36
Opinions Sat, 16 May 2009

Even the Saints had the Cars

I had always dismissed my cynical friend’s oft-repeated assertion that in Africa, everything was possible, until I heard over the weekend that Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, incumbent Minority Leader in Ghana’s Parliament was also keeping one of the ‘stolen’ state cars.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu actually returned a Peugeot 607 car he had in his possession after a Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa issued an ultimatum to former state officials and their ‘hungers-on’ in possession of state cars to return them.

For the purposes of this article and for a proper contextualisation of the subject matter, I would want to centre the phrase ‘theft’ on the definition offered in the English Law, thus “A person is guilty of theft, if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it”.

Readers should also note that stealing or theft also means “the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent”.

In fact, when I heard the news that ‘Saint’ Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had also been keeping one of the cars, I was shocked to my marrows. That the Minority Leader also kept one of those luxury cars with the intention of possibly ‘getting ownership of our property transferred to his name’ would have been impossible if the third term Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame really means well.

I am sure some readers would begin to wonder whether the Minority Leader is indeed a third term MP – but it’s true, this is his third term in the Ghanaian Legislature.

However, the Suame MP only came to ‘fame’ (or is it infamy) for his rather saintly posturing and all-knowing behaviour during the ‘vetting’ of President Mills’ ministerial nominees!

The MP became ‘famous’ for various reasons, prominent among them was his use of very complex language – remember ‘bogus and capricious? He was also very harsh and described some of the nominees as ‘belligerent and bellicose’! Ghanaians love ‘big’ English, huh! He also sounded very informed, confident, well prepared and showed depth on almost every subject matter that came before the vetting committee.

Nevertheless, seriously, who would have thought that a man, who presented himself as a saint, especially during his time as Deputy Chair of Parliament’s Appointment Committee, could have event dreamed of annexing one of those cars? If you followed how he carried himself during the vetting process, you would think that at least he was above board – but no, he is just one of those people in opposition who can simply not come to terms with the fact that their party has lost power.

‘Saint’ Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu’s presentations and questioning procedure at the vetting session almost deceived Ghanaians. He was so loud and sounded very critical that I almost forgot that indeed he was the deputy Majority Leader in the last Parliament.

The man was in Parliament when ex-MP and drug baron, Nana Eric Amoateng was busted in the US for drug trafficking. They all ensured that Amoateng continued to earn his salary, under a crazy alibi that he was only a suspect!

The ‘Saint’ was also in Parliament when the Ghanaian government was hoodwinked into contracting a US$5 billion ‘IFC’ loan from a wayside hairdresser’s salon on the Hammersmith Road in London. It took some brave journalists to expose and stop our sloppy Parliament on that ‘deal’. Anyway, since some money was sunk into a so-called due diligence on that façade of a loan, could the previous leadership of the Legislature and the entire house be cited for ‘causing financial loss to the state’?

The ‘Belligerent and Bellicose’ Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was also in parliament when another phantom CNTCI loan deal was almost pulled off our eyes! He never uttered a word, criticising any of those con escapades of his Legislature.

Worse still, when the issue of the former Speaker, Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes ransacking his official residence came up, it was as if through Satan’s design, ‘Saint’ Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was put in charge of a committee (ko num tea), which was to determine whether the former Speaker really stole the items or not. Anyway, a report of that ‘ko num tea’ has been presented and I can bet my ‘bottom pesewa’ that the ‘Saint’ and his cronies would say Sekyi-Hughes was not a thief after all!

I must stress again that the Suame MP was one of those mute (mumu) MPs during the eight odd years of the previous government’s rein. Which meant, everything was right during the Kufuor regime – and now that the tables have turned (of course people have begun paying their own bills) everything is wrong in Ghana!

I have said consistently that Ghanaians have only one MP. He is Mr P.C. Appiah Ofori from the Asikuma-Odobeng-Brakwa constituency in the Central Region – the others are just jokers, cocaine lords and insurance fraudsters!

The lesson I think Ghanaians should learn from the behaviour of ‘Saint’ Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is that, Ghanaian politicians only cry foul when they are in opposition. Because in opposition, you pay the bills yourself, while in government everything, including the crazy doll outs on those ‘nyate nyate’ Legon girls is paid from state kitty!

Whether the politician is from the NDC or NPP, they are all there for their stomachs – just listen to the argument being thrown about by the Presidential Spokesman, Mr Mahama Ayariga, that ‘the numbers on a presidential trip no longer matter’. Does that synchronize with their pre-election ranting?

Therefore, readers, even the saints had wanted to appropriate the state cars after all, save the bravery of Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwah. I think that if you were not thinking upside down, you would not want to buy a super expensive state car at a knock down price. Do all those politicians (including ‘Saint’ Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) who claimed that they were keeping the cars in expectation of being granted a pass to transfer ownership to their names want to say that they do not know where cars are sold in Ghana?

Anyway, it is true that the tables have turned and ‘Saint’ Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is also going to pay all the bills like I do. He is also going to endure the horrendous Accra hold-ups like everybody else – so he would open his eyes and see things properly. ‘Saint’, I would advice that you should just pray that the NDC also misbehaves as your party did while at the helm of power. Just pray that they share among themselves, those properties your looting brigade left behind. That way, my gullible brothers in the Motherland might just vote you back to power – should that happen, you and your friends can come back and ‘chop’ our money ‘waa waa waa’.

Meanwhile, if you live in a glasshouse don’t throw stones! In addition, if you happen to read this piece, don’t hesitate to share it with your enemies in the NDC – they need the advice too!

Source: Kojo Owusu-Mbire

Email: owusumbire@gmail.com

Columnist: Owusu-Mbire, Kojo