As Usual, Alban Bagbin Plays Out Of His League

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D

In a recent call-in to the Accra-based Radio Gold’s current affairs program “Alhaji and Alhaji,” the former National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) parliamentary majority leader was reported to have asked the “Minority group in Parliament [to be] grateful for the fact that President Mills…includes them in decision-making” and public projects” (See “Bagbin: Minority Must Thank God That Prez. Mills Involves Them In Decision-Making” PeaceFmOnline 7/25/10).
The foregoing statement, coming from a trained lawyer and one who for eight years served as Ghana’s parliamentary minority leader is, to say the least, rather sophomoric. For it shockingly demonstrates that the substantive Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing appreciates pathetically little about the participatory culture of parliamentary democracy. One may not, however, blame Mr. Bagbin too much, especially when one also pertinently bears in mind the inescapable fact of the Nadowli-West MP having literally had his political teeth cut by the one-man and one-party dictatorship that was the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) which has now expediently morphed into the so-called National Democratic Congress.

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In other words, our contention here is that an ideological suasion and a political party that has absolutely no history of ideational tolerance and democratic governance cannot be expected to produce democratically minded states-folk and/or politicians. Still, it is significant for levelheaded critics and political observers like this author to apprise Mr. Bagbin of the fact that his sort of proprietary-minded approach to political praxis has absolutely no place in Fourth-Republican Ghanaian political culture. And even more importantly, the Water Resources, Works and Housing minister ought to be sternly tutored about the incontrovertible fact that, indeed, President John Evans Atta-Mills is not doing the parliamentary minority any godly or undeserved favor by including the latter in his diurnal decision-making protocol.

To be certain, it would be flagrantly tantamount to shortchanging the Ghanaian electorate, as well as deliberately and criminally causing financial loss to the sovereign State of Ghana for the President to benightedly pretend as if the ineluctably formidable New Patriotic Party (NPP), in particular, and the Ghanaian parliamentary opposition, in general, did not exist. It is also rather ironic that Mr. Bagbin should be making his statement in the auspicious wake of President Mills’ all-too-wise decision to withdraw the patently fraudulent NDC-STX housing racket in which some leading members of the government, including Vice-President John D. Mahama, appear to have deviously consented to the piddling greasing of their palms with hi-tech toys in order to facilitate the massive bilking of the Ghanaian public by a struggling and economically strapped South Korean construction firm.

And while we are at it, it also bears reminding our readers that it was reportedly after its executive members had met with Mr. Bagbin that the Ghana Real Estate Developers’ Association (GREDA) abruptly and inexplicably choreographed its volte-face vis-à-vis the NDC-STX scam. The public would learn shortly thereafter that, indeed, some leading members of GREDA had had their lives threatened, with still others being clearly threatened with contractual asphyxiation by the government (See “Statement: Why Police Erred on Joy-Fm Source Case – DI” 7/23/10).
In other words, while as of this writing (7/27/10) nobody is plainly or directly accusing of Mr. Bagbin of having crudely attempted to literally twist the arms of some GREDA leaders, nonetheless, the circumstantial nexus between the meeting of the GREDA executives and the Water Resources, Works and Housing minister prompting the unceremonious withdrawal of GREDA’s protestation to the government and its parliamentary petition cannot be lightly dismissed.

As for the former parliamentary majority leader’s assertion that during the eight-year tenure of the Kufuor administration he was never invited on overseas trips and was neither involved in significant decision-making protocol, I am quite certain that both President John Agyekum-Kufuor and Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu have quite an earful for the Water Resources, Works and Housing minister.

For my part, suffice it to note in passing that the Nadowli-West MP spent most of the eight years that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) held the reins of governance organizing parliamentary protests and boycotts in a morbid bid to subverting the Ghanaian judicial system in the flagrant interest of criminal convicts like Messrs. Dan K. Abodakpi and Tsatsu Tsikata. In sum, it would have been rather unwise for the Kufuor government to have actively involved an intransigent parliamentary truant in the pressing business of the people.

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 of 21 books, including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/, 2008).


The opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of AfricaNewsAnalysis.