TALKING DRUM: A caution note to Parliament, go and sin no more!

“There is just so much hurt, disappointment and oppression one can take. The line between reason and madness grows thinner,” says Rosa Parks. When the woman nicknamed the First Lady of Civil Rights said this, she probably must have had Ghana in mind. Indeed, there is so much hurt, disappointment and oppression in our country that I recently have told a couple of friends how frustrated I am. So, when I published my article dubbed “‘Obama’- From High School Sports reporter to National Best Sports Journalist” on February 15, 2019, I said to myself not to worry over national issues. Perhaps, not anymore. Why, you ask? No matter the sense you pump into your articles that demand that someone reads to effect change, it appears nobody cares even if they read. If it were so, the National Disaster Management Organization [NADMO] would have sensibly implemented suggestions I made to them on the recent earth tremors recorded in some parts of the Greater Accra Region. As Rosa Parks said, the line between reason and madness grows thinner, I have advised myself not to burden myself anymore by overly reasoning about Ghana. I fear going mad! Little wonder I was not part of those Ghanaians who felt let down by the Parliament of Ghana for observing a minute of silence for the victims of New Zealand’s terrorist attack and those of Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. That is the nature of the average Ghanaian. We do what is inspected instead of what is expected. We would want others praise us even if it takes walking over our own to receive such [international] praises. Monitoring the Ghanaian media on Monday, March 25, 2019, a barrage of missiles of criticisms were fired at Parliament for snubbing the victims of the road accidents of Ampomakrom, near Kintampo [in the Bono East Region] and those of Ekumfi-Dunkwa in the Central Region. The two separate vehicular accidents which occurred on the same day, Friday, March 22, 2019 left over 60 people dead. For those who felt they were let down by their parliamentarians, they had and still have every right to feel so. These disappointed Ghanaians still have the right to bash Parliament. Of a truth, the reason given by the House on why it did not mention the Kintampo-Ekumfi-Dunkwa victims while it paid tributes to those of New Zealand and elsewhere does not make sense. “The honourable member who had already filed a statement had to go outside [of Parliament] because of what occurred in her constituency and leadership agreed that she must be the appropriate person to lead the statement in this honourable House,” reported the Ghana News Agency [GNA]. It was the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, speaking.

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Whereas Professor Oquaye tried quenching the public’s fire of baptism on them, I think his explanation rather aggravates Parliament’s initial failure to pay the said tribute. To say leadership of Parliament agreed that MP for Kintampo South, Ms. Felicia Adjei, must be the appropriate person to lead the statement in the House was/is a nonstarter. This was just a matter of ‘book long things’, Mr. Speaker. Though you may be right, as Member of Parliament for the Damongo Constituency in the Savanna Region, Adam Mutawakilu, has said, I do believe the dots cannot be connected properly. Mr. Mutawakilu told TV3‘s New Day on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 that what happened was ‘procedurally right.’ However, Mr. Speaker, at that instance you paid tribute to others of elsewhere while your own people were at the mortuary, whether Ms. Felicia Adjei was in Parliament or not did not matter. No one can convince me that Ms. Felicia Adjei was the right person to have briefed the House. Why? Just because the accident occurred in her constituency or that she was tasked to do so? Why wait for her to return to Parliament before deliberations could be made? If she was really needed why could you not have reached her on phone or via Skype to still connect with Parliament? Or, Parliament frowns on technology? Where was the Transport Minister, who, I think, should have even been the best person to have led the House to pay tribute to the accident victims? “The written speech that was read on the floor of Parliament in memory of the catastrophes in Mozambique, Malawi and New Zealand was one which had already been approved by the Speaker to be read on Monday [March 25],” paraphrases Mr. Mutawakilu, “something he [Mutawakilu] said could not have been altered.” Really? This could not have been altered because the situation at hand was as instructive as the story of God, the Ark and Uzzah as captured in 2 Samuel 6:1-7? Please, let no man get me wrong that I tend flouting the laws of Parliament. Never! And, again, let no man bother say I do not understand parliamentary proceedings. Undeniably, I do not holistically understand the House’s operations. From afar, I think that, at times, logical reasoning should complement strict laws. So to say, once the House established that Ms. Felicia Adjei was absent from Parliament and that her presence was paramount, there was no need following procedures. Hence, all other tributes should have been suspended. Are we to believe that nobody in Parliament thought that following procedures could get the public annoyed as they did? Anyway, what is in a tribute to the dead when the very people we vote for tend to think mainly about themselves and do little to better the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian?  On November 9, 2018 when I wrote an article dubbed “Ras Mubarak’s dry bicycle joke”, I chastised the Member of Parliament for Kumbungu. He had, out of dirty propaganda, ridden bicycle to Parliament and said how surprised he was seeing the dangers bicycle and motor riders face on our roads. Probably because he drives his car on the sea, it was the first time he was appreciating the dangers riders face. But, what did he do afterwards to get our roads to be safer for motorists? Nothing! Personally, I no longer have hope in most of our politicians; whether in government or opposition. They all care but for themselves. Had the son or daughter of any Member of Parliament died in the Ampomakrom-Ekumfi-Dunkwa accidents, we would not have heard their long talk of procedures. You remember how a deputy minister was recently airlifted from his accident scene? If our politicians― most of them I must say― remain that selfish, some of us would think of Ghana the way the vulture said of his wife. That, “I’m indifferent about my wife’s sickness. If she recovers, my wife still she’s. But if she doesn’t make it, her carcass will serve as dinner.” Well, it is 12:42am as I write this. Let me find a place to lay my head. However, someone should tell Parliament that the anguish expressed by the public should be considered a caution note to them. They [public] could be angrier the next day. This is but just a humble advice. By Solomon Mensah The writer is a broadcast journalist with Media General [TV3/3FM]. Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, represent the editorial policy of his organization. Email: [email protected]
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