The first head of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short, has charged the 8th Parliament to focus on national interest in fast-tracking development, instead of allowing themselves to be driven by unnecessary partisan considerations.
His call follows several of such calls by religious and traditional leaders as well as other opinion leaders for the House to take advantage of the current ‘political bittersweet’ situation for the national good.
His advice comes in the wake of the apparent bitter rivalry that has characterised the work of the House, after the gruelling 2020 elections in which the stakes were almost equal on both sides.
Notwithstanding that unexpected outcome, it is the hope of all Ghanaians that the 8th Parliament will earnestly focus on critical issues facing the country to ensure that the right decisions are made to propel the country forward.
Parity must mean unity
As rightly observed by Justice Emile Short, with equal numbers of MPs on both sides of the House, accountability and transparency of government can be easily ensured by members of the Minority caucus.
And we agree with him when he says the NDC MPs have a major opportunity to make history by responsibly and objectively putting government on its toes so that the country’s interest reigns supreme.
But we believe they may not be able to achieve this with what appears to be the attempt to settle scores or excite their constituencies.
Since the beginning of the vetting of the President’s ministerial nominees, we have seen what appears to be some excesses in the manner the questioning has sometimes gone, as if the exercise is a witch-hunt or an inquisition.
What we had expected – and we believe the Committee is already experienced and versed by its own rules to handle it – is not only how incoming appointees can reform sectors that they would be manning, but also how they can articulate challenges to facilitate solutions.
Things that unite us
We are therefore enthused about the fact that the distinguished justice cited corruption, lawlessness on our roads, environmental degradation and how our natural resources are utilised among the pertinent issues that should engage the attention of all.
That is when we can unite in fighting corruption and ‘galamsey’ or debating the Agyapa deal to a decent and honest conclusion. That is also when we can unite in fighting the land guard menace and also make open defecation in classrooms or beaches, among other public places, a serious crime.
Politics, we all accept, involves getting access to power and resources for the benefit of the citizenry. When that becomes our objective, ordinary citizens will have little or no difficulty choosing between the chaff and the grain when the options to choose a government is presented before them.
While we believe that both sides of the House may come to the table with set agendas, we also hold that such agendas ought to be in our collective interest. Simply striving to put down a candidate through any means just because he is an opponent is, in our opinion, neither here nor there.
We may probe issues, if we must, but that should be for purposes of explanation and finding our way out of the mess into the light.
Having gone halfway, we believe it is imperative that we heed the advice of the eminent jurist in helping generate consensus in national life through decent and honest debate for our national good.
Let’s strive to think and act Ghana since it is all we have for ourselves and the succeeding generations.