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15.05.2009 Feature Article

This is Unacceptable

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Laws are made by man and for man to serve the needs of man, and not the other way round. If our laws, as presently constituted, are not meeting those needs we need to look at them again and amend appropriately. News reports about government business being hindered in parliament should be of concern to well-meaning Ghanaians. I do not agree with suggestions that appointing the majority leader as minister would solve the problem. I think this business of having the same people as legislators and then doubling as policy-makers should stop. Parliament should have its freedom to 'check' the executive (government) from abuses of power and misappropriation of public funds. Parliament should also have the freedom to investigate corruption and make sure the taxpayers' well-being and welfare are protected and preserved at all times.

Yes the NPP started on a good note and then 'poom' it fizzled out. Why? I believe they found themselves in a situation where they could not justify any criminal prosecutions when some members were involved themselves. And what has been parliament's role in all of this? They've been watching from the sidelines so far. Parliament has the power to initiate criminal investigations into activities of the public sector and the executive. If it doesn't, it should. They enjoy benefits and perks that we pay for. So far their output leaves much to be desired. Anytime we raise the issue they tell us “parliamentary work is more that just what you see us do on the floor of the House'

Well we know that and that is why we are demanding more from them. How could they sit there for our hospitals to be in such deplorable state and approve appropriations after appropriations; and loans after loans? Why and how did they approve money for Kufuor's medals???? Or is it the case that the parliamentarians (themselves) are not exactly 'clean'?? Are they in parliament to seek their own interests or the interest of the people of Ghana??

I thought the deplorable state of our hospitals was one of the reasons Rawlings cited for overthrowing the Limann administration, and this was way back in 1981. In fact Rawlings described our hospitals as 'graveyards' After 11 years of P/NDC did the 'graveyards' become hospitals?? If they did, how do we explain what we've been seeing on our TV's lately? What about the 8 years of the Kufuor Administration? How long did it take the NPP to put up the Jubilee House or Palace?? If this is the state of our hospitals after 8 years of the NPP, there are no excuses!! Couldn't we have renovated and re-fitted each of the regional hospitals with state-of-the –art equipment in 8 years?? This is unacceptable and this cannot and should not be justified in any way, shape or form. Why should pregnant women queue for beds to go into labour?? It is criminal!! We should hold our elected officials accountable. This is where the problem arises: there is none with the moral authority; they are all guilty. And that is the problem with our political environment. Politicians stand on platforms and say all sorts of things. The masses, unfortunately, buy into these and follow every word they say. They mess up and you still find people who would defend them at all cost. There has been no Head of State/President who did not have both a good side and a bad side. They all have had some good policies and some bad ones. I guess one could argue that some have had more 'positives' than others and conversely, the 'negatives' of some have overwhelmed their 'positives'. We need to commend them or at least acknowledge when they do right and likewise criticize or condemn when they mess up. The status quo now is inimical to our development. If we become so entrenched in our positions or in our attachment to political parties or individuals, to the extent of clouding our collective judgment, we all stand the risk of 'sinking' together. The only beneficiaries would be the politicians at the end of the day. We would be left in the 'mud' fighting each other and defending stupid, foolish and irresponsible policies whilst the politicians laugh all the way to the bank and enjoy the fruits of their 'mismanagement' with their families.

No matter one's political affiliation, one should be able to objectively discuss issues. It doesn't and shouldn't matter whether a politician is from one's tribe or not. It doesn't and shouldn't matter whether one likes a particular politician very much or not. Our biggest and greatest priority should be mother Ghana. Ghana's interest should be of the utmost importance to all of us. That is what we should be worried and concerned about. There is absolutely no reason or excuses for the current state of our hospitals. Not after 52 years of Independence; and not after all the cocoa money, the gold money, the timber money, money from tourism and the thousand-and-one loans!!! It is simply unacceptable. O yes our politicians would always travel abroad to seek medical care for themselves and their families-using our money. For how long should we, the people, sit and allow such a situation? We should let our public officials/politicians know that they are stewards and we will 'reward' them according to their 'works'. They are in power because majority of Ghanaians decide to put them there. They are there to work on our behalf. Parliament should wake up and do the work we send them over there to do. We, the people, should do more than just 'watch and pray'; we should organize protests marches and demand accountability. We should put pressure on institutions like CHRAJ and the SFO to wake up from their 'slumber'. Allegations of corruptions should be enough for these institutions to initiate investigations. They should not wait for any government directives. We should move away from the Kufuor 'provide proof/evidence' stuff. That really did not make any sense, did it? Shouldn't it be the government's business, on behalf of the people, to investigate all cases of corruption-alleged or otherwise? Let us, collectively, endeavour to tackle corruption head-on. And let us make sure what we saw, of pregnant women queuing in hospitals, would be the last time we see or hear of any such thing. Arise, good people of Ghana, arise!!!

Written and submitted on May 15, 2009
Yaw Opare-Asamoa
[email protected]

Yaw Opare-Asamoa
Yaw Opare-Asamoa, © 2009

The author has 55 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: YawOpareAsamoa

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