Opinions Mon, 16 Oct 2017

Carlos Ahenkorah behaved like Nii Lante Vanderpuye

His allegedly gross misbehavior vividly and luridly recalled for me the equally gross misbehavior of Mr. Nii Lante Vanderpuye. I am here, of course, referring to the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Tema-West, Mr. Carlos Ahenkorah (See “Carlos Ahenkorah’s Six-Month Suspension ‘Insignificant’ – Kyei-Baffuor” Graphic.com.gh / Modernghana.com 9/7/17). I followed his very cantankerous and controversial parliamentary contest against Naa Torshie-Addo, if memory serves me accurately, and so I am not surprised to learn that there has been absolutely no let in the misbehavior of Mr. Ahenkorah, even nearly a year after he was voted into power as the substantive Member of Parliament for Tema-West on the ticket of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Like the former Deputy Local Government Minister, under the Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who rudely and stubbornly stood in the path of bulldozers contracted by the Okoh Vanderpuije mayoralty to demolish some illegally constructed houses and hazardous structures erected in some riverbeds, on grounds that demolishing these structures would cause the Mahama government to become unpopular and consequently lose the 2016 general election, Mr. Ahenkorah is widely alleged to have organized an army of protesters to obstruct and/or prevent a local government task force charged with demolishing unauthorized buildings and other structures on a site called the Cocoa Village, near Tema Community Two, where new housing facilities are due shortly to be constructed for workers and staff of the Ghana Cocoa-Marketing Board or Cocoa Board, from doing their job.

I still prefer the old colonial name of Ghana Cocoa-Marketing Board to the patently vacuous and cynical Rawlings-era re-designated Ghana Cocoa Board or COCOBOD, for short, because fundamentally speaking, the CMB continues to be largely a commodity-marketing state-owned enterprise, in very much the same shape and function as the erstwhile British colonial administrators left it on March 6, 1957, that is, approximately some 60 years ago.

Well, in the case of Mr. Lante Venderpuye, the former Deputy Local Government Minister, who presently serves as the National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for the Odododiodio Constituency in Central-Accra, preventing the legitimate demolition of hazardous residential structures, in order to ameliorate the seasonal deadly flooding of the Accra Metropolitan Area, did not garner for then-President John Dramani Mahama the desired electoral votes, the Bole-Bamboi chieftain still resoundingly lost the 2016 presidential election.

It is, however, quite obvious that Mr. Vanderpuye, who was stiffly challenged by one of the famous Bannerman Brothers, may well have remarkably benefited from his regressive stalling of a central government-sponsored project that was sensibly aimed at healthily protecting residents of Central-Accra from the deadly annual flooding of the Ghanaian capital.

The new Akufo-Addo cabinet appointees for Housing and Public Works, the Environment, Local Government and the Mayor of Accra and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) have a bounden obligation to ensure that residential zoning laws in cities, towns and villages throughout the country are rigidly enforced without fear or favor or the cynical recourse for cheap political point-scoring in the short term. The long-term interests of the nation must be jealously guarded.

I also perfectly could not agree more with Mr. George Kyei-Baffuor that Mr. Ahenkorah needs to be promptly and seriously sanctioned by the Parliamentary Privileges and Disciplinary Committees. Mr. Ahenkoah’s six-month suspension is merely tantamount to pouring ice-cold water on a rubber duck, as it were.

For instance, his share of the MPs Common Fund could be slashed in half for at least one-full fiscal year or totally withdrawn from him for a clearly specified temporal span. And for good measure, Mr. Ahenkorah needs to be invited to the Flagstaff House for a dressing down, for so rudely and flagrantly attempting to selfishly stall the government’s development agenda.
Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D