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Opinions of Friday, 16 October 2015

Columnist: Enimil Ashon

Dr ezenator rawlings at NDC vetting

Should children be held accountable for the deeds of their parents? Stripped of emotional considerations, I would say asking “children” to go through life with placards proclaiming their parents’ (mis)deeds would be unfair.

Children have a life of their own. Fact is, they had no choice in the matter of who their parents should be, and until a certain age of maturity, they are deemed, under the law, to be incapable of doing anything to have influenced the decisions or acts of omission or commission of their parents.

It’s like an adult male accused of making a mother out of a girl under 18. No matter how weighty the offending adult male’s argument may be, the judge asks only one question: Was the girl above or below the age of consent? In like manner, unless it can be proved that the child is a consenting director in a company established by both or either of the parents, he or she cannot be held liable even for being a beneficiary of goods or services procured with money earned by the company; it belongs to the parents.

Ezenator Rawlings is an intellectually capable lady, a medical doctor, above 18, is of sound mind and born to parents both of whom are Ghanaians. Even if her parents are criminals – and nobody can say or prove that they are - there is no law that can bar her from seeking to represent people in her constituency as a parliamentarian. She is not a criminal.

For the information of Ghanaians who may have dropped from Mars just this morning, it’s been in the news for some time that the first child of Ghana’s longest serving President, Jerry John Rawlings, has picked up forms to represent the people of Klottey Korle as their Member of Parliament (MP) in 2016 on the ticket of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

This article is written only because I am encouraged by the line up of very capable men and women who have filed or have been picked to represent the NPP and the NDC in Parliament come 2016 – though I am not so sure if the type of democracy we have opted for is the best.

When shall we ever give our traditional governance institutions the chance to evolve into a modern system of choosing our representatives or presidents. And, oh, how I hate this winner-takes-all system!

If I have fine words for this very alien but convenient monstrosity, it is because being unable, for now, to change it, I feel compelled to join it, and having joined it, to propose additions and subtractions to make it better.

One of the virtues we have managed to attach to our democratic system of selecting representatives and ministers of state is the vetting process. When the likes of Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu confront ministerial nominees on the Vetting Committee platform, hope rises in the human heart; hope that we still can salvage something from this unsuitable governance system. When you catch Madam Ama Benyiwah-Doe live on national TV eating her words for statements she had made in the run-up to elections, I call that hope.

It is in this vein that I wish I were on the NDC panel that vetted Ezenator to determine her suitability to represent Klottey Korle. My line of questioning would have focused on what would represent her principles – the ideals she would die for and on which she would not be prepared to compromise.

I would have asked what she thought should be done to a man who ordered the execution of a Ghanaian (military officer and member of government) for borrowing money from the bank when he himself presided over a political party that received “election funds” from a multi-national cement company.

I would have asked her if she would feel comfortable with a system that allows the wife of a Head Of State to acquire a state factory in the name of an NGO of which she (First Lady) is the head.

If none of the above comes close to her person, I would like for her to tell me what should be done to a Head of State whose children are educated abroad while the people over whom he rules wallow in an educational system that produces academic misfits, with ICT teachers who have never seen a computer!

On education, I would not stop there. I would ask Ezenator to comment on a system of government under which the Head of State educates his children overseas with fees paid by friends who, till today, remain unnamed.

Final question: What would she do to a Head of State who allows his children (or child) to learn to pilot an aircraft using state-owned airplanes; or if she was ever told that one day, as she was up in the skies piloting a state aircraft, Dr Hilla Limann was sweating behind the steering wheels of his old saloon car which had broken down and was being pushed by sympathisers around Kwame Nkrumah Circle.

This article is written well in the knowledge that these questions – or the answers thereto – will not necessarily lead to Ezenator’s disqualification.

In our part of the world, issues do not disqualify appointees or candidates! On the other side of the Atlantic, it does. Did anyone listen to the US Democratic Debate? The personal emails of Hilary Clinton when she was an official at the White House have been made an issue.