Is IMANI The Hall Of Knowledge In Ghana?

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The NIA folks managed to convince our usually sleepy “house of whores” to pass a legislative instrument to perpetuate this fraud—Franklin Cudjoe.

This is how Franklin Cudjoe, a founding member of Founding President & CEO at IMANI and Africanliberty.org, chose to describe our distinguished and Honourable Members of Parliament (MPs).

This is at a time, when the rest of the world has found the best and important use of the internet: a tool of socio-political engagement, it is surprising that democratic and moral values have not been surfacing in our own online community. To my chagrin, the proliferation of the so called “cyber-based activism” -being among the referable developments of the internet pervasiveness- is fueling indecorum and unfriendly interpersonal engagement.

His anger is that Parliament has passed a legislative instrument to allow the national Identification Authourity (NIA) to register foreigners with the assistance of another company. This gesture is what Mr Cudjoe think is wrong.

Of course the purpose and beauty of every democracy, is for us to have dissenting views. In fact that is the very essence of democracy, but must we descend to the limit of madness?

Franklin Cudjoe like me has the right to express our opinion on national issues, after all whether we decided to speak or not, whatever repercussions will arise out of it, will affect us.

But in doing so, it is very important to remember that the right we have come with responsibility, and why we choose to exercise that right must be such that it takes into account the right of others.

The Legislative Arm of government is a very important arm, as it serves as a check for both the Executive and the Judiciary. It exercises supervisory role on both the Executive and the Judiciary. The day we lose confidence in the Judiciary, is the day we say goodbye to our democracy.

Parliament over the years has not done a good job, and I will be the first to say they need to do more, if they want us to take them serious. Speaking at a workshop organized by Star-Ghana in Koforidua a fortnight ago, the Minority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said, “Party Politics is greatly undermining the ability of the Parliamentary Committees to exercise oversight responsibilities.”

Democracy as said: is an institution that allows equal participation in all governmental, political or social settings. Democracy being our proclaimed system of life and this democracy is what we keep on clamoring Why then can’t we accommodate our differences? Why then is it difficult to understand the differences in our thinking paradigms? Our faces, colors, natures and attitudes are not the same, why then are we expected to subscribe to similar thinking faculties or have a singular opinion?

We often analyze the democratic features of our government and political leaders while we find it difficult to exhibit the simplest form of democracy through interpersonal interactions between ourselves. And why are we surprise our leaders are sinister tyrants?

IMANI Ghana has been in the forefront of proposing alternative ways of doing things. They have spoken and expressed vociferously their opinion. But it must be stated that their opinion or logic is not the best or the only alternative.

We are building a society, we are not there yet. And so his contribution and mine is critical if we are ever going to have a nation envisaged by our founding fathers.

To describe our MPs in such harsh and unpalatable tone is not an alternative, it is rather childish and uncalled for.

Although, he made cogent point about his disagreement with the decision of the NIA to engage another company to register foreigners, when the NIA had already registered them, I don’t think concluding that it was an entrenchment of the loot and share brigade.

This is the words of Franklin on his facebook wall “Another company with the help of the National Identification Authority is cooking up a project to forcibly register foreigners after they have paid for resident permits, paid for visas, have their passports. Fact is the NIA did register foreigners already for a small fee, yet this company together with the NIA folks think they can milk foreigners at $120 per head and the most annoying part is that the NIA gets only $3 per head re-registered and the company gets the rest, so you know how the YENKODI…( loot and share) will happen… they are on Ghana Television (GTV) right now….. Misbehaving” disgusting isn’t it. Is this the free speech people died for?

I conclude with this analogy, by remembering a relevant folklore story suitable to advocate for respect and accommodation of the differences of opinion in the public sphere. The story of an elephant kept in a deeply dark room and a few number of people are called to go into the room, to touch what is in the room, and come back to explain according to what they touch. The invited people enter from different doors, and there were able to touch different parts of the elephant’s body. Those that enter from front, were able to touch the elephant trunk, and believe the room contain a round tall pole, those that enter the room from the side touch the elephant’s stomach and the thighs, to them the room contain a rock and subsequently those that enter from back touch the elephant’s tail and believe it is a tiny tall tree that is kept in the room.
This simply tells us that we all have opinions on issues depending on where we are coming from.

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