General News of Thursday, 4 April 2013
Source: Joy Online
Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Asokwa, Kofi Jumah has said medical doctors and teachers cannot compare themselves with MPs because MPs are on a higher pedestal compared to the two professions.
He was responding to public outcry about the payment of $100,000 ex-gratia to former MPs like himself, at a time when teachers and doctors are agitating for the payment of salaries and allowances they have worked for.
On Adom FM morning show, Dwaso Nsem this morning, some Ghanaians, including one Ebo Koomson, phoned in to make contribution and they registered their disapproval for the colossal amount being paid to the former MPs, while the government is asking doctors and teachers to wait because there is no money to pay their allowances yet.
Mr. Jumah did not take kindly to the complaints, and in a rather strong tone he said “in terms of hierarchy doctors and teachers are not equal to an MP in the same way the MP is not equal to the President.”
“If you are doctor is the MP your co-equal, if you are teacher is the MP your co-equal,” he asked passionately.
The former MP said Ghanaians would have to learn to respect MPs and Parliament because it is the same doctors, teachers, and other professionals who become MPs, adding that it is wrong for people to keep comparing MPs to doctors and teachers as if they are equals.
He explained that Parliament comprises of various citizens with various backgrounds who have excelled in their various life careers and have been chosen by their communities to go to Parliament and make laws, so such persons could not be compared with teachers and doctors.
Kofi Jumah however stated that he believes doctors and teachers deserve more than they are being paid, adding that “I would urge the doctors and teachers to ask for more because government has been able to pay former MPs $100,000 ex-gratia.”
But Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt said as much as Parliament has some of the finest professionals, there are some MPs who also contribute nothing to debates in Parliament and do not represent their people well because they do not have what it takes to do Parliamentary work.
He described those kinds of MPs as ‘enwura’ in Akan, which means “rubbish” and the former Asokwa MP Kofi Jumah agreed with him.
Kwesi Pratt said such MPs cannot be compared with doctors and teachers in terms of qualification and achievements.
He explained that whereas it takes a rigorous and strict procedure for one to qualify a medical doctor, there are no strict criteria for becoming an MP and so sometime people who have no clue about Parliamentary work and do not even understand the language used in Parliament find their way into the house.
Kwesi Pratt therefore disagreed with Kofi Jumah that doctors and teachers cannot compared themselves to MPs.
Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Association of Teachers, Peter Korda said teachers are not taking kindly to the former MPs comments, and that they would meet and make a former request on him to render an apology for his comments.