By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Like most of the other prominent members of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), I have no personal acquaintance with the Parliamentary Minority Leader, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu. However, the man comes off to me as a quite affable personality. The problem here, though, is that based mainly on my gleanings of his actions, omissions and pronouncements from the media, the Suame NPP-MP is rather too chummy with such even more experienced and dynamic National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary leaders as Messrs. Alban S. K. Bagbin and Rashid Pelpuo.
Don’t get me wrong now, I am not discounting or discrediting the imperative need for the prevalence of collegiality in our National Assembly as a means of ensuring its functional efficacy. In the recent past, however, I have expressed the imperative need for the two or three topmost leaders of the parliamentary opposition to be professionally equipped with legal training. Mr. Mensah-Bonsu does not come off to me as one who has the parliamentary heft and stature of the giant likes of Messrs. Kwaku Baah, Samuel Odoi-Sykes, Peter Ala Adjetey and, of course, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
And while a professional knowledge of the law is not a requirement of parliamentary representation in Ghana or any of the advanced constitutional and parliamentary democracies around the globe, nevertheless, it is imperative for the electorate to recognize the fact that Parliament, or the Legislature, is a place where laws are made or crafted for social use. Therefore, just as one cannot have a carpenter playing surgeon or an engineer with social and legal acceptability, Ghana’s political party of the most erdite and savvy lawyers and scholars ought not to settle for any less than the best-of-the-best among its law-making members of parliament.
Now, while I have lived and schooled in Kumasi, precisely at SOFOLINE, in North-Suntreso, and attended Prempeh College for some two years and therefore I am quite familiar with the Suame-Wesley College vicinity, I don’t have enough verifiable data or evidence to enable me to vouch for the leadership skills or results-getting fruits of Mr. Mensah-Bonsu’s tenure in parliament. Nonetheless, I have a problem with his rather lame and embarrassingly self-serving sophistic argument that “in the advanced democracies, you don’t have a situation whereby at the end of the tenure of parliament, the floodgate is opened to allow unfettered contest; there is nowhere in the world where such a system operates” (See “NPP Suame Race Turns [Into] Akufo-Addo vs. Kyei Mensah-Bonsu” The Republic 6/11/15).
My simple riposte is that yes, “Tweedyism” exists everywhere in constitutional democracies around the world, but it only thrives at least for awhile where it is widely envisaged to be good for business. Unfortunately, Ghana is not an advanced democracy, and I also don’t see Mr. Mensah-Bonsu to be very good for business where the critical and prime interests of the New Patriotic Party are concerned. The preceding notwithstanding, I also really don’t see any credibility in this reportage from The Republic newspaper. For starters, the story is badly written and edited; it is also primarily based on hearsay, which promptly downgrades its quality to that of tabloid gossip.
Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu may longer be good for business, and after twenty years in parliament he has had ample time like the rest of his colleagues in the Hose to squirrel enough of the people’s money for sustained existence on the proverbial high hog. In short, it is time for the Suame NPP-MP to roll up his legislative mat and and clear out. But, of course, I am not in any way ready to either endorse or go to bat for Mr. Kwadwo Boateng Genfi, the reportedly stiff challenger to Mr. Mensah-Bonsu in the Suame constituency. I am too savvy to put my proverbial bottom-dollar on a steed whose jockey’s name I never heard of until very recently. And I also really don’t give a damn which Akufo-Addo relative and/or shill is camped out at Suame trying to give the Minority Leader the heave-ho, especially a character whose thuggish behavior at the 2007 Legon NPP presidential primary may very well have led to the brutal acid-dousing assassination of Mr. Adams Mahama, the NPP’s Upper-East regional chairman nearly eight years later.
I also don’t suppose Nana Akufo-Addo to be so cynically undignified as to stoop so low as to unsavorily dabble in the seamy local political culture of Asante-Suame.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]