Oh, Ghana’s Parliament again.
I dread to talk about them.
It is not because I am afraid.
It is just because they may be doing less with the enormous power they wield.
I have wondered, for long, when a Parliamentary Committee’s work will have consequences for anyone.
Maybe I am wrong.
From the Committees created to investigative Anas’ exposé on the Ghana Football Association to the one on bribery allegations in Parliament, and the recent one in November 2022 to investigate a conflict-of-interest matter of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, absolutely nothing has come out of these committees.
Oh no, something came out of them.
The Parliamentarians got their per diems to fuel their heavy Landcruisers purchased with almost interest-free loans the state advanced to them.
When eight people were killed during the 2020 general election, the opposition National Democratic Congress, as usual, made noise and called for investigations into the killing of people’s fathers, brothers, sisters, and guardians.
I wished that Parliament and, in fact, the whole country had attached the same seriousness it attached to the IGP leaked tape inquiry and inquired about the election-related deaths.
Look how our women knotted their cloths in fury and the men are ‘erected’ over the revelations from the Committee.
Where was this fury when the eight people got killed for the election of Nana Akufo-Addo, the ‘democratic-tyrant’, in 2020?
People’s limbs and skulls got broken, while eight others took an early journey to the grave and President Nana Akufo-Addo, even after almost four years since the killing, is yet to condemn the act believed to have been perpetrated by some members of the security services who were more NPP than the President.
What is a life worth in Ghana?
In a recent conversation with a gainfully employed Ghanaian friend who has migrated to the USA, he told me that he feels more appreciated in the US, even as a recent immigrant, than he was in Ghana.
“There is dignity of life,” he said.
That conversation has since made me question my sanity, even as a journalist because many of the stories done by the media do not get the necessary impact. My colleagues and I have exposed a lot of wrongdoings by politicians and other public officeholders who have not been sanctioned for these acts.
We parted ways knowing that there’s nothing grand or noble at stake anymore to make it worth the trouble of dying for Ghana.
The police are still yet to find those responsible for the killing of investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale, who was threatened by a leading member of President Akufo-Addo’s party and shot dead in Accra in 2019. Nobody has yet been held responsible though the Member of Parliament, Kennedy Agyapong, put Mr Hussein-Suale’s photograph on national television and asked whoever saw him to attack him. Aside from these, about 30 other people lost their lives through extra-judicial killings.
The state has also failed to find evidence to justify the arrest, detention, and alleged torture of journalists from Modern Ghana, an online news site, by operatives of the National Security Secretariat in 2019.
As someone who truly appeared to have cared about the Ghanaian populace prior to his election into office, President Akufo-Addo’s attitude about the killing of the Techiman 8 probably gives tacit approval for the act. And that doesn’t come as a surprise to many.
A critical look at the indicators of good governance, particularly under President Akufo-Addo, means though our democracy is growing, it is not maturing. Perhaps, it’s getting worse. As someone who came to political stardom as a result of the popular ‘Kumi Preko’ demonstration, you’d expect that President Akufo-Addo’s government would embrace protest as a tool for democratic expression.
Alas, his government, in ‘cahoots’ with the police service and our courts has been citing a salad of flimsy excuses for not allowing demonstrations since 2017.
The recent was the excuse that due to the rising coups in West Africa, it was not appropriate to demonstrate. To put it mildly, this is the dumbest I have heard in a while.
Many are in blankets of fear to stage protests for fear of their lives.
The current situation is more than worrying — almost hopeless even — that accountability institutions are being targeted and undermined.
The recent reaction of government officials and communicators to the Special Prosecutor’s investigation into the hoarding and stealing of a stash of cash in the house of former Sanitation minister, Cecilia Dapaah, who resigned out of shame, lends credence to the same.
Why should Ghana’s court set the hearing date for an injunction application against the notorious Electoral Commission on the limited voter registration exercise a week after the exercise comes to an end? How does that protect the rights of citizens who are peeved by the decision to limit the registration of prospective voters to the district offices? If the courts could make arrangements for a sole judge to sit on a similar case in September 2012 when the EC was taken to court, why can’t the same be done now?
My little political education tells me this is more about gerrymandering than it is about ensuring that people who are of voting age register to vote.
Time and again, our courts fail to listen to the current rhythm of the need for reforms. The same happened in the Domelevo case. The same happened in the E-levy case. The same is happening in the Minority’s planned demonstration about the Bank of Ghana’s decision to build a headquarters worth $250 million. What kind of backward democracy are we practicing?
If the 2020 election could be won with the unresolved and unaccounted killing of eight people, one needs not to wonder at what cost the 2024 election, for which they want to break the ‘8’, would come.
If you are angry about Ghana’s deteriorating electoral democracy, then you need to join the #Fixthecountry demonstration scheduled for September 21, 2023, to demand accountability from this government and its officials, including calling for investigations into the killing of the Techiman 8.
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