General News of Saturday, 15 July 2017
Sydney Casely-Hayford was wrong to have said Members of Parliament “sit there, spend money like crazy, make stupid decisions and pass stupid laws”, New Crusading Guide editor-in-chief Abdul-Malik Kweku Baako has said.
According to the veteran journalist, although Mr Casely-Hayford, a leading member of pressure group OccupyGhana, is one of his heroes, his statement about Ghana’s legislature was “sweeping and overgeneralised”.
Mr Casely-Hayford, speaking at an event, said the following about current and past MPs:
(1) “These people are sitting there, spending money like crazy, making stupid decisions and passing stupid laws…”
(2) “All they think of is ‘let’s pass this thing quickly, let’s go to Senchi Royal, let’s go and sit there and chill and come back…’”
(3) “They don’t read the papers that they are given, they don’t think through what the challenges are…”
(4) “The first thing I will do if I had the opportunity is to break down parliament…”
Mr Baako, reacting to Mr Casely-Hayford’s remarks about the country’s lawmakers on Newsfile on Multi TV on Saturday 15 July, 2017, said: “Put together, this is not a fair statement to make of the corporate entity called parliament.
“‘They don’t read the papers that they are given, they don’t think through what the challenges are’ – these could be legit because we have experiences of certain things that have happened in parliament before…we can give practical examples of some decisions by all the seven parliaments. And let’s be honest they may have passed some laws that some of us don’t think are progressive enough but they pass many good laws, some of which emanated from civil society activism and advocacy and have done much for our good governance practice. So this is a very sweeping and overgeneralised statement,” Mr Baako said.
He told show host Samson Lardy Anyenini: “Sydney is one of my heroes in terms of contemporary civil society advocacy and activism and I mentioned him during my lecture on the CDD platform…but he is wrong on this score.”
Mr Casely-Hayford has, however, apologised in several radio interviews describing his own comments as “harsh” and “over the top.”
“I indeed went over the top, I do apologise for that. I used some language which I suppose I should not have used. I unreservedly apologise, because in mature conversation when you say something that you offend somebody and you are prompted, the least you can do is to say ‘I’m sorry’. It wasn’t meant to be offensive, this is where I was going and if it came out the wrong way then I do apologise sincerely, I have no reservation doing that,” he said.