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Opinions Thu, 13 Jan 2011

Re: We can’t pay research assistants from our pockets

Re: We can’t pay research assistants from our pockets – Minority Leader

At times you read about what happens back home with our politicians especially MPs and you find it difficult to understand if we really understand the so-called democracy that we believe we are practicing. The Minority Leader’s comments to the effect that MPs have parted with their research assistants because they cannot support their up keep in terms of salary and remuneration from their pockets (myjoyonline Wednesday news) is an indication that we really have a long way to go with our democracy.

The first issue is, the MPs need aides or personal assistants and not research assistants because they are not doing any research in parliament as we all know. They are mandated to make laws for Ghana and if they need to get involved in research of some sort to help them with the legislative debate in the house, they can make a law to set up a research fund, as they have for MP’s development or common fund. So that if an MP has an idea and needs to conduct any kind of research, s/he can submit a proposal to solicit money from that fund. If approved, s/he will then have the money to budget for the salary and remuneration for a research assistant. They don’t need to pay research assistants from their own pockets. If they really care about Ghana, they can slash down their so-called personal emoluments and devote some of the money for MPs research.

They make laws for ex-gratia, personal emoluments and what have you for themselves, why can’t they make laws to set up research funds for MPs if they really want to conduct research?

In any case the research culture in Ghana is non-existence. No wonder we travel to Britain and other countries to learn about our own people and culture. We don’t know who we are because we are not investing in research.

I don’t agree with the Minority leader’s explanation. They are not interested in any research and the excuses they are giving are flimsy. They should give us a break.

Source: Bismark Sarfo, PhD (bsarfo@msm.edu)

Columnist: Sarfo, Bismark