Ghana, Opinion

Honourable but not honest

Honourable, an adjective derived from the noun honour. According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, honourable has the following definitions; deserving of respect or high regard, of great renown, entitled to honour or respect, Performed or accompanied with marks of respect, attesting to credible conduct, consistent with a reputation that is not tarnished or sullied, characterized by integrity: guided by a keen sense of duty and ethical conduct.

It is very synonymous with the word honest and in brief, honest is good and truthful, that is not lying, stealing or cheating. Why this long talks like my SHS English teacher?

In the Ghanaian setting, the name given to a person is believed to have an impact on the individual’s life. No wonder no Ghanaian parent will let the child be named Judas or Jezebel because everybody hates a snitch or an evil person in their midst. A Member of Parliament in the Ghanaian Legislature or Assembly Man at the Local Government level in the districts automatically earns the title “honourable” upon successfully winning an election in his or her constituency or district.

Out of about 29 million people in Ghana, these people called Honourables have been voted to represent Ghanaians as members of parliament and assembly men or women in order to make laws which will be used to govern this country but what do we see on our national television station when they televise or make report on current proceedings at our parliament house? You can count as many empty chairs as there are. After voting, it becomes unchecked as to who attends parliamentary sittings or not. Who are you to ask? According to ghanamps.com, these honourable men and women solicit the views of us, the remaining Ghanaians in order to represent us better. In reality, most of these men and women after elections are never even seen in their constituencies until it is time for the next elections. So I ask, how is this solicitation done? In the end, we suffer because the actual problem existing in our constituencies will never be solved. They will come back for re-election and this time to make empty promises that they certainly know can never be fulfilled and we always buy into them as an ex-president of this our beloved nation once made it much more understandable that “Ghanaians have short term memory”. What is honourable in lies and deceit?

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A few months ago, news broke that certain members of parliament who doubled as Ministers in the Mahama-led government took salaries as members of parliament and another salaries as Ministers for periods spanning between two to four years. Did they know it was an offence? When Section 124 (1) of the Criminal and other Offences Act 1960 (Act 29), as amended in 2012 (Act 849), clearly states this in plain language who can argue that he or she didn’t know that as an astute member of parliament? Well, some shamefully claimed the two salaries from parliament and presidency were ‘top ups’ when mysteriously both salaries were paid into separate accounts. Isn’t this amazing? How did they come up with such reasoning? In a developing nation like ours, national interest should be foremost in all our dealings but some honourable members of parliament with impunity abused their office for private gains. As to if they will be forced to face the full rigors of the law is also a topic for discussion another day. What is honourable in being greedy?

Not to remind you of the horrible demise of Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama of blessed memory who was lynched on May 29th,2017 by some residents of Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central region but here are excerpts on the preliminary investigations of the Criminal Investigation Department’s account of the tragedy addressed by the Director-General DCOP Mr. Bright Oduro:

4. While the deceased was taking up money from his pocket to pay for the snail, the woman from whom the deceased bought the snail and a few others saw the deceased’s sidearm tucked to his waist. Soon after he left the women, one of them (name withheld) telephoned the Assemblyman of Denkyira-Obuasi, William Baah to report what they had seen. 5 without verifying the information, the Assemblyman mobilized the town folks to prepare to attack an armed robber who had been sighted by the women who sell at the outskirt of the town. The Assemblyman called a motor rider who is popularly known in the town as “Komoko” and together with one other called Akwasi Buah, a vulcanizer proceeded to confront the deceased. 6. The Assemblyman met the deceased near the Denkyira-Obuasi cemetery, which is about one-and-half kilometers away from the food stuff sellers about the same distance from where the body of the deceased was found. 7. The Assemblyman and his two-man team spotted the deceased with a sidearm, they accosted him without giving him the opportunity to identify himself.

An Honourable Assemblyman is called about a suspected armed robber and then decides to take the law into his hand. What is honourable in becoming a demigod, power drunk and taken the laws into your hands?

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Ghana, a country which gained independence on the 6th of March, 1957, has a total number of working ambulances to be 54 in all ten regions and not to talk of the very poor health delivery system. Statistically, over 520,000 Ghanaians share 1 ambulance meanwhile the 275 Parliamentarians use 275 V8 vehicles and the cost of each of these vehicles is only a waste of time to be written about. So they come to us with kneels down begging for our votes, promising heaven on earth only to turn a blind eye to our needs. Most of these fatal cases would have been avoided should there have been a very efficient and effective emergency response. An ex-president and ex-vice president passed out and in both situations had to be carried in a car to a hospital and they both died before arrival yet no lesson has been learnt. Do you think they care about you when they are living lavishly and there is more money to be grabbed? What is honourable in seeking self-gain when you have your people wailing for help?

To end it, most of our radio and television station’s political talk shows have become avenues for casting insults, the use of derogatory remarks and hate speeches by some members of parliament and some political contingents. Sometimes one needs to open the mouth wide in shock as to the choice of words someone deemed to be deserving of respect or high regard and guided by a keen sense of duty and ethical conduct can go to that extent in public. What do they seek to achieve? A war? Are they role models worthy of emulation to the Ghanaian Youth? Yet we always hear them pass worse comments day-in, day-out. Does it only has to concern parliament before the culprit is called to the parliamentary disciplinary committee? To me, I am sick and tired of these back and forth. It is not funny any longer. What is honourable in becoming derogative?

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The title “honourable” per its definition is a very reputable one hence those bearing it should let the good name of this title reflect in all their dealings.

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