Dear Our President,
I hope you are well. I really need some of your stamina. In between talking to other lapors and travelling through the land with my ears and eyes wide open, I am very tired.
Sir, do you know Momoni? Do you like it? I am still trying to find an English name for this delicacy. All along our coast, and maybe even beyond, our fish processors preserve fish by enmeshing the fish in layers of salt, and store them in airtight containers for about a week. The pickled fish is then laid out in the sun to dry. No self-respecting wife in Ghana’s south, will be caught preparing Palm soup, Garden Egg Stew, Kontomire, and many other meals without this Momoni as a condiment. As can be imagined, this fish smells really strong. If you happen to drive in the environs of the Cape Coast lagoon, near the Ford Station, your nose will confirm this fact.
At the moment, many Ghanaians feel that our members of parliament have put some of this roasted Momoni in our mouths, and are now complaining loudly that our mouths smell somewhat terrible! Sir, is it our fault?
For a while now, people in the know have told the rest of us that our honourables are not so honourable. The most obvious example, was when P.C. Appiah Ofori, a member of the house, put it out in the public domain in 2008 that members of parliament took money( $5000 each) to approve the sale of a Ghanaian owned company (Ghana Telecom) to foreign investors. As far as Lapor is aware, nothing came of this allegation as both the alleged receivers and givers denied that any money changed hands.
Then in 2014, a leading member of the house, Mr. Alban Bagbin, said at a workshop that, “the reality is that MPs are Ghanaians and there is evidence that some MPs take bribes and come to the floor (of parliament) and try to articulate the views of their sponsors”. Despite threats to haul him before the privileges committee the public has never been told how the case was resolved.
Now, an even bigger scandal has broken. Members of parliament, vetting their colleague who has been nominated for a ministerial position, claim that the nominee through the chairman of the appointments committee offered the members of the committee three thousand cedis each to pass him. The membership of this committee is made up of both the minority and majority.
The supposed givers swear on all that is held Holy, that they never gave a penny. The conduit who was supposed to have received the cash on behalf of the minority, insists that no money was given him, and he did not pass on any such cash. Now parliament has set up a committee made up of its own members to investigate its own case of bribery.
Our people have a proverb that “when the fish comes from the depths of the river bearing tales about the crocodile, it must be believed”, so we too believe what we are hearing. After all, we are not members of the august house.
But that is not all we believe; we now believe P.C. Appiah Ofori, We believe Alban Bagbin, We believe Black Rasta who said many members of the house smoke a certain herb copiously. We now believe the reports that even when the various ministries, being part of government, want things done by parliament, they still have to pay “allowances” to members of parliament to do the work for which we pay them. We believe people who have whispered that some of the smelliest deals cooked up by crooks dressed up as patriotic businessmen, succeeded because both sides of the house took their ‘allowances’ with glee and looked the other way.
So Sir, if we who are common floor members whisper, that members of parliament are corrupt, would we be hauled before the privileges committee? Have the members seriously thought of the name of the committee? It is a name that makes Lapor laugh. Privileges, privileges that we have bestowed on them, for keeping us quiet, and preventing us from criticizing them, so they continue to enjoy unearned privileges.
Yes, our mouths may be very smelly today, but who put the Momoni in our mouths?
Have a great day Sir.