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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 February 2005

Columnist: Amankwa, Kwame

Amanfuo ? To vet or not to vet

It is 1pm local GMT time in the Capital, the seat of government to be precise. The more serious business of the day has resumed. The President has nominated a team of potential ministers to be vetted by a parliamentary committee with no ?teeth?, as they can only make recommendations without the muscle to effect it?s implementation.

The vetting panel is made up of one independent MP, Dr Okogagari (OK), an opposition MP Mr Bantutukutata (BA) and a member of the ruling party, Madam Akosua Kuma (AK). The chairperson is Dr Okogagari.

OK: Honourables, we are gathered here on this august day, sorry it is February 20005 to vet our ministers-designate. The president has nominated them, but has given us the mandate to question their character, integrity, and qualifications and even how they measure up in bed, and to make the necessary recommendations. As you know these issues are dear to the president?s heart and he thus takes them seriously, except that his work schedule is such that it gives him less ample time to determine the true character of these bunch. Members, if we do not carry out this noble task efficiently, posterity will never forgive us. Generations unborn will curse this day and us all. God forbid.

So as is done in America and elsewhere, so shall it be done here. Actually I am not too sure how the British do it, but we can ask the honourable committee clerk to research into that.

Amanfuo, as you all know too well, we do not have any set of questions for these guys, as we may never know who leaks them. Each one of us will be allowed a total of 20 minutes to ask any questions dear to their heart after which we will make our recommendations to the house. I hope you are all in agreement with this planned path of deliberations.

All (CHORUS) : Yeeeessssssssss!

OK: Amanfuo, may I also say that if any of the nominees turns out to be an illiterate we shall provide an interpreter as stipulated in the constitution, so that they do not accuse us of discrimination.

All (chorus): Ooooh Nooooo.

BA: They all speak good English. As for discrimination deiii it is a white man?s country?s palaver.

OK: We also need to be vigilant for those who might try to pool asaawa over our eyes.

BA: What is asaawa?

OK: Cotton wool. Watch out for tell tale signs of deception as we do not have the resources to carry out a chemical or machine lie detector test after the proceedings. Watch their eye movements, changes to the colour of their noses, azaa movement of the hands, toes, the size of their bellies. Also look out for those who might scratch their hairs, ?crutches?, buttocks, akosua kumas etc. Also those who look into the sky as if asking for divine intervention must be observed closely. Look out for those who might be tempted to ?blind? and ?intoxicate? us by coming here with juju and talismans. Even watch the way they walk as this might give us some hidden clues as to their motives and character. I learnt all that at Accra Legon. Right let?s call the first person in ? the nominee for the post of municipal roads Dr. Ricardo Abirikyireba Prampram Osonu (RAPO).

OK: good day, please sit down.

RAPO: Thank you.

OK: You have been nominated for the post of municipal roads.

RAPO: I am already. Well that is what was decided yesterday.

OK: Really! Anyway we have some questions for you.

BA: Have you ever killed a bird in the forest?

RAPO: No (appears surprised).

OK: Which aspects of road construction will be uppermost in your mind should you be given the all ? clear?

RAPO: I will make sure the road leading to the president?s house is well tarred including other important ministers and MP?s like you. You see the deprived areas do not require the sophisticated and properly constructed road architecture around. Besides I do not know how much money the world bodies will be willing to loan us. Not to talk of the hard work that I will put into preventing the ?cut backs and fronts? and shoddy work being done. I promise to do my best.

AK: Hmnnnnn ! (talks to self) Could I tempt him to say more?

AK: they say that you went on an official trip to America last year and slept with a lady who looked like a white woman. Is that true?

RAPO: Akosua, I am not the first person to do it. Even someone in BA?s party did it as well. You see our country is short of light - skinned people and these days you cannot succeed at the negotiation table if your face is as dark as mine. It is our new weapon against the exploiters and I think it is Ghana rather than myself that has been the overall winner. Do you know the amount of time and energy I expended? Instead of praising me, my like boss did, you are hmnnnnnnnn pointing your arthritic finger at me.

BA: Anything more to add?

