Feature Article of Sunday, 14 April 2013
Columnist: Sarpong, Justice
If you pay for a goat, you will get a goat and not a cow.Why are the voters in Ghana complaining about the Members of Parliament ex-gratia when they were taking pocket change from them in exchange for their votes? The MP’s are recouping their investments and if there is no money to help flood victims in the Northern and Volta regions, they should not blame anybody but themselves. We have the government we paid for and the voters should share in the blame instead of blaming only the Members of Parliament and the Mahama administration. They sold their conscience when they accepted some inducements from these politicians to vote for them knowing the record of these Politicians in advance, you get what you pay for and we have to accept part of the blame for the problems going on in Ghana. If our Politicians need Psychiatrist evaluation, then the voters in Ghana need to be examined as well because some of them don’t have the intelligence to make informed decisions. “A renowned lawyer and lecturer at the Ghana School of law, Kwame Gyan, has called for a strict enforcement of the requirement that anybody seeking to be a parliamentarian must prove that he is of sound mind.”
I do agree with Lawyer Gyan but he should have gone further in his request for people who should get Psychiatrist test before they can participate in the political process including the voters. Some of these Voters vote are worthless in deciding who should represent us because they lack the basic knowledge of discerning issues from emotional attachments and their votes dilute the true meaming of democracy, sounds like the apartheid South Africa but this is not based on colour but the understanding of the issues.
It might sound discriminately but even in USA, South Africa and other democracies, during the early stages of their democratic dispensation, some classes of people were not allowed to vote because it was thought their understanding of the issues were not up to par and allowing them to vote will not be in the interest of the countries and I think that is what our nascent democracy needs but I am not counting on it. The thriving democracies in the world have large class of educated people which we lack in Ghana and some measures need to be introduced to weed out those whose mental capacity to decide for others so that we don’t end up with some these Members of Parliament we have now.
We have come so far in our educational system and modern discrimination rules will not allow anybody to prevent people who have reached the voting age in Ghana from voting but we have to add a requirement to vote in Ghana by asking people to have a minimum IQ score to vote. Most of our voting population don’t understand the issues including those so called educated Ghanaians if what we read in the forum is a correct gauge of the overall population.Voting on the basis of tribal, sex, handsomeness or beauty of the candidate, age and other characteristics that have nothing to do with how somebody can perform his or her duties is counter-productive to our teething democracy.
Of those seeking Parliamentary seats, the recent vituperations from some of them indicates they need Psychiatrist evaluation. Read what some of them have said recently and you will agree that, some of them lack basic common sense. These People don’t even know when to keep their mouths shut. Knowing the public are against the humongous amount they are receiving as ex-gratia, if they are intelligent, they would have kept their mouths shut and stayed away from the cameras and the news but they are too dumb to know that, instead some of them are trying to convince the public why they should be given this gratuity despite the fact that they have indebted the country to the tune of twenty billion dollars($20billion)
Below quotations from some of these people are true testimonials why they need Psychiatrist evaluation.
the work of a parliamentarian since it is a profession that transforms a person into a borrowing machine in order to survive. She continued that the life of an MP is based on continuous borrowing in order to fulfill the enormous demands of their constituents.“I pity those MPs who couldn’t make it back into parliament…. They owe debts as high as Mountain Afadjato”, — Hon. Gifty Klenam, NDC MP,Lower West Akyem–
“Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, insists that MPs cannot let go of their ex-gratia as it is the means through which they can offset some expenditures that come with their job.”When an MP loses his seat, it is difficult to secure a job because of his or her political branding, so they have nothing to feed on except for the ex-gratia package. Some of us have red accounts, rent and salary arrears, committee allowances that were never paid for 4 years. Add all that to the ex -gratia and nothing is left,” –Kwaku Agyemang Manu, NPP MP, Dormaa Central–
“Alfred Abayateye has made the strongest case yet why MPs should be paid ex-gratia.Those who are crying; when they go to the MPs and they ask the MPs to give them money to go and pay their school fees, to go and have operations and all of those things…Does the constitution of Ghana say that the MP should pay somebody’s child’s school fees? Does the constitution of Ghana say that the MP should pay when you are sick? And if the MP is able to do this for you and by the constitution he is being paid, they are crying for it.” –Alfred Abayateye, Former NDC MP for Sege–
“It is very disheartening that on daily basis MPs are treated like thieves. Why? Have we stolen anybody’s money?” —Kojo Adu-Asare, Former NDC MP from Adenta—
“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.”
–Kofi Jumah, “Former NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Asokwa–
“while calling for a debate on the quantum of money paid as ex-gratia, however argued that many persons who lost their parliamentary seats have seen their careers come to an end because they chose to take up the contract of a legislator.The former Energy Minister in the Kufuor administration said unlike a long term job, being an MP was a short term contract, renewable at the whim of the electorate, and therefore attracted higher compensation due to the risk involved.The former Energy Minister in the Kufuor administration said unlike a long term job, being an MP was a short term contract, renewable at the whim of the electorate, and therefore attracted higher compensation due to the risk involved.”
–Professor Mike Oquaye NPP Former Member of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya–
“The MP bemoaned the situation where MPs find themselves under intense pressure to satisfy numerous demands on them from their constituents.We pay our drivers, maids, rent, buy [their] own fuel and manage your constituency. Ask them how many did not have to borrow money to manage their constituency? Before the end of the month they are broke,” –Rashid Pelpuo, NDC MP,Wa Central–
“In a fit of rage, the NPP firebrand likened the work of a parliamentarian to people who carry faeces or “toilet” in pans on their heads; an undignified job to be precise. –Kennedy Agyapong,NPP Member of Parliament for Assin Central–
“Appiah-Ofori said MPs like any other public servant are entitled to a retirement package therefore “condemning us for what is rightfully ours is quite unfortunate.He indicated that MPs are the poorest people in the country “but the title of honorable makes it very rewarding.MPs pay the school fees, hospital bills, funeral bills among others for their constituents but if you refuse to foot these bills, they will vote massively against you.” –Paul Collins Appiah Ofori,Former NPP Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odobeng- Brakwa.–
Reading through these quotes, the supporters of NPP and NDC have to realise that, these MP’s care only about themselves and not the people who voted for them to represent their interest in Parliament. When it comes to thebenefits going to their pockets, you cannot differentiate between an NDC MP and and NPP MP, they all sing the same tune and dance to the same song, they march in sync like a choreographed Olympics swim dancers.
(CARDINAL of TRUTH)