Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Ministry of Irony and General Non-Seriousness

I've never really wanted to be a politician but of late the idea has been really tempting. I mean, who can resist those huge pays and bonuses with the added advantage of being a respected megalomaniac?

I recently wrote a 140 character letter to our dear President on twitter calling for him to establish a Ministry of Irony. Come to think of it, it should be a Ministry of Irony and General Non-seriousness. If the President, takes my recommendation serious, I'd gladly offer myself as a minister for this position in service to mother Ghana.
As a Minister of Irony and General Non-seriousness, I would oversee the dealings of all other ministry and make sure their non-seriousness is streamlined to enhance non-productivity. I would make a mockery of any sensible decision made by any well meaning Ghanaian and even further caricature all Government decisions till Ghana becomes the number one laughing stock in Africa. At the moment, the non-seriousness of our politician is a bit uncoordinated.

Recently, Members of Parliament started calling for armed guards to protect them 24/7 from the now frustrated people who voted for them. Their calls for armed guards increasing everyday. Far be it for them to take a small amount of their exorbitant salaries to hire private security. In a country where the minimum wage is GhC5.24per day or GhC141.48 per month (about $52 per month and people earn less than that), Members of Parliament earn a meager GhC7,200 per month ($2,674) and that doesn't include their many allowances and bonuses and 'kickbacks'. How can anyone not feel sorry for these poor MPs and grant them their wish for more money and more security?

When it came to the issue of the security of the average Ghanaian, the MP for Ablekuma North, Joe Appiah, said we should quote Isaiah 54:17 when attacked by ArmedRobbers because, it worked for him before. Don't you love how concerned our MPs are about us? This selfless MP wants all Ghanaians to have divine protection while they the MPs suffer the ignominy of mere mortal armed guards.

Isaiah 54: 17 "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord."

Towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year, the country was hit with a series of strikes from various groups over unpaid salaries and the high cost of living. The National Security Adviser, Brigadier General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, got angry at the striking workers and said, any Ghanaian who couldn't sacrifice like they the politicians were doing, should pack his bag and leave the country. And as if to further drum home this point, a few weeks later, fuel prices and utility tariffs went up!

The government has allocated $306 million for the expansion of the Ridge Hospital from 200 bed to 420 beds. This is very welcomed news given that our hospitals are not big enough. Recently, news came out that the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote, had made an announcement that he was going to construct a 1000 bed ultra modern Hospital in Kano State at the cost of $12 million. We the ungrateful citizens of Ghana saw the slight difference in cost and started complaining again. A group called the Alliance for Accountable Government (AFAG) is calling for an immediate investigation into the $306 million.

What AFAG has failed to take into account is the amount of money that would be spent on per diem when the Minister goes for a meeting with the contractor. The new fleet of cars that would be bought for the minster to go for these meeting and inspections and the amount of money that would be used to fuel these cars and provide security for the minister. Frankly in my opinion, $306 million is not enough. Aliko Dangote has all these already that is why his hospital will cost only $12 million.

Over the Christmas period, the President and his family his family went to Dubai to spend the holidays. The only reason I was bitter about this was probably because I wish I could also take my family to Dubai for Holidays. When I'm minister of Irony, I definitely will. When people as bitter as myself started complaining about the presidents luxury holiday, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the General Secretary of the Ruling NDC Party went on one radio station, CitiFM and said the trip to Dubai was a "Cost Saving Strategy". According to him, the president was leaving the country to escape buying gifts for his friends and anyone else. A holiday in a 7 star hotel in far away Dubai with his family was a much cheaper alternative to buy Christmas gifts. This to me made a lot of sense. Everybody knows that you can't buy Christmas gifts after Christmas is over.

Have you ever heard the term, “Bread and Circus”? Well, basically, it like this. In ancient Rome, any time the government sensed that the people were threatening to revolt due to the hardships in the country, they would invest a lot of money into flamboyant Circuses and free bread. The Circus would keep people distracted from the real problems and people don't talk when there is food in their mouth. This worked for the Ancient Roman Empire quite often.

It seem our politicians read ancient times Roman politics (or it could possibly be down to dumb luck). They've come up with a similar scheme. The Government just approved a budget of $9.6 million for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The clever thing they did was to initial throw a budget of $20 million into the public domain and after much public criticism, they approved $9.6 million thereby hoodwinking everyone into thinking they had approved a more reasonable budget. Out of their budget, $10,000 was allocated for local foodstuff, $150,000 allocated for Protocol and $30,000 for laundry. The members of the 'Protocol' team will be getting more bonuses than the players themselves. Given that the players will wear a different Jersey for each game and therefore don't need to wash them, I believe the $30,000 budgeted for laundry is for the washing away of sins.  

I could go on and on but you get the point. Ghana seriously needs a ministry of Irony and General Non-seriousness to streamline the affairs of this country and I would gladly offer myself for this position. Some have even called for me to stand for president but I'm humble enough to recognize that I'm not yet ready for such a position.

In other news: 
The MP for Kwabre East Constituency, Hon. Kofi Frimpong attributed the suspected case of Ebola infection in the Ashanti Region to the piloting of the National Health Insurance Capitation Payment program in the region.