Opinions Sun, 5 Mar 2006

Striking Parliamentarians And Our Evolving Democracy

Coupled with what I see as a strike action, I was very much stunned to see Members of Parliament-MPs demonstrating in the city of Accra.

The issue that might have led them to the streets or the strike action is not my prime concern, as I am not in a better position to defend or denounce it due to its constitutionality. What concern me most in this crucial moment of our democratic despensation is this simple question: ARE MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT 'QUALIFIED' TO GO ON STRIKES AND DEMONSTRATIONS?

Debatable as it is, my fervent hope is that, at the end of this article, there should be a more PATRIOTIC approach to such issues as the one which led them to the streets. that is even if they have such a right.

I have seen and heard politicians calling Teachers, Doctors, Nurses, etc. all sorts of names and in some instances threatening to fire them if they persist in thier strike actions. WHY NOT? Because such acts are inimical to Nation building, and they are right.

Most people have taken part in strike actions and demonstraions with the view that it is the only to be heard and have thier grievances and agitations redressed.There is no argument about the fact that strike actions and demonstrations are constitutional rights to be exercised, albeit as a last result and in a more CIVILISED manner.

However, to be very honest personally, I have never seen our SECURITY AGENCIES viz. the military, the police, etc. staging a demonstration or strike actions. If this is assertion is true then, I think, even though such acts are permitted by the constitution, it is very DANGEROUS for some institutions to get involved.THE REASON?

So as not to COMPROMISE THE SECURITY/DEMOCRACY of the Nation you and I claim to love so very much.

Against this backdrop, drafters of constitutions in their wisdom have created an avenue where the aforementioned institutions can channel their grievances and agitations leaving the nation's security intact.

Since our MPs play no a mean role in sustaining and maintaining the SECURITY/DEMOCRACY we cherish so much in the country, everybody in his /her right sense of mind would classify them in the same group as our Security Agencies and as such forbid them to STAGE DEMONSTRATIONS OR STRIKE ACTIONS.

Anyone who wishes to play the devil's advocate could ask why not our MPs? My simple answer will be; for the sake of their EMPLOYERS. Parliamentary Candidates may choose to run on the ticket of Political Party or go solo. In either way, not until the electorates (their EMPLOYERS) give them that POWER, they would not become MPs and enjoy all the privileges - CAR LOANS, ALOWANCES ETC. and the title they cherhis most. (HONOURABLE). In their dealings, therefore, they must always have the aims,interests and aspirations of the electorates at the backs of their mind.

The fact that, the STRIKING MPs belong to the NDC which is considered as the government-in-waiting seems to be spelling disaster for our infant democracy and denial of the faith reposed in them by the electorates. The NPP must also be castigated for taking similar stance during the reign of NDC, however, if the NDC are using it as a pay-back tool, then KOO MIRE was right to have always asked his SEDATCO students; ARE WE SAFE? It means that this nasty scenario will continue unabated throwing the efforts we made in bringing the RULE OF LAW back into the country as against DITACTORSHIP RULE to the dogs.

The position of our STRIKING MPs can be put in the same vien as a lawyer who was hired to defend a murder suspect. As the case proceeds, this lawyer furiously left the court premises accusing the lawyer of the plaintif of bashing him with the very LAWS they both studied at school for court proceedings, leaving his client (the suspect) to fend for himself. Would such a lawyer continue to attract clients? BIG NO.

In sports, a coach who always calls his team off the field of play for petty reasons will not only lose his worth but brings the game to disrepute. Also, a good is the one who stands toe to toe to his opponent (in the ring) throws, absorbs and counter punches to win a match to the pleasure of his supporters, BARIMA AZUMA NELSON DOES.

A good MP therefore should be the one who stands shoulder to shoulder, 'jaw to jaw' against all odds to get the job he/she was sent to accomplished.

The striking MPs should be reminded that, they are doing a great disservice to the nation and are setting a bad precedent for posterity. As such, all democratic loving Ghanaians should condemn such acts in no uncertain terms. Those who persist in such acts should be voted against in any general elections. we need TO MOVE FORWARD AND ALLOW THE RULE OF TO FLOURISH.

As I wind up, it is my plea that we bring some flair and decrom into our body politik. The word opposition (which sounds like a diatribe, creating perpetual dichothomy between our politicians whose common goal is to bring good governanace, peace prosperity etc.to a common people ) should either be discarded or use sparingly in reference to parties outside of government to stem the political acrimony which is drawing us back as a nation.In the western democracy, parties are more often addressed by their names; LABOUIR, CNSERVATIVES, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, CDU, SPD, THE GREENS, REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS etc. Our Politicians must learn to COMMEND, COMPLIMENT and CRITISISE CONSTRUCTIVELY at the right time to make parliamentary delibrations a delight to be part of.

Dear MPs, be the HONOURABLE that you claim to be and respect the duty you have been assigned by your EMPLOYERS and STRIKE NO MORE.

PS; Could those with the right to demonstrate do so in a more CIVLISED manner to minimise cost of policing?.

If the recent demonstrations really cost US a BILLION CEDIS, how much will 5 cost? How many lives could be saved with that amount?

And could the NPP MPs still justify why they should go ahead with the $30 million PRESIDENTIAL PALACE whilst there are other begging needs? MPs shoud stop toying with the lives of their EMPLOYERS.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Oduro, Kwasi Mensa