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Opinions of Monday, 29 June 2009

Columnist: Agyemang, Frank

Hypocrisies of our Politicians

Our political leaders must begin to note that their hypocrisies are not easily forgotten and as a matter of fact, they can fool some of us some of the times but cannot fool all of us at all times. Fortunately, as our democracy grows, it is increasingly becoming difficult to deceive most of the people.

I am not talking about those with strong party affiliations that find nothing wrong with their political parties but find everything distasteful so far as it is coming from the other party. For such persons, one does not need to be a clairvoyance to know they are only protecting their parochial interests. I am talking about those discerning people whose concerns are for the interest of this country with no due respect to political parties.

Whiles in opposition, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) did complain about how the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) went about its activities in respect to interrogating its members. Those that readily come to mind are the late Victor Selormey, a former Deputy Minister of Finance under the NDC government and Hon. E. T. Mensah, one-time Minister of Youth and Sports and still a Member of Parliament at the time, who was detained overnight.

Victor Selormey was picked up by the BNI moments after his arrival from the overseas right at the airport. Take note here that he was rather returning into the country voluntarily and not leaving. E.T. Mensah was detained with no due regards to the constitutional provisions for parliamentary immunity for sitting members of parliament. At that time, the law was at sleep and it all seemed the NDC had no courage to disregard such invitations like the NPP has now.

At a press conference addressed by the then Minority Leader and MP for Nadowli North, Alban Bagbin, the party called on the government (NPP) to apologize for the "arbitrary arrest" of Mr. Mensah, who was also the Minority Spokesman on Youth and Sport.

The then minority in Parliament, NDC went on a boycott of all parliamentary proceedings in protest of the detentions as a demonstration of its outrage towards what it called the violation of the rights of Hon. Mensah an affront to the dignity of Parliament in contravention of Articles 117, 118 and 122 of the 1992 Constitution. Let’s even pretend to have forgotten the fact that the ex-president Rawlings and Tsatsu Tsikata had also been invited to the BNI before. Having faced such a challenge and now in power, it is just prudent for us to at least hear or see the NDC reforming the institution it spoke against in terms of its modus operandi. During all these hullabaloos, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) found nothing wrong with the BNI and even sought to justify some of their activities. Now the tables have turned, and now they see the modus operandi of the BNI as politically motivated, the same manner the NDC described it some years ago. In this case the only institution that has remained unchanged is the BNI, applying the same style of operation. As for politicians, so far as an issue does not directly affect them, it is a non-issue hence could be ignored forgetting that when it remains unresolved it will come back to haunt them, “what goes round comes round”. Politicians will always suffer their own neglects; it is just a matter of time.

This I guess should be a lesson to them all, especially those in power. They must ensure the systems are in place and functioning as they ought to with no room for manipulations because once that is created and they are not in power, they can be rest assured knowing very well that there is no room for exploitation.

By the way I know certainly the tables will turn again no matter how long it takes, this is a fact politicians fail to admit. Sitting behind my desk, I can foresee repetition of the BNI story.

Is anyone ready to bet on this? I’m ready for a bet.

Frank Agyemang agyemangfrank@gmail.com