RAPO: You see the donors feel more comfortable helping us fight the HIV menace when they notice that you have been extremely acrobatic and shared body fluids and juices with one of their beloved daughters. What about you BA? I understand you slept with your wife?s sister, which I would have thought was more serious than mine? BA: Ahhh, well yes and no. Yes because my lovely wife suddenly went on strike at the time of our troubles and suggested I gave her a cooling off period to get her akosua kuma in shape.

AK: Heeeyiiiiiiiii !. BA watch your lips and expressions otherwise I will crack your lips for you.

BA: Sorry AK. Infact it was my wife who suggested this idea of temporary replacing her with her sister. You see in my culture you can buy one and get one free.

RAPO: Hahahahahahaha (laughs loudly). What a case of double standards. Koo I agree. I would love to be part of your culture. Anyway my culture also has something similar except that it only permits such acts only when it involves international substitutes, not locally manufactured ones. But koo listen, international assignments will never be fun without side issues like these.

BA: What is the total distance from Accra to Tamale?

RAPO: I am not obligated to divulge such classified information.

AK: Give us two very popular Ghanaian proverbs?

RAPO: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears ..

OK: Hold it. Proverbs please?

RAPO: Ahwinepa nkasa and ohia titi ntuma.

BA: Which is your favourite Ghanaian TV drama?

RAPO: Osofo Dadzie.

AK: There is an allegation that your wife?s soup is always salty?

RAPO: That is not true. My wife is diabetic and so does not take salt. She hates it. Her preference as dictated by her doctor is sugar not salt in her soup.

OK: This is the best piece of health advice I have heard in a generation! AK: Is it true that Ghanaian men are so strong ?electronically? that many women in America and other places are willing to test their ?powers? and might? What is your honest assessment of this statement?

RAPO: Well you will have to ask them, as I have only been lucky once.

AK: How much do you send to this woman every month?

RAPO: $10,000.

Members (chorus): Waoooooooo! How and from where, whom, when?

RAPO: From family members who live mostly in New Jersey, USA.

BA: You claim your family members have been supporting you to maintain your concubine at the rate of $10,000 a month. How do they do that?

RAPO: BA, do you have something against me (scratching his backside). The beautiful princess is not a concubine but my something. I thought I was invited here to talk about the more serious business of health. Anyway, they are mostly taxi drivers and store assistants ? about 15 of them in all ? dotted all over America. They earn between $6,000 - $8,000 per month. You see, if each one of them gave me $1,000 A MONTH, THERE YOU GO $15,000 at my disposal. It is all in the good spirit of our extended family system. As a result, I most times donate my per diem to the poor around the Nkrumah circle.

OK: I believe they must be super taxi drivers and shop assistants to earn the figures you mentioned.

RAPO: Yeah. (murmuring to self) even if you raise any objections, I will still be given the nod because my pastor says so. And you know what, the big one is my proper mate whom I use to play ampe with since age 2. Anyway, OK should a man?s talent be negated by one twitchy, self-gratifying romantic incident?

OK: No and Yes. We shall continue our deliberations tomorrow.

Summary of these preliminary proceedings:

Amanfuo, in every society and political system, we need qualified and competent people to occupy the more serious public offices. Most societies have achieved negative progress on the back of favouritism, cronyism, tribalism, meyonkopasism, girl friendism etc. It is therefore pertinent that all who seek high office are carefully scrutinised, in order to weed out the self-seeking, lying, corrupt, dishonest, integritless, ugly, woman and man-eating entities. The nation is bleeding slowly at a faster rate as crooks milk it?s veins, arteries and capillaries dry.

Ghana?s healthcare system, employment situation, city planning are in dire straits. People?s lives are worsening by the day in spite of our rich resources, debt forgiveness status etc. They call it mismanagement.

Our vetting proceedings have demonstrated and exposed individuals who have lied, ?cheated?, ?bedmaticked?, bullied, probably stolen and even mismanaged on an elephant scale, now seeking office again. I move that these be denied the opportunity and access to the thrones to which they desperately seek acceptance. Ghana does not belong to any one party or person. God Bless Ghana, the most peaceful place on earth.


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