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04.11.2019 Opinion

Ghanaian Parliamentary Debate

By Richard Agobodzo 
Ghanaian Parliamentary Debate
NOV 4, 2019 OPINION

It is loud enough to be heard from far away distance. The debate ranges from how to make medical diagnosis using the tongue to prey on the nipples of the female counterpart (breast sucking) to detect breast cancer to biblically spiritual deliverance to heal a gay person. Is this how low parliament can go, what is the next depth?

The parliamentary debate headed by the rantings of Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye is another demonstration of how we as people can't get things right.

The breast cancer detection awareness, a heated political discourse in Parliament, probably ignited by statistical indication of low or high recording of breast cancer cases should not be the business of the Parliament of Ghana.

It ought to be channeled internally and "inter-internally" to the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare. The Ministry itself, seen as authoritative organization, with steep professionalism, cannot frivolously announce to the public the awareness on breast cancer in literal sense of the word.

But surreptitiously rather euphemistically to advise women to make periodically a complete medical examination a habit. Similar advice should allay the reluctance of male counterparts to periodically examine parts of their bodies that are prone to health problems

Ours is the inability to get things done correctly which is a bane on national development. The current speaker of parliament, Professor Nii Mike Ocquaye, per my understanding, is element of political failure. From failed presidential and parliamentary bids to loss of needlessly a useless 2012 election petition hearing led by him

The 2012 election wrangling costs Ghana millions of dollars through live TV coverage and decrease in investor confidence. That is financial loss to the State in all regards

So as the current Speaker, a maximum authority of legislative branch of government, l expect him to use his law knowledge to cement and consolidate weak Ghanaian institutions, including the parliament which will enhance governance translating into good standard of living of the people

One of the problems we have in Ghana is corruption, which Dr. Bawumia has described as deity, holy-ghost or a devil. When you have all the necessary mechanism in place namely the judiciary, executive and legislative at your disposal yet describing corruption fight as devil is acknowledgement of corrupt governance

This is obviously corrupt leadership headed by President Nana Akufo-Addo. The president himself is overwhelmed by governance inefficiency and political corruption always involving government officials. One will be tempted to ask, who is behind these corruptions? The inability to fight corruption has earned the presidency a nickname "clearing space/house". While that of the president is "clearing agent."

The corruption scandals that rock the nation since NPP came to power is like Odaw River or Korle Lagoon (apologies to the victims) overflowing its banks leaving trails of devastations.

Now, unlike brothels where it takes few lessons to run and clients are bound to enter through the back door or window, running a whole nation is far different. When the president announced his commitment to his flagship policy of one village one dam. It is a fateful policy that will drain the swamps.

But NPP men lack the intellectual capacity to carry out the policy. Which would simply consist of targeting perennially flooded areas, diverting them to fill the dams hence solving Circle, Accra flooding - this has not happened.

Parliamentary debates should be centered on important issues. One of the things that annoys me most is how our economic policies always favour foreign companies to the disadvantage of local ones. So it is with government contracts. When it comes to our mineral resources, the paradigm is not different. I cannot explain why we only have to take 10% of our oil revenues while the foreign companies benefit 90%. This is where our parliament has to come in to save the proverbial ass.

Elsewhere parliaments are embodiment of constitutional tools in unwavering application of law. Those parliaments immediately call for investigation of political malfeasance, ill practice and inefficiency when they occur and the culpable are forced to resign or fired, including the president. Does the Ghanaian parliament have the same tradition?

The current Ghanaian parliamentary setting could be described in social science as an "ill-structured problem". In essence, due to badly structured parliament, it finds it difficult to function inefficiently in many fields

The persistently periodic renovation and expansion of numerical strength of members of parliament mainly due to political expediency and economic reasons without regard to constitutional provision clearly indicate its structures are weak. There must be legislation spearheaded by the Speaker to constitutionally put an end to the whimsical expansion of the number of MPs. Such legislation must be extended to limit borrowing, to fighting corruption, abuse of power et al

A cab driver who took me from Kotoka Terminal3, when l flew from north to south of Ghana, described the current parliamentary business as "scrub my back l scrub yours."

From sky Ghana is big and beautiful, especially when flying during the night. The country has space for all. The fear that l would not be able to know every corner of Ghana before my time on earth is over haunts and makes me sick.

Personally, l care very little if we have LGBT in my community or not, at least my exposure abroad might have thought me a little bit of sense. Once they do not infringe on my fundamental human rights. After all, aren't gays Ghanaians too? Also aren't gays better than armed robbers, criminals, above all, family traitors? Then what could warrant this unnecessary bashing from the Speaker.

Speaker of parliament rantings could be political mischief, in that, a voice within the NPP fraternity is anti-gay. The echo of that same voice will be reproduced to further the party's position in electioneering period to close all doors leaving political opponents without rooms to operate when the subject is brought in for debate.

That same voice will target the sympathy of majority of electorate who are obviously anti-gay. In other words, the Speaker is being used as political scapegoat. But he should be savvy enough to know.

But the strategy is dangerous, as any slightest public drifty comprehension of issues can lead to national disaster. The case of Adam Mahama, a major in the army lynched to death on the mistaken suspicion of armed robbery is good example.

And woefully contradictory with the president's initial position when he was interviewed on Ajazeera TV. The ethos of "bound to happen" cannot be erased so quickly even by God. It is inalienably on record. If anything at all the president spoke from the dictates of party's political inclination. Which is liberal democracy.

Just as liberal democracy is synonymous to gayism so is social democracy. Perhaps is worth noting soon after the fourth republic came into force, local political parties jump the gun without even knowing their political orientation.

I am not gayism advocate but defender of rule of law. Our law is universal guarantor or guarantee for freedom and rights.

Now, what exactly does the law professor mean when he observed that the gays cum LGBT community does not have any rights at all? Does it mean there is pre-arranged mechanism in place to eliminate the gays from our society?

Rather the talks of activities of gayism is strange to our society. What values, traditions or customs is he saying, it the existing ones which the gays are also part of, or there is yet to be enacted ones?

Richard Agobodzo
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