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Opinions of Monday, 10 January 2005

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

A Letter to our Parliamentarians.

Dear Honorable MPs:

I just finished reading an article on the Ghanaweb about you and I?m already thinking about reincarnation. I?m thinking in my next life, I want to be a politician. I?m not kidding.

Well, hopefully this letter will find you in good spirit, because you?re getting ready for your inaugural ball celebration. Oops ! .I ?m sorry for interrupting your serenity. Speaking of celebration, I wonder how your unsuccessful colleagues feel about those of you who retained your seats. Too bad, all of you didn?t retain your seats .Oh, heck! Life?s not fair. At least, they (those who lost the elections) will have to learn how to make a real living like the rest of us?in an old fashion way.

Now, that we?ve walked through the various rumors and gossips surrounding the recent elections ,could we please have a substantive discussions about your car loans and your main agenda for the nation?for the next four years?. By the way, how are your cars running? I?m talking about the cars you bought with a twenty-thousand -dollar loan. I hope they?re strong enough to take you through the next four years and beyond.

With that in mind, I?d like to get something straight : I?d like to know if the newly- minted Mps are also going to get a twenty -thousand dollar loan. So a loan will be granted to every Mp ,every time a new Parliament is inaugurated?whether he/she has finished paying for the previous loan? So any Mp who manages to hold on to his or her seat will automatically receive a twenty-thousand dollar loan? I?m suspecting that either some of you are developing an insatiable appetite for cars or you don?t care about Ghana. Are you desensitized to see what ?s wrong with this picture? I don?t get it.

Please .please ,I need to know if the only way you(MPs) can effectively fight for the common goals of the nation and jump-start the economic revitalization is to drive around in twenty-thousand dollar cars. Hel-lo !. Are you there?. You?re scratching your hair, huh? . Sorry, I can?t be nicey- wicey about this one, because it seems an obsession with cars is becoming the latest item on the Ghanaian political super market.

In fact, my jaw dropped and I was literally stunned, when I read that you?ve defaulted on the previous loans because your monthly allowance is not enough. Yes, you might be right that your allowance is too small for you to live very comfortably. But my question is before you decided to run for parliament did you consider the pay and the ramifications of being a Public servant ? And, don?t you forget that the best way to become wealthy is to use your creative imagination to produce valuable ideas and products ,but not through politics. Call me stupid or craazy. I thought the purpose of being a politician is to serve your country honorably.

So you folks are driving around in a twenty-thousand dollar cars(dear Lord!),while the nation is in dire need for funds to repair our rotten educational system, hazard hospitals and accident prone road network? Were you born without the genes for shame ,thoughtfulness and memory to recall history? I need an aspirin. I ?m getting a headache. No pun intended.

Don?t get me wrong. I ?m not here to say that you should work for free or starve yourself to death, in the name of your country. But when you multiply twenty-thousand dollars by the number of Mps then you will see where I?m coming from. To me, it?s very difficult to understand the rationale behind the idea for Mps to demand twenty-thousand dollar car loans?in a country where most towns don?t even have money to replace a street- light bulb, let alone two million cedis in the bank, for development. Better yet, if transportation is needed that much then what about motor bikes? They are relatively cheaper and very good on gas. And, they won?t contribute to air pollution and traffic congestion in Accra.

In fact, your short sightness has left some by- products on the minds of the electorates ?they have developed a mistrust for politicians and given up on the hope for the nation to get out of its economic doldrums. And, I guess those are not the things to write home about.

Now that I have that off my chest(and it feels so good) let me congratulate you for winning your seats fairly and peacefully.?and I?m not kidding. I mean it sincerely. But, I ?d be less honest if I didn?t admit that I wouldn?t have voted for you if I had the chance. That doesn?t mean I hate you. Far from that. It?s because there is a huge stain on your reputation .And I have tried to inoculate myself against high political expectations for too long that I don?t believe any of your empty promises. The point is, most of us are fed up with Ghanaian Politicians and leaders. You have disappointed us miserably and taken us for a long ride that we?ve lost our political equilibrium.

