Feature Article of Saturday, 22 December 2012

Columnist: Nti, Kwaku

Letter to my new MP

Dear Sir,

The joy of learning that you have been elected as the new Member of Parliament (MP) for my constituency outweighed my reason to come to congratulate you for achieving such a great feat. I do recognise that it was a tough battle you fought, especially against an opponent that had all the resources which you were in dire need of — cars, money, computers and all other incentives that would attract the Ghanaian voter to your camp.

However, by dint of hardwork and the determination to run pass the location where many of your predecessors fell, you were able to peacefully jump over the fence of political persecution and land safely as the newly elected MP for my constituency. Congrats, sir; and I think it is worthwhile that you are carried shoulder high through the constituency as a re-enactment of the story that the stones the builders rejected has become the corner stone. I wish your opponents learn that no one is an under-dog again in an electoral race.

In fact, I would have been very disappointed if dozens including known ‘against’ had not thronged your residence to celebrate your success with you; nor your children might not have boasted that their Daddy is now the New Honourable and Big Boss of our village, hence their friends should be kind to them so that they remember them in ‘paradise.’ Paradise I know is not far away since after three months of receiving your over GH¢100,000 monthly salary and the numerous allowances, the life of your family and yourself would change for the better. The least talked about the numerous Pajeros and V8 cars which you would have to select from the better.

Honourable, “enjoy wai, ?k?m y? ya.”Let them affiliate themselves to you because success has many fathers and your opponent would add that failure is an orphan. I am by no means mocking him for spending all he earned within the last four to eight years on the campaign towards his re-election and on girls-girls, thus making him have none to pay his bills for the next year; but instead cautioning you to be careful about the numerous people who come to you to sing from the political hymn book of Praise the canticle “…Praise him, praise him, Praise the new boss of the village….”

Sir, they are like that, I know so many people who went to the old boss to celebrate with him when he was successful the last time but have deserted him to be in your camp because the money is not coming from him again. In fact, I advise that you don’t allow yourself to be milked like an Argentine bullon the Sahara; or they would lead you to an early grave one day.

I seek to advise that you do not allow the joy of the election overcome your determination to transform our forgotten community as you promised. Know that many have been in that office and were voted out simply because they failed to honour their promise of constructing and asphalting the road which we all use. Ahaa, I have remembered that the one-week observation of the pregnant woman who died on the road while being conveyed to the hospital would soon be dued. Sir, you might not have followed the case because of the elections, but I tell you that the Doctor pronounced her dead on arrival at the hospital after we have struggled to rush her there. “…in fact, you should have brought her earlier than this, if she had been here about five minutes ago, we would have taken her to the theatre and saved her life…,” was the exact word the Doctor said to us as we uncontrollably wept over the loss.

I know we could have gotten to the hospital in time to save her and the unborn child, but the road would not permit it. Would you believe that we had to change car on two occasions because the early one hired for that purpose broke down due to the road? What a pity! is what I know you would say. So help us to communicate to the Minister for Roads and Highways that the people of our community also vote and are not living in a different republic other than Ghana.
Honourable, please lobby the Health Minster to come to our aid and construct a clinic for us; that would help solve a greater part of the malaria cases which the open drains in the communities breed.

The dysentery, Bilharzia and others would be solved when you use your MPs common fund to help get bore holes in the communities. Yes sir, I checked and the cost of constructing a bore hole is GH¢6,000.00; so try to construct at least two boreholes for a community in 2 years and by the next four years, each community might have benefited from at least three bore holes.

By kind courtesy of Zoomlion Ghana Ltd, many of the refuse in the constituency is now being collected on a daily or weekly basis; but still littering goes on and therefore anytime it rains, the open drains are choked with polythene bags and all other forms of rubbish which are carried by the running waters. It would be best if we go back to this same company and request a supply of their free bins to every household in the constituency. Simply tell them not to dump hot ashes into them. Do you remember how the famous ‘Odaw’ drainage and many others are now bearing fruits? We should de-silt them and try to build covers for some of them as open drains belong to the 19th and 20th Centuries. The effect would be a total eradication of flooding in the constituency.

Having stayed in the constituency all my life, I do appreciate the concerns of the many unemployed youth who thronged the streets everyday in search of non-existent jobs. They lack the skills and the know-how to execute most of the jobs they seek even if they get employed in the companies. So I suggest that we institute a form of job centre which would take the data of these youth and group them into categories for them to be employed later. Let’s be smart by calling on the National Youth Authority (NYA) to come to our aid and introduce the Zoomlion backed LESDEP into the constituency. Can you imagine how many of the youth would be trained and given practical skills for life?

As a long term solution, we should try to reform our education to suit the job market and try to motivate the teachers to teach better. I know the teachers in Accra are not better than their colleagues in Otwebeweate, the difference however is that these guys in the cities are better motivated than those in our villages. So honourable, we should try to motivate them with one form of award scheme or the other which we would get any of these Telcos to sponsor when we invite them.

Since Nana Addo’s free education did not materialize (Going according to the current results declared by Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan), I suggest we institute a form of scholarship scheme in the constituency as a way of getting most of our kids educated to take charge of our community when we depart. Also, help in advising churches to institute a form of scholarship scheme that would involve each church member donating at least one Ghana cedi (GH¢1.00) a month into their coffers to educate brilliant but needy members of the church. Churches and Muslim organizations should also give discount to their members who would like to attend their universities as well.

Sir, I seek not to bore you with most of these problems which I know you are ready aware of, but am calling on you to spend this Christmas period to visit the communities and assess for yourself their needs. The police, the fire service, all most of the Government Bungalows in this constituency are in a dilapidated shape and would suggest that we approach government or any International Non-Governmental Organisation for their support to rehabilitate them. I would be less pleased if we experienced the nest MELCOM in our district, so please help create roads and decent communities by embarking on massive legal demolition exercise to pull down all illegal structures.

Morality is of great concern in our culture, therefore do not get entangled in the girls-girls spending but instead spend quality time with your family and let your spouse be your greatest companion. Learn from the mistakes of others and excel, study the book of proverbs and be wise and read Ecclesiastes to have knowledge and speak like a leader.

I hope to come to you soon, but please remember to respect the MUGABES in the parliament house because they can make and unmake you. Learn to visit your constituency regularly and let’s see you at public functions including funerals or we would vote you out like we have done to your predecessor. Thanks for granting me some time to tell you what I think, but please don’t forget your God and as a bird of passage, do remember to read and commit into memory A. E Houseman’s(1859-1936)poem TO AN ATHLETE DYING YOUNG, portions of which I have reproduced for you below:
The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields were glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Thank you and best of luck these four years. We would meet again after the next elections. Merry Christmas
Your friend,
Kwaku Nti