Popular reggae musician and radio show host, Abubakar Ahmed, aka Blakk Rasta, has apologized unreservedly to Ghana’s parliament for shooting his mouth way off parliamentary limits, but said all he wanted was for Ghana to balance the imbalances in the economy by legalising the use and trade of marijuana, popularly called Wee or “Ganja”.
In a contempt of parliament proceedings encounter with the house’s Privilege’s Committee yesterday, Blakk Rasta said, his comments to the effect that some 80 percent of parliamentarians use marijuana, was one of those issues one says while on heat.
His rib-cracking apology, sent members of the house into laughter, but he was unequivocal about his regret for denigrating the house, describing his comments as “very unfortunate remarks” for which he has seized many opportunities to speak on radio to recant them.
It is the same remorseful urge that saw him ask his editors at Adomfmonline, a member of the Multimedia Group that first published the comment, to take down the publication he had made in an interview he granted the company on his advocacy for the legalization of marijuana in Ghana.
Led by his counsel, Thaddeus Sory, Blakk Rasta, said he never intended to look down on parliament or anybody when he talked about how much economic and pharmacological benefits Ghana stood to gain with the legalization of the banned drug, especially so when other nations Ghana seeks financial aid from have taken the lead to legalise it.
“We came to apologise unreservedly,” chipped in his counsel, who also maintained the interview was not about parliament.
“It is contemptuous and we apologise,” he said in his client’s defence, explaining that parliament serves all of us and even if one had the power to bring it down, it would serve no good to do so.
He said, if his client had been given the chance to speak from the onset of the proceedings, the matter which called in no less than four witnesses ahead of Blakk Rasta, would not have travelled the time it did, praying “We have all become wiser after the facts.”
The proceedings were presided over by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Cape Coast North, Barton Oduro, who said the Committee would report to the full house for a decision and then discharged.
The radio show host, musician and an advocate for the use of marijuana who claims he does not use wee, said on Hitz FM entertainment show that, 80 per cent of MPs smoke marijuana.
He did not understand why the MPs will not legalise the use of the herb. The comment was subsequently published on Adomonline.com and Daily Searchlight newspaper. Adomonline.com, later pulled the story down.
A Member of Parliament (MP) for Efigya Sekyere East, Henrick Yeboah, had read the report in the Searchlight and raised the issue on the floor and requested that the musician be hauled before the House for slandering Parliament.
The Speaker agreed and ordered that Blakk Rasta appear before the Privileges Committee. A live hearing was held in Parliament, Thursday.
Blakk Rasta together with his lawyer, Thaddeus Sory, the Hitz FM Programmes Coordinator, Mark Okraku Mantey, t George Imbeah, HR Manager of Multimedia who represented the CEO and the Editor of Searchlight newspaper Ken Kuranchie, all appeared before the Privileges Committee.
After Ken Kuranchie was interrogated on why he published the comment, he claimed to have culled from Adomonline.com, the controversial recording of the interview was played.
After listening to the audio, the lawyer for the principal witness was asked to comment.
Thaddeus Sory, quickly laid the foundation for an apology when he represented his client.
He said, “there was no way we could justify the comments” made on the Hitz FM entertainment show.
“We have become wise after the fact and have learnt from this,” he indicated.
The Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton Odro, wanted to hear the apology from the main witness and called him into the ‘dock’.
Blakk Rasta, told the MPs his comments were in bad taste and must be forgiven.
When asked if he stood by his crusade for the use of wee to be legalised, Blakk Rasta said yes. Legalising the use of wee was the way to go.
“I feel passionate about it,” he said adding, the legalisation of wee, could help boost the country’s wobbling economy.
The witness was then pounded with a number of questions from the MPs, but was discharged.
Mr. Ebo Barton Odro, said the Privileges Committee would sit and review the issue and come out later with a decision.