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General News Wed, 22 Jan 2003

Peter's cloak wins popularity

At the commencement of the third Parliament on Tuesday, Peter Ala Adjetey's new official gown won popularity rather than himself.

His clerk and other senior staff of the house also wore new gowns giving the Speaker's space a colourful look. It is long, greyish with black finishing festooned with traditional symbols including "gye nyame" depicting authority, grace, wisdom and divine guidance.

This time around, it had a cap to match, typical of Westminster peerage and academics. The two youthful leaders, Majority Leader Papa Owusu Ankoma and Minority Leader Alban Bagbin took sometime describing it in poetic language.

“It reminds me of the old Roman Empire. I hope you would not suffer the hardship of wearing this everyday.” Bagbin said.

“This beautiful outfit is a reflection of Ghanaian enterprise. It incorporates our tradition, principles and symbols that represent the present and the future,” Papa Owusu Ankoma said.

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The two statements echoed through the decorated chamber which was bursting at its seams. Vice President Aliu Mahama had paid a visit as it is constitutionally permissible.

The Minority had declared a period of mourning to sympathise with Ghanaians for the recent hike in petroleum prices so they wore red and black apparel. The Speaker's gown was not the only new happening, the rest of the officials who perhaps did not make it the gown maker's shop were clad a light shaded green "kaba and slit" and shirt according to one's gender.

Five parliamentary delegations from the sub-region, Diplomats, Military chiefs, Police and other security chiefs graced the occasion with their colourful outfits that offered a still kaleidoscope.

The panelled walls and the scaffoldings which were draped with the national colours shone magnificently as the lighting system fed it with its beams constantly. The day could have been perfect had it not been the linguistic alienation that the parliamentary press corps suffered.

Though, the twenty-five correspondents could hardly speak or write French, no headphone was supplied to them to grasp what the French-speaking guests had to say. Alice could have had more hope and confidence in her wonderland than the poor Journalists in crowded familiar chamber.

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Bagbin hoped for the day when Ghanaians would no longer vote for a vast majority in Parliament. But Papa prayed for the sanctity of Parliament adding, “whatever the problems may be, we should nurture Parliament.”

Adjetey had to reminisce and declare his inner most feelings. “Mr Predecessor, Justice Francis Annan, said in 1994 that Parliament is here to stay. I am happy to say I share in that faith-an abiding reality."

He still had his gown on after closing the day and as he joined the procession led by the Marshall, mace bearer, members stared hard at him because he personified authority, tradition, antiquity and modernity.

There is a new challenge to the popularity of the man whose intelligence and authority is so overwhelming and it is the gown made for him on his first day in the third Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

Source: gna