IN the evening of last Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 Ghana was served very disturbing reports about the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana. The report was that Members of the Ghanaian Parliament were not attending sittings. The people of Ghana have heard such reports before, but this time the reality of the action of our Honourable Members was horrible and disturbing.

WE recall that some time during President Kufuor?s first term in office the then Minister of Finance, Yaw Osafo Maafo, came before Parliament to present to the Republic the annual Financial Statement and Budget Appropriations for the year. Some members of Parliament were so unruly that it was obvious they were not listening; but that was no all. It was also obvious that they also had the intention not to allow anyone else listen to the Finance minister.

ALSO while others were taking mobile telephone calls in the very chamber while serious state business was going on, others were fast asleep. This outraged the editorial team of The Independent newspaper and they did a comment with the headline, Ala Adjetey?s boys and girls, referring to those unruly and disrespectful MPs as children who cannot comport themselves on a serious occasion.

WE on Today know that the whole force of the power of Parliament was brought down with the quasi-heaviness of an axe on The Independent, and its editors were marched to the House to apologise lest the paper would be slapped with contempt of Parliament.

HOWEVER, it is a fact of life that he who demands respect must earn it, and we must state, at the risk of being cited for contempt of Parliament, that lateness to sittings and absenteeism from proceedings is a problem that has always plagued the parliament of the Republic of Ghana.

But last Tuesday?s absenteeism was as worse as it could ever be. A top parliamentary correspondent sounded obviously shocked when he announced on radio that when the Second Deputy Speaker, Hon. Doe Adjaho, sitting in for the Speaker, walked into the chamber of Parliament, only five MPs were seated and ready for business.

AS if that was not shocking enough, when the correspondent spoke to some of the absentee MPs, they complained that the appropriate state agencies were dragging their feet in approving the salary and allowance increments they had asked for.

WE on Today find that very strange in the light of our full knowledge of the salary and allowances and other benefits enjoyed by MPs, who are refusing to see that by those figures they are already privileged when compared to over ninety percent of the Ghanaians they represent in that House.

And so based on some of those cardinals, we wish to ask our MPs few questions.

HOW many public officials that go into political office are each given $50.000.00 as a personal car loan, each to use as he pleases, and then when their term ends the loan is ?forgiven? them and the total converted into a state loan for Ghanaians to pay back along with the interest?

HOW many Ghanaians earn the GH?7,300.00 (?73,000,000.00) each MP earns per month?

How many Ghanaians after taking such fat monies per month also earn good sums as sitting allowances for being members of committees of Parliament?

SHOULD we multiply GH?7,300.00 by forty-eight (48) months and then by two hundred thirty (230) members and see how much the Republic of Ghana spends on the MPs in terms of salaries alone?

AND how many Ghanaians are today paid fat End-of-Year Service Benefits (ESBs) when they complete ? not a term of four years, but ? a lifetime (of say twenty to forty years) of serving the people of Ghana?? (All workers used to enjoy it, but it was cancelled in the Rawlings era.)

ARE the MPs claiming they are not aware of the deplorable critical conditions in which ninety percent of Ghanaians live, or they have voluntarily shut their eyes and are demanding figures they have concocted in their heads without due consideration of the situation of the majority of the people they are representing?

LET us even assume the MPs have genuine grievances, are they saying in their quest to have their voices heard they have chosen to flout the laws of the republic by absenting themselves from the duties for which we elected them and are paying for with our hard-earned cash?

And what example are they, who make the laws of the republic, setting for every other citizen?

GHANA today has a crisis of leadership, lack of moral authority and disrespect for Laws, and we on Today must state, categorically, that state executive and Parliament are not leading the people of Ghana by good example. While the Mills administration ignore and actually states publicly that it will not respect rulings from our courts, Parliament is setting a bad example with a deleterious lack of punctuality in the House.

WHERE are they leading this republic? They should answer that first to themselves and then to us the people of the Republic of Ghana.

AND, we are waiting for them to cite us for contempt!

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