Ghanaians Must Discourage Parliamentary Careerism – Urges Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
The decision by some executive members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) from the Avenor-Ave Constituency to retire Mr. Doe Adjaho from continuing to represent both the party and its constituents is one that ought to be greeted with mixed reaction (See “NDC Executives Ask Doe Adjaho to Step Down” 3/16/11).

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Mixed reaction, because while such decision healthily discourages political careerism, and thus the high spate of corruption, nevertheless, it also has the negative impact of preempting the sort of procedural and practical experience that comes with long service. Plus, parliamentary seniority implies the acquisition of the sort of leverage that could bring ample development resources into a constituency.

In the case of Mr. Adjaho, however, the added stature of national prominence implies that the Avenor-Ave MP may have become too deeply mired in the greater affairs of the Republic for him to remain as effective as, say, a middle-level, parliamentarian whose functional purview is strictly constituency-oriented and thus parochially poignant.

One also gets the clear impression that as far as his primary constituents are concerned, Mr. Adjaho has achieved the maximum level of success that he appears to be capable of vis-à-vis the material destiny of his constituents.

Nonetheless, it ought to come as no surprise, whatsoever, that the First Parliamentary Deputy Speaker should be spoiling for a sixth official term. For being only a heart-beat away from the position of the substantive Speaker of the House, Mr. Adjaho may well be eying the highest legislative job in the land. If so, then what we clearly have here is a classical conflict of personal ambitions and the greater good of his constituents.

What is also quite interesting here, however, is that those who are now prevailing on Mr. Adjaho to step down are also some of the same people who parried away calls for the First Deputy Speaker not to run for reelection in 2008. And so, maybe, what these former diehard supporters of Mr. Adjaho ought to be doing is explaining to their people precisely what motivated them to staunchly back the man that they are now insisting must step aside.

According to one such backer and former NDC district chairman, Mr. Francis Tengey, “We took the trouble to explain and convince [the people] and that was why they voted for [Mr. Adjaho].” Now, the logical question that arises is: Why did Mr. Tengey and his associates feel that it was worth the trouble to convince the Avenor-Ave constituents to vote for their current representative, but, somehow, not worth their while to stand by the man that they themselves, pretty much against the grain, decided to foist on the people in 2008 this time around?

Anyway, if he so strongly feels the need and urge to push the proverbial envelope, then the First Deputy Speaker ought to do “an Atta-Mills,” by letting his constituents fully appreciate the fact that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having the next Speaker of Ghana’s august National Assembly come from their constituency and/or even their hometown! Or he could do, perhaps, the most logical and effective thing, which would be to impugn the integrity of Mr. Tengey and his cohorts; and, perhaps, even tell his constituents a dirty little secret or two, vis-à-vis the kind of hardnosed horse-trading that went on behind the scenes in order for Mr. Tengey and his apparently cold-calculating associates to throw caution and principles to the wind, by staunchly backing the man they now appear to be dubbing as persona-non-grata.

Either way, the battle that appears to be fast shaping up between Messrs. Adjaho and Tengey, and their constituents and sympathizers may, like all things NDC, turn out to be much uglier than the spelling of the same.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author, most recently, of “The Obama Serenades” (, 2011).