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14.02.2009 Feature Article

Parliamentarians or Pharisees? Beware of the national 'blood suckers'.

The hypocrisy of 'SOME' (allow me to use some in capital letters because this article does not apply to all parliamentarians) of our politicians especially our parliamentarians is quiet baffling if not shocking. A few weeks ago when the issue of the ex-gratia came out, we were made to believe that the Chinery-Hesse report was a given parliamentary ascent through the back door in Parliament. The focus was the on the Ex-President for his possible involvement in the whole issue. Some Parliamentarians came out publicly to lambaste the way the matter was handled.

However, what some of us did not know was the fact that the ex-gratia awards would not only benefit the ex-presidents but would also fatten the bank accounts of former parliamentarians. Some of our parliamentarians were trying to claim 'good face' (acting like Pharisees) in the whole issue whilst they will stand to benefit at the same time from the deal. Whilst some of them sere criticising President Kufuor, they were still relishing the prospects of the cashing their cheques 'Nicodemosly'.

Others were bold to declare that the review ordered by President Atta-Mills is unconstitutional hence they will contest it in court. Hmmmm! I don't have any problems with that but what the voiceless and suffering Ghanaian populace are asking for is that what ever the ex-gratia is, it should commensurate our national wealth.

President Mills promised to reduce fuel prices he has not been able to do that because this will cripple the economy, teachers who were posted to the Sawla-Tuna- Kalba district in the Northern region have threatened to embark on a sit- down strike over unpaid salaries. Korle-Bu is in shambles amongst others and yet our parliamentarians most of whom are arm-chair legislators and mere spectators of parliamentary proceedings that is if they attend to the business of the house are yearning to claim 'fat' pay cheques for their extra gratia awards. This is tantamount to what a friend of mine refers to as 'blood sucking'. They are flourishing at the expense of the poor tax payer. Take a critical look at previous parliaments in the fourth republic. One of the first things they approve of in parliament is their car loans ($20,000) for every parliamentarian. Just multiply that by 230….

It seems for most of our MPs the word sacrifice is not in their dictionary. Some of them come to parliament not because they really want to help alleviate poverty in their constituencies, but to pursue their personal agenda. A few days ago, President Umaru Musa Shehu Yar'Adua of Nigeria decided to cut down his pay and personal benefits. Considering the level of corruption in Nigeria I think the President's actions will set a good tone to fight this menace if not to eliminate it.

We have to learn to sacrifice a little for Ghana and this must start from the top. A top-down approach will help us move Ghana forward if we are to make Ghana a force in the world. Our MPs must understand that going to Parliament is a call to serve the nation and their constituents and not to enrich their pockets. Some of them are acting as though they were forced to accept the opportunity to go to Parliament when in fact they went from house to house and community to community begging for votes.

Our 'honourable' MPs should please the right thing by allowing President Mills to review the ex-gratia package we are sick and tired of the 'blood sucking' politics in Africa and Ghana for that matter.

Enough is enough.

Thank you.

(This writer is always asking intuitive questions that will aid national development. My objective is to see a 'corruption free' Ghana where people are given equal opportunities to excel irrespective of their tribe, colour, creed, religion, gender or age. Join Kweku Objective on this crusade) God Bless you!
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Kweku Afful
Kweku Afful, © 2009

This author has authored 32 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwekuAfful

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