Feature: Our Parliamentarians Lack Pride And Self-Esteem, Period! – Says Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

Special Note:

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Some of us do what we do as “Citizen Journalists” without asking to be rewarded in any way, shape or form whatsoever. Still, from time to time, we get rewarded with the genuine and sincere admiration and appreciation of total strangers who just chanced upon one or two of our long-forgotten articles and write-ups. Just yesterday, for instance, I received this terse note from a kinsman of the immortalized Gov. Gordon Guggisberg, British colonial administrator of the erstwhile Gold Coast (1919-1927). I did not Google to find out precisely when it was that Gov. Guggisberg held his patently selfless and missionary post in the land presently designated as Ghana. What matters most is the incontrovertible fact of Gov. Guggisberg’s having distinguished himself as one of the handful of exceptions among the yeomanly European administrators of the colonial era.

Anyway, the note I received from Mr. Daniel Guggisberg reads as follows. I hope my readers will enjoy and cherish it as well as I have:

Hello Dr. Okoam[p]a-Ahoofe[:]

I chanced upon your comment “Stop Disparaging Gov. Gordon Guggisberg” from November of last year and wish to thank you for your kind words defending my illustrious kin’s legacy.

I am but a distant kin, connecting to Gordon’s family before they had emigrated to Canada. I have known Gordon’s daughter Nancy personally[;] and after she had passed away in 1988 I became the recipient of the few remaining personal objects, papers, photographs and mementos that belonged to her father.

Sincerely yours[,]

Daniel Guggisberg

Redondo Beach, CA

PS: I beg you to not share my email address with anyone. Thank you.

Anyway, recently, a woman I presumed to be Ghanaian emailed to tell me that she had spent four months vacationing in Ghana and had, after some soul-searching, decided to pack up bag and baggage and return to her homeland. Her email address had her name as “Ofeibea,” but beneath it, after she had responded angrily to my reply, was the name “Sue Campbell.” Our exchanges had not been very cordial because she had taken a rather cavalier and condescending attitude towards yours truly. She had erroneously presumed that having read quite a remarkable number of my articles made us domestically familiar in a manner that I found to be utterly offensive and uncomfortable.

For instance, Ofeibea appeared to desire to “put me in my place” by casually  remarking as follows: “All of us have written for Ghanaweb at one point or another.” It was quite obvious that the intention of the writer was to remind me that if I in anyway, whatsoever, thought that my journalistic fare on Ghanaweb, in particular, but on the Internet in general, was contributing any significantly towards the national discourse on Ghana’s development, I ought to be kidding myself. Ofeibea wanted to go back and become a bona fide part of the decision-making process on the ground.

I promptly fired back to her that I had not begun my journalistic career as a citizen, or amateur, contributor to the web columns of our country’s oldest privately-owned cyber-highway. I further highlighted the fact that I have been doing serious journalism, including newspaper editing, for some 30 years. But even more importantly, I had highlighted the fact that Ofeibea/Sue and I, each, had our own unique and disparate destinies. In short, if she felt convicted that it was time for her to go back and join what she perceived to be the national development effort, then, by all means, she was heartily welcomed to the same, but that I found it to be rather brazen to include me in such a wholly and purely private agenda.

Evidently, this unsolicited interlocutor had quite a lot of chutzpah; for she shortly wrote back complaining that hers had been a purely benign piece of communication, and that I should not bother to write back, since I had overreacted by also presuming to be cavalier with her. Well, what I left out was that Ofeibea/Sue had solicited my opinion in the form of a comprehensive assessment on how I felt the situation was back at home. In retrospect, it is clear that for a person who had apparently spent four months vacationing on a fact-finding tour of Ghana, the writer likely had something up her sleeves. It is, however, neither my business nor desire to speculate about what her ulterior motive might have been.

At any rate, I have gone a tad off-tangent, but Ofeibea/Sue’s email eerily recalls the recent scandalous report regarding the decision by Ghana’s parliamentary leaders to spend huge wads of the taxpayer’s money on Chinese-made furniture, when these leaders felt the necessity of refurbishing the main chamber of our National Assembly (See “Procurement of ‘China Chairs’ Angers Ursula Owusu” Peacefmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 11/7/14).

Even as the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Ablekuma-West Constituency in Central-Accra, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekufful, had occasion to bitterly lament recently on a radio talking-heads, the cultural hallmarks that made the old chamber look unmistakably Ghanaian was promptly and scandalously eviscerated when our parliamentary leaders decided to import Chinese-made furniture for the most recent refurbishment of the House.

The problem here, of course, is not merely the humongous cost involved in the importation of the Chinese-made furniture (we shall devote ample time and space to the preceding in the near future), but the summary and scandalous chucking out of the old made-in-Ghana furniture that went with the same. Mrs. Owusu-Ekufful adds that she is viscerally repulsed by the new carpeting on the floor of the House, which looks too busy and garish for the taste of any modest and well-cultivated Ghanaian citizen.

For me, though, the issue at stake here borders on the pride, patriotism and self-esteem of the Fourth-Republican Ghanaian politician and parliamentarian, not in any particular order, to be certain. We witnessed the same problem with the STX housing scandal, when the now-President John Dramani Mahama decided to flagrantly go over the heads of the Ghana Association of Architects and Realtors for a South Korean government-backed housing construction firm that had, at best, a dubious record on affordable-housing construction. And so our politicians do not seem to be capable of learning anything worthwhile for the good of our country, or do they? Now, Ofeibea Sue Campbell, that is my take on Ghana for you.

The opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of www.africanewsanalysis.com, www.africa-forum.net and www.wapsfeatures.wordpress.com