By Michael J.K. Bokor, Ph.D.
Monday, June 30, 2014
The distrust and mistrust between the Legislature and the Executive seem to be growing. The Executive has made promises to improve the lot of the MPs but not done so. The MPs Common Fund is one touchy area. So also is the pledge to provide decent office accommodation and staff for the MPs. So far, nothing exists to confirm that the government is really working to support the MPs. Salaries and allowances arte paid, even though the MPs remain the Oliver Twists of our time. On that score, unless the government plays its cards well, it may end up angering MPs, including its own NDC elements, who appear to be spearheading the current show of discontent at measures now being introduced to the detriment of the Legislature. The MPs are complaining that they don’t have offices and the government continues to massage their feelings with promises upon promises.
The delay in the completion of the “Job 600 Complex”, to serve as offices for MPs is a clear instance. The MPs are unhappy that even though a loan of $25 million has already been approved by the House for its completion, nothing is being done to serve their needs. The MPs need offices and will fight to have them. Clearly, everything points to a bad-blood relationship between the government and the Legislature, which the new directive denying the MPs the protocol privileges will reinforce.
Other problems exist. The fuel shortage is one. We have heard about the majority of MPs not being in Parliament because they were out searching for petrol. Business could not be done for that matter as only 60 out of the 275 members showed up for business Thursday. Minority spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, and Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu aired their views on the issue.
It is clear that the situation in the Ghanaian Legislature is not the best—all happening at a time that the Speaker of Benin’s Parliament, Professor Maturi Koffi Nago, has called for regional integration among parliamentarians of member states in the ECOWAS sub-region. As if these Parliamentarians are contributing anything constructive to the development of their own countries to warrant their being recognized and called upon to get together for the good of the entire sub-region. Who feels the impact of any MP anywhere in West Africa?
His claim that the Parliament of Ghana is “an efficient factor for regional co-operation and integration” is more misplaced and ridiculous than the recommendation that it might be thought to be. Ghana’s Parliament is the weakest link the chain of democracy. It hasn’t done anything to improve governance and is known for pursuing an agenda of self-interest. Challenge me with facts to the contrary, if you have them.
So, if we put everything together, where will we be in the near future? In other democracies, the Legislature is the strongest link in the chain because it is the fount of the “people’s power” and does everything to ensure that it is not over-ridden by the Executive and the Judiciary. What is happening in our case in Ghana? Isn’t Parliament itself culpable for anything negative happening to it today?
Over the years, our MPs have not done well to hook us to their cause, which is why we have oftentimes complained and will use every opportunity to do so. A lot of them are known for being "dumb" but enjoying the perks for as long as their status remains intact. And they are those who delight in being referred to as 'HONOURABLE"!!
Dare you mention their names without preceding it with that tag and you will be in hot waters (a few friends have drawn my attention to this ridiculous happening in Ghana)!! That's how they want to be recognized, not by their performance.
Honourable so-so-and-so!! Mere jokers taking undue advantage of the inadequacies of a fledgling democracy.
The truth that these MPs hide from Ghanaians is that they are of the same kind—whether NDC, NPP or whatever. In truth, they are all occupying their positions to make it, and they do things in concert as such.
Let me be blunt here to say that when it comes to their own well-being, they sink their political differences and fight tooth-and-nail to get their bread buttered (usually by arm-twisting tactics to force the Executive to bend back).
But when it comes to petty issues bordering on technicalities, they openly bare their teeth at each other to create the impression that the NPP or the NDC is what the people should see in the right light as fighting their cause.
I have good reason to fault these MPs because they are opportunists who want to use the weaknesses of our democracy to "make it big time".
I have analyzed issues and scrutinized the background of these 275 MPs and can stick my neck out to say that almost all of them have resigned themselves to fate in politics, seeing politics in Parliament as the means to accomplish what their chosen career paths couldn't afford them. If you doubt it, ask yourself why almost all of them are so-called people of "careers", especially lawyers!!
If they could use their chosen career paths to make it in life, why would they fight the Executive over issues of financial nature? Liars, thieves, and murderers they are!!
And sadly, these MPs know the limitations of our democracy, which they are unconscionably exploiting. The same goes for the Executive. In all this nonsense, it is only the Judiciary that stands paralyzed because it has no access to the public funds at the disposal of the Executive and the Legislature.
In reality, our Judiciary is the only “beggar" in the circumstance. That is why it is not as self-assertive as the Executive and the Legislature are. It's all because our democracy is fundamentally faulty (at birth and beyond). Pathetic.
We have even been told that the 1992 Constitution doesn’t secure the tenure of the Chief Justice. Can we, then, not know why there is so much rot in the Judiciary?
I shall return…
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