Opinion: Our Parliament Is Replete with a Few Men and Women of Integrity – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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The thoroughgoing corruption of Ghana’s Parliament is an open secret. So I really don’t know why Mr. Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, the Parliamentary Minority’s Chief Whip (whatever this title means or may be worth in cedis and pesewas), feels provoked or the need to have Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong invited to face the so-called Parliamentary Privileges Committee because, one, the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Assin-Central, in the Central Region, has allegedly dared to disdainfully describe the caliber of the men and women who compose the membership of the proverbial august House as “cheap” or people woefully lacking in integrity; and two, which follows from the first premise, that were Parliament not that hopelessly cheap, Ghanaians would not have somebody like Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu as the Parliamentary Majority Leader.

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Now, those are not really tough, harsh or disdainful words, when one reckons the fact that Mr. Mensah-Bonsu who, by the way, has no legal training or background, just like Mr. Agyapong, would imperiously and pontifically question the right and credibility of Mr. Agyapong for daring to boldly and publicly question the investigative skills and methodology used by Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas to compose his documentary exposé titled “Number 12,” which led to the resignation of Mr. Kwasi Nyantakyi, the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA). Indeed, even as I compose this column, the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is widely reported to be seeking the legal dissolution of the GFA in court. Mr. Agyapong has also stated that he has forensically incriminating evidence that Mr. Anas and his Tiger-Eye PI team of investigators have been guilty of blackmailing and extortion, for some time now, vis-à-vis the decision of which secretly recorded documentary evidence of corruption or wrongdoing to feed the Ghanaian public and the media mainstream or submit to our law-enforcement agencies for further investigations and prosecution.

In the past, the celebrated private investigator has knavishly compromised his professional integrity by collaborating with former President John Dramani Mahama, a publicly self-confessed payola-prone politician, to expose purported rank corruption among the membership of the country’s judicial system. His critics have raised this instance of the unwholesome politicization of the war on official corruption to impugn the credibility and integrity and the motives of Mr. Anas, who is known to have professional training in both journalism and the legal practice. Well, what I am really concerned about here are facts, the truth and free speech or the right of even maverick and rambunctious politicians like Mr. Agyapong to freely, clearly and forcefully express themselves on critical and/or pressing national issues without the fear of being selfishly threatened with the imposition of sanctions by the Parliamentary Privileges Committee.

I have already tackled the subject of free speech, so let me now address the question of truth and facts or the factual reality. It is both true as well as a fact that Mr. Mensah-Bonsu, the Parliamentary Majority Leader, sought to preemptively and injudiciously impugn the credibility and integrity of Mr. Agyapong before the latter had even had an equal opportunity to showcase any evidence that the owner of several radio and television stations in Ghana claimed to be in possession of which could very well either seriously undermine or even ruin the career and reputation of the lone-ranging “Watchman” altogether. On the latter count, Mr. Mensah-Bonsu uncontestably proved himself to have an agenda that was hermetically protective of Mr. Anas and his Tiger-Eye investigative team, while at the same time being preclusive of the free-speech rights and the civic responsibility of Ghanaian citizens who may not agree or side with the modus operandi of the Anas team to make their voices and opinions heard.

Mr. Agyapong, who says that he has personally apologized to Mr. Mensah-Bonsu, was also being factual and truthful when he categorically and poignantly noted that he spends much more money managing his own domestic affairs than he earns as a democratically elected Member of Parliament for his Assin-Central Constituency. In fact, it was clearly on the basis of his latter example that he rather rudely and intemperately described the fortunes of the membership of the august House as being rather cheap. But the question of why he seems to have chosen to enter a political career whose direct rewards he does not seem to either respect or appreciate, is prime grist for another discursive deliberation altogether.

Then also, it is incontrovertibly true and inescapably factual that a legally trained Parliamentary Majority Leader would be performing much better than what we are currently getting from the Kumasi-Suame NPP-MP. I mean, nearly every one of his legally trained New Patriotic Party predecessors relatively performed above board or average, as it were. And, by the way, both Messrs. Agyapong and Mensah-Bonsu are professionally trained businessmen. It is also true that oftentimes Mr. Agyapong inordinately allows his remarkable wealth to take over his commonsense and sense of decency, some quite successful businessmen friends of mine have confided this to me on occasion.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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