Entertainment of Sunday, 28 June 2015
REGGAE MUSICIAN and host of Taxi Driver show on Accra-based Hitz FM, Abubakar Ahmed, popularly known as Blakk Rasta, on Thursday took advantage of his encounter with the Privileges Committee of Parliament to distribute copies of his reggae songs to members of the Committee.
Blakk Rasta, after being grilled by the Committee for alleging that about 80 percent of Members of Parliament (MPs) smoke marijuana, gave copies of one of his albums to the Chairman of the Committee, Ebo Barton Oduro to be shared to members.
The Reggae musician prior to that apologized to the MPs for the “very unfortunate utterances” after hearing a replay of his interview where he stated that about 80 percent of MPs smoke marijuana.
He said the interview was on another issue and he did not intend to denigrate Parliament and the MPs and added that his campaign was for legalization of marijuana for economic benefits.
“Legalizing marijuana was an alternative to balancing the imbalances of the Ghanaian economy,” he said, noting, that his intention was a genuine one that sought to provide alternative solutions to the ailing economy.
He explained that some countries that Ghana borrows from have legalized marijuana which was benefiting their economies, and urged Parliament to also legalize it.
His counsel, Theodore Sory, however, denied some portions of the Daily Searchlight publication, which stated that the MPs were hypocrites.
Mr. Sory added that they have now become wise after the matter had gone that far noting that they were there to only apologize to the House, and not justify the comments because they were contemptuous.
Producer of the show, Mark Okraku Mantey testifying before the committee denied that the comments were made on the Taxi Driver Show. Rather they were made during an interview Blakk Rasta granted from his home.
The issue was raised by the MP for Afigya-Sekyere East, David Hennric Yeboah last week after notifying the Speaker in accordance with Article 30(1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
The Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho directed the Privileges Committee to apply Articles 122 and 123 of the 1992 Constitution during their questioning of Blakk Rasta to prove that 80 per cent of the lawmakers smoke marijuana.
Articles 122 of the 1992 Constitution states that, “An act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions or which obstructs or impedes a member or officer of Parliament in the discharge of his duties, or affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce that result, is contempt of Parliament.”
Article 123 also states that, “Where an act or omission which constitutes contempt of Parliament is an offence under the criminal law, the exercise by Parliament of the power to punish for contempt shall not be a bar to the institution of proceedings under the criminal law.”
Blakk Rasta was reported to have said about 80 per cent of MPs smoke marijuana and accused them of being hypocritical for not supporting the campaign to legalize it.
“There are about 80 percent of MPs, who smoke marijuana, so why do people think those who smoke it go mad,” he claimed on his show, Taxi Driver Programme on Hitz FM.
“We can get a lot more products from marijuana than cocoa; marijuana doesn’t kill, we can use it for commercial purposes which Ghana can make a lot of money from,” he argued.
Citing Uruguay as one of the countries to have legalized marijuana to buttress his point, the “Serwa Akoto” singer said the economy of the South American country has improved significantly since it took the step to liberalize it.
Blakk Rasta also debunked the assertion that legalizing marijuana use will increase the number of people with mental illness in the country, and wondered why people who still use it are still sane if indeed marijuana makes people mad.