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06.01.2005 Feature Article

The end of a drama

The end of a drama
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A GNA colour by Samuel Osei-Frempong

Accra, Jan. 6, GNA - Somewhere in the vast fields of Osu, 200 people, who consciously defined the storyline of a nation's drama saw the curtain drawn on their last performance.

It is called Parliament and the people, who took its stage, were chosen for four years and no more.

Along this long and short journey, they recount the happy and sad days, friends they met and friends they lost.

They remembered the battles they fought and the fun they had; the level of maturity displayed by the 76-year old Mr J.H. Mensah, the oldest member and the naivety and courage of Mr Dominic Nitiwol, 25, the youngest.

They clustered around a symbolic metallic relic called the Mace, observed a set of rules called the Standing Orders and looked up to the judgement of a referee called the Speaker.

But the days when disagreement engulfed the House are less remembered than the days when unity ruled their passions and desires. The central pillars of this drama were the Speaker, the Majority and Minority.

There were moments when the Speaker Peter Ala Adjetey's whip attracted the fury of members.

He sometimes engaged in a monologue and when he is in flight, he employs humour, eloquence and elitist legal jargons, sometimes lighting up half of the House and numbing the other.

In the famous Wulensi suit issue, he scolded Mr Alban Bagbin, the Minority Leader, for allegedly divulging an official correspondence he had with him on the Wulensi case but furious Mr Bagbin insisted that the Speaker had his facts wrong.

Mr Bagbin's army of backbenchers led a walkout leaving the entire House half-full.

For more than a year, youthful Samuel Nyimakan, the MP for Wulensi, had been entangled in a fierce legal battle to hold on to his seat.

Mr Nyimakan did not muster enough courage to enter the main Chamber even as he sought a review in the Supreme Court's unfavourable ruling.

His fears were that the Majority members might taunt him and embarrass him so he strolled around the lobby and used to board the lift to the coffee shop to socialise with friendly people.

Mr Bagbin describes him as a "loyal and innocent fellow that I must protect".

Mr Nyimakan is the type who normally enters unnoticed and only grins when others were laughing out their tongues and teeth.

The ripples of the Dagbon crisis also swept through the Chamber creating division rather than unity among them.

This mystery, which saw the most brutal mass murder in the country's recent history, had had its strands woven into all aspects of Ghana's national life.

As they argued with each other, tales of molestation and death made rounds in the corridors and Chamber of the House.

Imageries of soldiers soaked in their own sweat with their leather boots trampling, subduing and flattening the threads of the savannah grass of Dagbon were clearer than ever.

Ensuing long hours of curfew threw the people of Dagbon, where the cicada makes piercing sounds at night, the land where the elderly tell sacred folklore during moonlit nights, into a land of hermits.

The May 9 2001 Stadium Disaster created a sad day on the Parliamentary Calendar as members abandoned their scheduled daily business for a bigger debate outside its Chamber.

The 60 members, about half the number of those that slammed to their death in the nation's worst football disaster, who were present in the House a day after the incident suspended sitting after spending 10 minutes and trooped to various hospitals where both the wounded and the dead laid.

Ghanaians, especially, Accra Metropolitan dwellers could not afford a nap through that fateful Wednesday night as horrifying tales of death, exhaustion, injury and anxiety pinned almost every piece of news that made the rounds.

Many Long queues of grief stricken people waiting patiently to identify their dead at the 37 Military Hospital Morgue, where some 106 corpses laid, met the Speaker's convoy.

Accra Sports Stadium, which hold those memories still stand at a distance seemingly pleading not guilty to a charge of complicity in a tragedy Ghanaians would always remember with tears.

These are the few scenes of a long winding drama in which the actors played their roles responsibly.

When they prayed they asked God to "inspire and strengthen our people that they may give time, thought and sacrifice to speed the day of the coming beauty of Ghana and Africa".

But only a few gave thought and admiration to the role they played in the shaping of the story of a people, who are so difficult to please.

As the sand runs through the hourglass, so were their days in this cool arena where sweat, fatigue and little comforts were their lot.

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