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Opinions of Sunday, 10 August 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Ghana Needs an Independent Parliament


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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
July 25, 2014
E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

The decision by President John Mahama to preempt parliamentary inquiry into the country's scandalous showing in the 2014 Brazil World Cup Tournament, by issuing a Constitutional Instrument empowering him to establish an executive commission of inquiry into the same matter, must be roundly condemned (See "Majority Rejects Legislative Inquiry into Ghana's Brazil Showing" Ghana News Agency / Ghanaweb.com 7/15/14).

Such devious, and treacherous, and self-serving machination has been made possible because of the opportunistic double-dipping system of governance created by the members of the Constituent Assembly that drafted Ghana's Fourth-Republican Constitution. Under this system, we have a functionally unhealthy percentage of the members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) doubling as cabinet appointees as well as Members of Parliament. We must quickly point out, for the sake of fairness, that the same problem also existed under the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Some of us have consistently maintained that such governance arrangement is inimical to the rapid development of the country. For starters, it guarantees that these double-dippers would not be able to efficiently perform their two full-time jobs, even while raking in monthly salaries unjustifiably reflective of their double full-time jobs whose practice is far more in keeping with theory than reality. In other words, these dual political functionaries are an unhealthy drain on our national economy.

But what is even more significant to note, protestations of the meager salary allowances of these double-dippers notwithstanding, is the fact that the conflating of the roles of executive operatives with that of the legislature seriously undermines the independence and efficiency of our lawmakers. And this is precisely what appears to have occurred vis-a-vis the imperative need for Parliament to establish its own commission of inquiry into the Black Stars' Brazil scandal.

My lay person's understanding of matters is that while in the process of moving for the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry into Disaster Brazil, a motion to the latter effect having been legitimately submitted by Mr. Isaac Kwame Asiamah, the minority spokesperson on Youth, Sports and Culture, a double-dipper mole with close association to the Flagstaff House, or the Presidency (very likely Mr. Mahama Ayariga, the newly appointed Sports Minister), pleaded for the adjournment of Mr. Asiamah's motion, thereby enabling that double dipper to deviously and expediently cause President Mahama to issue his namby-pamby Constitutional Instrument 82, clearly seeking to circumvent the truth about Disaster Brazil from becoming public knowledge, as well as ensuring that none of the key players found to be criminally culpable would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

And so, in effect, the already unbearable administrative rot at the Flagstaff House has been afforded a new lease on life, as it were. I, also not for a split-second, believe that the Parliamentary Speaker, Mr. Edward Doe Adjaho, sincerely meant a single word of what he said in his criticism of President Mahama, when he pretentiously accused the Flagstaff House of indulging in a politics of "bad faith." It was clearly a charade of whose integral player the former NDC-MP from Ave-Avenor, in the Volta Region, had been from the get-go.

Indeed, were he not a bona fide co-conspirator of President Mahama's, Speaker Adjaho would have proceeded with the proposal / motion calling for the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry into Disaster Brazil. Instead, what the Speaker chose to do, knowing the failed outcome of the same beforehand, was to pretend that the voice approbation on the floor of the House for the establishment of such a committee of inquiry was not conclusive enough and therefore had to be either affirmed or rejected by a head count. And that was precisely what happened, a largely partisan rejection of the minority motion by a predictable vote of 96-78.

It is our fervid hope that Ghanaian voters are sedulously watching this systematic and cold-calculated attempt to ride roughshod over their interests and well-being by the rascally operatives of the Mahama-led government of the so-called National Democratic Congress. The uphill struggle for the soul and integrity of Ghanaian democracy continues in full-blast. And with the help of Divine Providence and Goodluck (not the one in Nigeria, of course) on our side, the Ghanaian people cannot afford to lose.

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