A Renowned legal practitioner and lecturer at the Ghana School of Law is sure to court the displeasure of the country’s law-making body following his demand that all aspiring Members of Parliament (MPs) must be made to go through psychiatric evaluation as required by law.
Lawyer Kwame Gyan is unsure if any of the 275 MPs has undergone mental screening to prove whether he or she is of a sound mind since he believes some parliamentarians do not season their speech with salt.
In perhaps a direct reference to remarks by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) former MP for Asokwa, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, the renowned lawyer expressed disgust at how some legislators conduct themselves in the media when given the platform to share their views on national issues.
To him, it is high time appropriate authorities insist every aspiring MP submits a clean bill of mental health before being allowed to file to contest since utterances of some former and current MPs is “irritating”.
His outburst comes on the heels of public outrage over comments by the former NPP MP, who, in defending government’s payment of MPs gratuity, asserted “medical doctors and teachers cannot compare themselves with Members of Parliament because MPs are on a higher pedestal compared to the two professions”, thus they should not expect to be paid equally.
MPs, who served in the 5th Parliament of the Fourth Republic, have been paid in excess of 39 million cedis as end of service benefits. Those who lost their seats will each take home Ghc311, 000 while those who retained their seats will each get Ghc277, 000.The payment was said to have been done in three installments ending March 2013.
This has received a lot of public outcry and also attracted massive condemnation especially in the wake of the agitations for better conditions of service and salary arrears by University Teachers, Doctors, Pharmacists and Judicial Service staff.
The former Asokwa MP has since apologized for his comments, though.
Nonetheless, Lawyer Kwame Gyan, speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show, posited that the new exalted positions that MPs have attained, does not make them better human beings than the ones who taught them.
“Some students I’ve taught are High Court Judges and they call me ‘Sir’ when I am in court. Is Kofi Jumah saying he is more important than me because he is an MP? What qualification does one need to become an MP; just a citizen of Ghana age eighteen (18) and of sound mind? I don’t even think most of the MP’s have tested the soundness of their mind,” he said
Wondering how many of the 275 Parliamentarians have clearance certificates from a psychiatrist regarding their mental aptitudes, the law lecturer was of the strong opinion that the former MP’s comment was unnecessary and left a bitter taste in one’s mouth.
“How many of them have medical clearance indicating that they are mentally sound? The constitution says you must be of sound mind, so they (MP’s) must all provide certificates from a psychiatrist that they are not demented. Even when you are applying for a job, you are required to undergo medical checkup. Who subjected these MPs to psychiatric evaluation to find out whether they are of a sound mind before their election into Parliament? All the 275, how many can prove they have clearance from the Chief Psychiatrist?
“It is a constitutional requirement for them (MP’s) to show whether they are of sound mind. How would we know the sound ones among them? Are you sure they are correct (mentally)? Do you think if some are of a sound mind they will utter such statements?” he rhetorically asked