Your Mandate Is To Govern; Not Schooling

With the rest of the world advancing at a neck breaking speed, you can easily become fossilised like a dinosaur if you don’t maintain the pace with the changing times.

The only way to keep abreast at the hurtling velocity is through learning. I can, therefore, not over emphasise the essence of learning. It is extremely very important. Besides, life is all about learning; it is from the cradle to the grave.

The only time learning ceases is when we permanently close our eyes. Just over a month ago, it came to light that this elixir of human survival is being used as a cover by some of our politicians to walk a fine line at the expense of the electorates. It is obvious that they are hiding behind the fact that no well meaning person will kick against anyone trying to acquire knowledge.

The Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, as a result, made a blistering attack on the perpetrators, which attracted a lot of public interest. At the dedication of an ultra-modern structure put up by the Epiphany Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Wa, he did not mince his words.

He said, ‘How can you hold a governing position, leave your office and go to school? Is Ghana short of graduates?’ He went further to assert that, ‘certain jobs and positions are not for students’, which I felt he nailed it right on the bull’s eye.

However, as expected, some parliamentarians came up in arms in support of their partners in crime who are, without doubt, abusing the position of trust and privilege given them by Ghanaians. This is one of the few times that it pays to hold ones peace and just zip up. This little storm in a tea cup, brewed by the Reverend Professor, is a classic case of Catch 22, damn if you do, damn if you don’t.

The actions of some of our parliamentarians and ministers are simply indefensible. Parliament and Ministerial jobs are not part time jobs for amateurs. They are very serious jobs, which the prosperity of the country depends on. The tax payer does not spend millions of cedis during every election cycle to elect them only to put them back to school. If that is the deal why don’t we get some JSS students to run the country?

If the country is being managed with sterling credentials there wouldn’t be the need for this piece. The fact is , the management of the national economy is not anything to write home about, besides the corruption and the chicanery.

When I read Rev. Amartey’s scathing remarks I had already come across a report on ghanaweb a day or two earlier about a certain MCE who was in breach of his responsibilities to his municipality.

It was alleged that the MCE in the Lower West Akim constituency of the Eastern Region, Hon. George Mensah Akpalu, is only interested in pursuing his education to the detriment of the area under his jurisdiction. And he has not shown the least concern in discharging his duties for a position that many will give up their arm.

Instead, he has been assiduously pursuing a course at GIMPA. It was clear from the piece that the position that is paying for his education does not even comes close to second place in his priorities. He is without doubt enjoying a free ride simply for the buccaneering choice he made by joining the right party.

The outrage I felt quickly petered out. However, what revived the cadaver of my shock was the fact that such reprehensible behaviour can attract aggressive advocacy among some parliamentarians who should know better. Not too long ago, an ex-parliamentarian stirred the hornet’s nest with the statement that doctors cannot compare themselves to our lawmakers.

Though, I find it to be a crass comment, but for the sake of this discourse let us follow it through to its logical conclusion. Obviously, a parliamentary seat is very important in the administration of the nation whether we like it or not. The reality is that their decisions impact on every individual life. The influence of a doctor is limited to the patients under his professional control and council.

In essence, if they do such an august job why should we employ the services of some half baked men and women for such a vital job? Do the managers of the Barclays Premiership or the Bundesliga employ the services of amateurs and part time players to play in their team? They go for the best of the best. Being in parliament or holding a ministerial position can be likened to playing in the Barclays Premiership. Donald Trump is a billionaire; money is immaterial to him. He manages his multibillion real estate empire.

Yet, he wants to be the president of the United States, an office that earns a paltry six figure salary compared to his fortune. The reason is that it is the ultimate job in the world? It is the premiership of all white collar jobs. It is the prestige and the aura, which provides the buzz for a person like Trump. So is the Ghanaian presidency, the parliamentary seats, ministerial positions and what have you.

Again, I will ask the question, why do we have to employ people with unacceptable gaps in their knowledge to manage the nation? For example, in the ongoing cedi crisis one of the alibis they have been offering is that, because the U.S. economy is recovering it is sucking a lot of capital from the periphery, which is fuelling the fast depreciating national currency.

On the other hand, if you study the economics of expansion and contraction, which is euphemistically referred to as boom and bust there is no way you will miss this trend. Capital always chases investment with good returns. When the U.S. economy declined a lot of capital went for commodities like gold diamond and even crude oil to secure their investments instead of the stock market.

This is the main reason why one of our main exports, gold, shot up in price for the past six years. Did they think that the trend was going to continue indefinitely? It was a bubble, and all bubbles burst, which they should have saved for a rainy day. Of course, how could they know that? The fact is they are now going to school to learn some of these basic principles indispensable to governance.

Similarly, when the U.S. economy faulted big time together with rest of the developed economies most people thought that, because U.S. was China’s main trading partner they were also going to be entangled in a messy recession.

Though, that was a possibility, China analysed their options and decided to finance exports to developing countries like Sudan, which kept their factories churning out goods like before. This is the sort of thinking that should have been done by our leaders, which they failed pathetically to the detriment of those who cannot defend themselves.

I have already stated above the indispensability of knowledge. It is also infinite, and without doubt, do not expect our Ministers and Parliamentarians to know everything. That is why the government spend substantial amount of resources on expert advice to help them discharge their duties properly.

However, if you have to come to parliament or hold a ministerial position before you make time to go to school means you are not ready to govern or serve the people who elected you to promote their interest. Besides, such behaviour does not even inspire confidence.

There are certain arguments that are unwinnable, you only make a mess of yourself the harder you try. You just sometimes have to plead for mercy and move on. Clearly, this is the time when the Shakespearean quote ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ comes in handy.

Nevertheless, when Rev. Amartey fired the case into orbit I heard parliamentarians scrapping all corners of their cranium to justify the behaviour of these bad apples among them. And one of the most idiotic comments I heard is that some people can multitask. I don’t think I am applying unfair harsh Western standards here.

However, if despite all the massive briefs that ministers and government appointees have to contend with, in addition to their daily routine, they are still able to make time to go to school then they are definitely not doing their job. Some of this behaviour confirms the fears of the electorates that quite a few of their representatives are just there to make the numbers. No doubt the country is going down the drain.

Finally, let me leave them with this hypothetical scenario. Can they imagine a situation where a decision is needed to be taken by the President and he is nowhere to be found or told that he is gone to classes? How would they feel if they are the receiving end of the falling cedi and they are told that the finance minister is gone to classes while he is needed for a serious decision to be ironed out?

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