General News of Monday, 8 April 2013
Former Asokwa MP Maxwell Kofi Jumah has branded Kwame Gyan, a private legal practitioner as man with a “mental problem”.
His retort follows a suggestion made by the lawyer on Adom FM on April 8, 2013 that all prospective Members of Parliament, must necessarily, in accordance with the stipulations of the 1992 Constitution, demonstrate and show proof of a clean bill of mental health before allowed to contest as a legislator.
Mr. Gyan made the suggestion when he commented on an alleged remark made by the former MP that sought to portray teachers and doctors as second-class citizens to MPs.
Reacting to Mr. Gyan’s comments, the former MP told XYZ News: “I’m not going to go down the gutter with him,” adding that: “obviously he has a mental problem so I’ll just leave it at that”.
Unions including the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Government Hospital Pharmacists Association all got angered by Mr Jumah’s alleged comment.
The comparison game came about during a debate on whether the GHS47m ex-gratia due MPs should have been paid at a time when several labour unions-including teachers, doctors, Pharmacists and judicial service staff-were all up in arms against the government in demand for payments of their salary and market premium arrears amongst a raft of other concerns.
Mr Jumah has since apologised for the comment despite having explained earlier to XYZ News that he was quoted out of context.
However, no sooner had the issue died off than Mr Gyan waded into the matter by proposing that the 1992 Constitutional provision that requires that prospective MPs be of sound mind should be uncompromisingly abided by and enforced.
Article 94 (2) (b) (ii) of the Constitution stipulates that: “A person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he has been declared to be of unsound mind or detained as a criminal lunatic under any law in force in Ghana”.
Mr Gyan who described the comments of some former and serving MPs as “irritating”, charged journalists to “investigate from Parliament’s records whether the MPs have filed evidence of their mental state, because the Constitution says you have to be of sound mind”.
He also admonished journalists who give their platforms to just about anybody to speak on national issues saying there is the need to screen the people who are accorded that privilege because some of them, according to him, “…irritate everybody…it doesn’t matter what party they belong to, they irritate”.
He said: “When you assess the comments of some of them [MPs], you wonder if they are of sound mind”.