Events in December 2021 took me down memory-lane to our first-year in secondary school in the mid-1960s. The 105 of us were put in A, B and C classes of thirty-five boys each.
As little boys, Mischief appeared part of our DNA, varying on a scale of 1-10.
Without doubt, my class notoriously topped our form with a “well-above-average” grade for mischief, despite having some fine gentlemen among us!
Teachers responded differently to our mischief. While those who believed in moral suasion appealed to our conscience, others asked God to give them patience. In a reaction one day, an angry teacher yelled at us saying “there are some SHEEPS among you” to which we responded with giggles and “sheeeeps! Sheeeeeps!”
Our History teacher/master on the other hand responded calmly.
Mr SK Odamtten, later Professor Odamtten, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Coast, aka “Kusum” taught us History. “Kusum” responded to such mischief by simply saying “I am thoroughly ashamed of you!”
Without doubt, that would have been his statement to our MPs on 20 December 2021!
7 January 2021
My article “Pandemonium in Democracy’s citadels” in January 2021 stated as follows:
“Early 7 January 2021 in Accra, Ghanaians watched with total disbelief and shock our Parliament’s Chamber converted into a blend of a rugby stadium and a boxing/wrestling ring where MPs violently displayed their snatching, sprinting, slapping, stampeding and sitting-on-lap skills. In the confusion, armed soldiers and police also entered the chamber.
On the first sitting of the 8th Parliament on 15 January 2021, the Speaker strongly reprimanded the MPs for their “unruly behavior” and “despicable conduct.”
After his strong words to the MPs, the Speaker apologized to Ghanaians and promised that, such disgraceful conduct will not occur again. Little did Ghanaians think a worse scenario awaited us in December 2021.
20 December 2021
The issue of a 1.75% e-Levy tax in the 2022 Budget proposals sparked off controversy soon after it was presented in November 2021.
On 20 December 2021, Ghana’s Parliamentary Chamber was once again converted into a boxing/wrestling-ring/arena where MPs displayed skills Spanish matadors would have envied.
MPs boxed, punched, kicked, fought and tore clothes, as attempts were made to snatch the Speaker’s chair in a manner similar to an MP snatching a ballot-box on 7 January 2021.
Was it a case of the quote “as it was in the beginning, so it is now, and so shall it ever be?” for the 8th Parliament.
The Minister for Parliamentary-Affairs agreed with a radio-caller’s description of the conduct of the MPs as “shameful, embarrassing and shocking!”
Indeed, he added “I am scandalized and ashamed to be called Leader-of-Parliament!”
Having descended so deeply into the gutter, can our MPs have the moral-courage/conscience to invite any Ghanaian before the Privileges-Committee for a non-violent verbal comment? Privileges and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. They therefore cannot claim privileges while reneging on their promises/responsibilities.
Sadly, interviewed teenagers opined that, some MPs have reduced themselves by their misconduct in the glare of the whole world, to the level of rampaging primary-school-kids.
An Akan proverb states, “de3 mmoa adi no, wonni nk). De3 aka no, y3 b3 bo ho ban!” Using a farming analogy, it roughly translates as, “what has been eaten by animals, is lost. What is left must be protected!”
Doubtlessly, most MPs are decent Ghanaians who were voted for as our representatives in Parliament. The decent MPs therefore owe themselves and Ghanaians a responsibility of ridding Parliament of the few unrepentant kick-boxers, wrestlers and matadors whose actions constantly bring Parliament into disrepute.
It is only when Ghanaians see MPs apply the same standards of hauling Ghanaians to the Privileges-Committee to their chronically misbehaving kind, that confidence in the Legislature will be restored.
As the Minister for Parliamentary-Affairs said on radio on 3 January 2022, “if only we allow the Law to work, things will work!” Charity begins at home!
At my “Manager’s” graduation in 1979 at the University-of-Cape-Coast, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor SK Odamtten ended his address with a quote from Philippians 4:8-9.
“Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things you have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
I commend this to our MPs. That way, Prof Odamtten’s ghost will not tell them, “I am thoroughly ashamed of you!”
Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP!
Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd)
Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association
Family Health University College
Source: Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd), Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association, Nairobi, Kenya
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