Feature Article of Tuesday, 4 January 2005
A GNA feature by Samuel Osei-Frempong
Accra, Jan. 4, GNA - In a near bleak dry season when the harmattan wind had begun its assault on the country's coastal plains, the First Gentlemen of Ghana glowed, offering hope for years to come. He had a date with the people of Ghana in their House of Representatives to account for his stewardship for the past four years. The man was fulfilling a constitutional provision, which some describe as a swan song meant for the Sovereign to trumpet his achievements to the highest heavens while others see it as burdensome and unnecessary.
The beauty of the hazy day could be felt from a distance as Police outriders honked and pierced the winds with their sirens as the President raced to perform his onerous duty.
A line-up of Navy Officers spotting unblemished white apparels had streamed in to serve as guard of honour in front of the Legislature. They had found place near one of the activated giant fountains of Parliament that spewed-forth great volumes of water.
On the three-tier stairs making the frontage of Parliament, drummers and dancers did what they knew best while dignitaries graciously strolled past into the Chamber of Parliament, which had just had a facelift.
From a distance, a mounted Police constabulary had created its own track shielding a known mystery - the President's convoy. The re-chosen Leader stepped out of his car in a surprisingly humble manner as if he had come to serve at a banquet.
His black jacket, which had an insignia that sympathised with the HIV/AIDS afflicted, was worn over black pair of trousers.
The Workman's tool had transformed the Chamber into a more spacious, compact and well-ventilated arena to accommodate the 30 additional seats, which would be occupied on January 7.
The modest interior d=E9cor illuminated by giant lightening system gave a perfect refuge to the many persons invited to witness the date. As throbbing huge Fontomfrom drums with the accompaniment of flutes and horns poured out a delightful rhapsody, he walked in. The Speaker, Mr Peter Ala Adjetey had formed a procession including the Leadership in front of the House to welcome the august visitor. The Marshall, who laboured under the weight of the mace, led them into the Chamber.
The Speaker and his men were ceremonially dressed so were the members of the Judiciary frocked and wigged behind the Scale of Justice. If the idea of the three arms of government were a mystery, the President, Speaker and Chief Justice, who sat close to each other on the Speaker's Acre, would have been a clear manifestation for the uninitiated. On the public gallery, scores of dignitaries mingled with security chiefs forming a kaleidoscope. But none of the three men with whom the President fought Election 2004 made it to the Chamber. A hard-to-please Minority and a cheering Majority locked horns in this overcrowded Chamber that was bursting at its seams to hear his message. He flipped every page of his speech with confidence as he gave a frank account of his stewardship.
The words on those pages brought out his efforts at building roads; improving the economy and agriculture; fighting HIV/AIDS and other items of government business including coming to terms with the Dagbon Mass Murder and the May 9 Stadium Disaster.
He remembered the six members of Parliament, who died during the Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic and asked for the observance of a minute silence for their souls.
The Minority heckled him, for they opposed some of his views; but they were generous enough to show admiration for his countenance, as he talked about the common problems of politicians. He lamented at the cynicism about politics peddled by some people through the media.
He offered hope for politicians: "The essential task of the politician is service; to sacrifice; a day would come when the role of the politician would be appreciated to justify the little comforts accorded them."
Less than a month ago, Ghanaian voters had shown appreciation by renewing the mandate of President John Agyekum Kufuor through the exercise of their "Kokromoti Power", which some Media Persons have described as "AK 48".
Would this talk about politics and a hope for a brighter day endear him to the Lawmakers, whose popularity takes the dive every day? The expansive lawns adjoining the walkways had had a fresh cut while the fountains fought the invading northern winds.
As the lush green cover seemed to dominate the landscape, withering blades of grass formed brown patches that sent melancholic strain to a gardener, who had seen all green around him until he took to the heights of the upper floor of the Chamber.
Crows and vultures wondered on the lawns in search of water apparently to bring forth forcefully that though humans and other creatures might have different agenda, they shared a common planet.