the third option of getting someone to vouch for them? Anyone who cannot fulfil the third requirement is indeed not a Ghanaian, period!
Again, the sacked Chair of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, by her own actions and written statements, made herself unfit for her position through incompetence and malfeasance. When some employees from the Electoral Commission petitioned the president, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to investigate her because of her committed acts of malpractices, she came out to muddy herself in the course of her written exonerative defence. She accused her Deputy Amadu Sulley of transferring votes at the Electoral Commission and also taking huge sums of money from some political parties for his personal use.
What is malfeasance? It is the performance by a public official of an act that is legally unjustified, harmful, or contrary to law; wrongdoing (used especially of an act in violation of a public trust). Is this not exactly what Charlotte Osei did?
Upon this self-incriminating defence, the NDC caucus in parliament are still vehemently opposing the President going by due process to relieve her of her position. They are planning to go on demonstration in support of Charlotte Osei but not Mrs Georgina Opoku Amankwaah or Mr Amadu Sulley. What nonsense is that if they were not incompetent, corrupt and unfit for any purpose?
When they accept double salary knowing it is illegal, they claim it to be an oversight and overpayment. Nonsense! The current crop of Ghana parliamentarians cannot help build the nation for both the present and the future generations should they not desist from their selfishness, greediness and lack of foresight.
How I wish they could cite me for contempt of parliament and invite me over to appear before their Parliamentary Privileges Committee or whatever they call it. How I would gladly accept that invitation to use it as a platform or opportunity to educate them, if not to lambast them.
The ex gratia must be abolished with immediate effect. The MPs must draw pension like any other civil servant e.g. a teacher. The government should cease being a guarantor to secure them car loans on four-yearly basis. They should go to the private banks to seek their own loans for cars or whatever, same as Rockson Adofo will have to do if he needed a loan to purchase a car. The preferential treatment for the Do-Littles must stop. Ghana will never move forward with our mentality of always seeking to win elections but not seeking to deliver to ameliorate the collective living standards of Ghanaians.
The MPs draw huge salaries and other benefits. I shall call on the public court to judge them.
Finally, the MPs should not use radio stations to run Ghana. Speak your mind on the floor of parliament during parliamentary debates or discussions. Don’t hurtle to radio stations to propagate your unhelpful views.