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04.02.2019 Feature Article

A Papertiger Housing A Tiger: The Case Of Ghana's Parliament

A Papertiger Housing A Tiger: The Case Of Ghana's Parliament
LISTEN FEB 4, 2019

If we were to rewind the clock into the past, we would have realized that the speeches of the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, honourable Kennedy Ohene Agyepong, are always of grave concern to discerning Ghanaians. With his Ken city media as the aid, a platform is set up to malign and impugn persons. His posture has not only made the house housing honourables an object of ridicule but it has morphed it into a quasi-theater. The conduct of the lawmaker smacks of a bedlamite.

The motivating factor for this unacceptable behaviour is partly due to the legislator’s status in the NPP. He is believed to have the requisite financial mojo for keeping the campaign of the NPP alive till the eve of elections. He doesn’t regard rule of law. He dares everyone including the president. What stupefies most people is the power he wields that makes him a lesser god in the shrine of NPP. Instances are legion where party communicators find it absolutely sweaty to condemn his actions. I can’t hold but to conclude that the party has decided to deify him. The more you dig deeper, the more you would realize how the loud silence of the governing party incessantly arms him with salvos to keep the firing in motion. Whilst it is truism that our excessively partisan parliament has proven to be a toothless bulldog in putting curbs on his reckless utterances, it is also plain that scores of Ghanaians are becoming worried that the catchphrase, “no one is above the law”, is becoming a bogus phrase in the statute books. Conceivably, the laws of the country were crafted to deal with the commoner whilst providing space for the elites to perpetuate illegalities in the full glare of the public. The party must speak up if indeed honourable Kennedy is not beyond reproach. This is not to say that Hon. Kennedy is a citizen whose actions should be tied to the party, but worthy of noting is his symbiotic relationship with NPP.

What was he sent to parliament to do? To make laws and follow the crowd sometimes to pass all caliber of deals. How many times does he attend sessions in a parliamentary year? What are his contributions on the floor of the house? Yet he continues to buy his way into parliament every four years. Expected from the Ghanaian to many including me is to desist from establishing a nexus between grammatical eloquence and performance of a lawmaker. That couldn’t be farther from the truth since we have monetized our constitutional power in making decisions for ourselves. When few notes of cedis, bags of rice and cooking oil appear before the eyes of the Ghanaian voter, everything takes the backburner. Uninformed voters subordinate their legitimate power to avert the putting of square pegs in round holes by falling for the baits of the affluent, and consequently the competent ones are jettisoned. The actions of the MP have brought us to a point where we need to take another look at this booster called immunity that boost the morale of MPs to say all manner of unprintable words on live TV and radio. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, in 2016 had to strip off immunity to prosecution from MPs over what he considered was a step against having a parliament of “guilty lawmakers”.

The Assin Central legislator is also a businessman. He has employed a lot of Ghanaians who hitherto was unemployed, thereby financially empowering people to feed many mouths. Additionally, he pays school fees of needy students and also honour his obligations to the state through the payment of taxes. Superb lifestyle worthy of emulation. He is doing a yeoman’s job, however, can one truthfully conclude that it constitutes enough grounds to disrespect state institutions and laws, insult almost everybody and the blah-blah irresponsible statements he continues to churn out daily in the name of freedom of expression? And does that mean if you are filthy rich, what comes from your mouth must be slanderous? Perhaps the lawmaker has to be told that they are men wealthier than him with wisdom. These famous wealthy people: Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame, Bill Gates of Microsoft incorporated and Warren Buffet of the renowned Berkshire Hathaway, are philanthropies whose innumerable philanthropic works can relegate Kennedy Agyepong’s to the margins yet their speeches move crowd and provoke conscience. When they are on air, many are those who lend them eyes and ears. Riches should humble the one on whom it is bestowed for the bible says in 1 Samuel 2:7 NIV “The lord sends poverty and wealth, he humbles and he exalts”. The bible also talks about pride in Proverb 29:23: “Pride brings a person low but the lowly in sprit gain honour.” Being rich should make one’s book of condolence rich with befitting sincere tributes in your absence. Did I, who is a Bible dilettante, just sermonized all these about someone who is not a tither?

Alhassan Andani Alhassan
Alhassan Andani Alhassan, © 2019

The author has 24 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: AlhassanAndaniAlhassan

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