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Saturday, May 25, 2024

It hurts to be labelled a thief – Joseph Osei-Owusu

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, says he is retiring from public service due to disappointment, unappreciation, and a health condition he attributes to his work.

According to him, the persistent labelling of public servants as “thieves” has discouraged him and killed his love for serving the nation.

Speaking to Elton Brobbey on JoyNews’ The Pulse, he said, “It hurts to hear people call you a thief only because you opted to work for the public. Listen to all public discussions.

“Every politician, every elected official is called a thief. Nothing hurts me more than that when I can say with pride that I have never asked for support from anybody.

“I have never asked for anybody to give me anything before. I do my work so those are the things that I think have contributed to my health issues. Now I have health issues so I want to leave the field quietly and endure my pain,” he said.

The Bekwai constituency MP stated that he has no intention of returning to public service or holding any official position in the future.

He said MPs do not deserve to be tagged as thieves as they do not have access to public funds and therefore cannot misuse or steal them.

“We don’t spend public funds. We don’t even authorise expenditure. Practically nothing to do with money apart from approving the budget in Parliament.

“What we call the empty shell of the common fund goes to the District Assembly and you can only authorise the MCE or the coordinating director to spend that money in this way or that way. But every misconduct, they come back to the MP,” he said.

On his side, the former MP for Bolgatanga, David Apasera, described being a politician as a daily struggle to meet the needs of constituents.

According to him, although MPs are paid well, they must still manage their finances carefully to balance the demands of their personal lives with their public responsibilities.

“What we were paid, it was mere management to be able to handle funerals, and constituent problems individually and still be able to stay afloat.

“A person has a problem of marriage and maybe they are coming for the wife because he has not been able to afford a cow to give to the in-laws.

“What will you do? It becomes a model obligation and will be forced to maybe go and contract a loan to give to the person to salvage the marriage.

“This is what MPs go through. Then the public thinks that you have had so much government money and so you can’t be paid a pension.”

Meanwhile, the NDC parliamentary candidate for South Tongu in the Volta region, Maxwell Lukutor says he is mentally prepared to take up the position.

According to him, there have been numerous requests and demands from his constituents.

“But I’m saying, some of us take up these personal challenges as a personal thing. We want to experience what it feels like. We want to succeed in everything we do.

“We want to push ourselves and make sure that we bring something out of ourselves. It may not necessarily be about monetary gains to become an MP.

“Honourable said that some of them are like self-actualisation. I have been able to make it to this level. This is what I have been able to do for my constituents.

“Some of us enjoy people coming back to say that had it not been you helping me to do this and that, I would not be who I am today,” he said.

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