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Comment: Who Are These “Parliamentarian Drivers”?   
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I am glad that, finally, the Ivorians are beginning to assert their right of access and enjoyment of Ghana’s purportedly new-found oil wealth.

Perusing President John Mills’ second and latest “State of the Nation Address” the other day, I couldn’t help but wonder aloud why Ghanaians seem to be so morbidly afflicted with this kind of hysteria whereby the mere announcement of a potential windfall is deafeningly celebrated even while such “natural” largesse squarely remains on the prospector’s drawing board.

It also didn’t quite make a lot of sense to me that an oil find that lay so dangerously close to Ghana’s border with Côte d’Ivoire would also have been so godlessly uncharitable as to neatly parcel itself out for the exclusive benefit and enjoyment of Ghanaians while the war-seasoned Ivorians continued to languish in penury.

What is also wickedly fascinating is the sudden fit of alarm that seems to have gripped the hitherto light-headed Ghanaians. All of an auspicious sudden, it is beginning to home-in to these soft-headed, happy-go-lucky and good-natured “Niggers” that premature gloating over a pure gift of nature may yet turn out to be too good to be true. It was also rather fitfully amusing that some Ghanaians should already begin to be angrily chary of the Ivorians; and, indeed, the irony of it all is that these “Angernistas” are largely what one may aptly term as diehard “Nkrumacrats,” the fanatical disciples of modern Ghana’s first postcolonial premier. Dear reader, by now, it ought to be obvious to you what “Sremu Sei Nana” (The King of the Savannah’s Grandson) is getting at. And, of course, it is the stark fact that where “Black Gold” is concerned, pan-Africanism is only the dream of a hopeless lunatic.

Still, one could not help but be god-awfully impressed by that Ghanaweb.com chat-room junkie who insinuated that the largely effeminate, motor-mouth-running Azorka Boys of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) may well have met their match!

Anyway, what sprang me out of bed this morning (and it is 3:30 AM on Friday 3/5/10) was an article titled “Leadership of Parliament to Dialogue with Disgruntled MPs’ Drivers” (MyJoyOnline.com 3/3/10). The article, which was accompanied by the portrait of Deputy Parliamentary Majority Leader Rashid Pelpuo, reported the story of some drivers of our currently serving Members of Parliament who had threatened to embark on a strike because their conditions of service left too much to be desired.

What is news here is not the mere fact that these “Parliamentarian Drivers” also want to be as generously salaried as their bosses – for God darn well knows, of course, that what is good for the mother-hen must also be good for Chicken George – but really the fact that in his “State of the Nation Address,” President John Mills preferred to appropriate a remarkable portion of Ghana’s new-found oil wealth in the construction of special edifices for our MPs in their various constituencies.

Yes, charity may be aptly said to begin at home; still, hasn’t it occurred to any of these MPs for even just a slit-second that, indeed, the mobility of each and every one of these National Assemblymen and Women is only as sound as the soundness of their officially designated drivers? In that part of his “State of the Nation Address” devoted to constructing shrines for MPs in their individual constituencies, I also wondered why office spaces could not be created for these MPs in each and every one of the buildings housing the District Assemblies in their constituencies? And then, of course, matters got a tad shady when the President also added, obviously for good measure, that the lands on which the aforesaid MPs’ home-district offices were to be constructed were to be selected by these incumbent representatives themselves! There was absolutely no stipulation, whatsoever, barring any clinically erratic or even a rascally MP from causing his domestic official headquarters to be built in either his non-district headquarters home village or even that of his girlfriend or mistress(es).

We are also not told exactly how much these MPs’ drivers are currently being paid; neither are we apprised of the fact of whether these hired motorists are unionized into some form of a collective-bargaining unit. Still, what appears to me to be the most intelligent, safest and legitimate thing to do would be to ensure that these sensitively placed drivers were accorded civil-servant status with all the benefits accruing thereunto. Needless to say, the driver of any Ghanaian MP probably spends most of his/her working hours ferrying the mistresses and boyfriends, spouses, children and relatives of these representatives around town and weekend funerals and soirees nearly as much as catering to the work-related needs of their bosses including, of course, serving as bona fide pimps!

And so, yes, by all means, it is in the best interest of our MPs to promptly dialogue with their disgruntled ferrymen and women. And by the way, is there any artificial shortage of pre-mixed fuel due these Parliamentary Hackers? I say: “Give it to them, Uncle Oguaa Kofi!”
Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is also a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI

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