The trouble with most of you politicians is that you get into politics not through any inborn desire to make a difference in the lives of the ordinary people. But, because it?s a lucrative profession. In other words , being a politician is now regarded as the fastest career path to upward mobility. You politicians sometimes become so isolated, insulated and intoxicated with material toys of the world that you?ve lost sight of the things that made you who you ?re ,and the people( in your village) who brought you where you are today.

So to change things around and gain the people?s trust, I suggest you create a ?cause? you believe in which can outlive you. In other words, create a system which would carry your good deeds when you?re long gone. To do that , try to take some political risks, but not chances . Modern life guarantees nothing but, change. And, remember that everything worthwhile carries a risk of failure. By ?risk? I mean the ability to make some unconventional ,bold and daring decisions?about unemployment, education, armed robbery, teens? welfare. etc. And, by risk , I mean the ability to make tons of personal sacrifice, live within your means and able to exhibit a lifestyle that will be in tune with your belief and cause .

This takes us to the economic front and your agenda for Ghana?for the next four years. At present Ghana is facing a giant gorilla called, ?Globalization? and it?s ready to kill all of us any time soon. In fact, globalization is creating an intense competition for all kinds of jobs. Today, jobs are moved to wherever they can be performed at the cheapest price or cost. That?s why China and India are becoming economic giants. My question is what are you (MPs) doing to position Ghana to benefit from this trend? Or are you going to stand by and let the goods train pass us by? Well, if you failed to act now you will be remembered for your selfishness and how you let an entire generation?s future burst into flames while you stood by with a watering can.

For one thing , Ghana can?t afford as a nation to let ninety ?percent of its college graduates look for job handouts from the government. Obviously, it can?t survive on the buy-and- sell economy because a country full of sellers and consumers isn?t prepared to face this century and beyond. In an increasingly troubled global economy with its technological innovations , corporate downsizing, outsourcing ,shifting educational and job skills, wage cuts and other austerities befalling workers all over the world, the answer is entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship ,entrepreneurship. And more of it.

While we?re at it we shouldn?t forget our prison system . We have to prepare the prisoners for the real world, so that one day they can play their roles when they become active participants of our communities and the mainstream economy. The goal here is not only to position Ghana for progressive economic take off but, to prevent the government from being the sole employer.

At this point, I urge you to use your leadership to encourage our secondary schools and colleges to engage in business ventures. For what does it require for colleges to operate businesses like: printing shops, poultry farms, financial counseling centers, food stands ,test preparation and tutoring services and agricultural resources centers( in the farming areas) to help the farmers? These would allow the students to have a place to hone their business skills and also generate money and employment.

Well, incidentally, education is not complete until the classroom?s studies are used to solve real life problems. And, since, our educational system has killed our ingenuity and impaired our ability to ?dream?. beyond our limited imaginations we have to start from the bottom.

Perhaps, I?m going overboard here. But, the truth is any country which can solve the emerging global consumers? problems and meet their desires will not only laugh all the way to the bank, but will ultimately survive any economic hiccup.

Are you willing to make your voice heard in the house?for the sake of a common person in the land? Or are you there to look for your own personal interest? We?re all watching every move you make. And, we?ll see you in four years, at the polling stations.

I hope this letter won?t be seen in certain quarters as an attack dog on your integrity or character. It?s nothing more than a platform for a healthy debate and a way to keep you from falling asleep behind the wheels of our fragile democracy?so to speak. However, I pray that if this letter has touched on your sensitive nerves and renewed any anger, please charge it against my head but not my heart.

On that note ,I?d like to say?, today?s short, Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow may never come. So if you want to do something for your country and your people do it now?. I thank you so much.

Yours truly,

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi
New Jersey,USA

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.