Friday, April 5, 2013
For all these years that the NPP’s Maxwell Kofi Jumah has been involved in Ghanaian politics, he hasn’t endeared himself to the hearts of people like me who see him as an aberration characteristic of a society in transition or as a political misfit reflecting the pitfalls of a young democracy.
I recall him for nothing but the controversy and shameless rabble-rousing that characterizes his politicking. In fine, he is like a toxic waste on our national scene.
Now, he has carried his notoriety a notch higher. Reacting to public outrage at the government’s release of over 39 million Cedis to pay the ex-gratia award for 230 Parliamentarians of the 5th Republic (including him), Jumah revealed more of his trashy self.
He isolated medical doctors and teachers for particular disparaging, asking them not to make the mistake to “compare themselves with MPs because MPs are on a higher pedestal compared to the two professions.”
That wasn’t all, as he sought to explain: “In terms of hierarchy, doctors and teachers are not equal to an MP in the same way the MP is not equal to the President…If you are a doctor, is the MP your co-equal? If you are a teacher, is the MP your co-equal?”
By this show of disdain, Jumah has clearly confirmed his notoriety and will be tongue-lashed for it as I am doing because he deserves nothing bad-mouthing. He has called the tune and must be ready to dance to it.
We won’t even dignify him by asking him what he was when working outside the country before seeking refuge in politics in Ghana to grow wings. But we know that he is a mere upstart whom no medical doctor or teacher values or envies. He is big only in his own eyes.
The rigours that aspiring medical doctors and teachers go through to establish themselves in their professions alone give credence to their calling even if they don’t have access to the corridors of power to do shady deals that rake in the filthy wealth that characters like him worship after throwing their brains into the drain.
And for him to say that “Parliament comprises various citizens with various backgrounds who have excelled in their various life careers and have been chosen by their communities to go to Parliament and make laws, so such persons could not be compared with teachers and doctors” confirms the scum that he is.
What was he before he entered Parliament? A medical doctor or a teacher of any repute? What contribution has he made to the growth of our democracy as an MP? How many laws did he initiate action on or play any active role in enacting to improve living standards in the country for which he must be bounteously paid an “ex-gratia”?
Like him, there are such deadwood in Parliament who enjoy the perks of office just because they are accidents of our democracy. Had our democracy been designed to sift the chaff from the grain, characters of Jumah’s type won’t have any elbow room to fool about. But it is not. It rewards mediocrity and waywardness. That is the citizens’ woe.
Who says that medical doctors and teachers want to equate themselves to MPs? To gain what?
Ghanaian teachers, for instance, have always lived their lives in humility, honesty, and self-respect. That is why they are able to educate and prepare millions of citizens to live their lives. Self-denial has been the driving force behind what they do, and society is proud of them. Teachers have remained dedicated to their calling despite the disdain and unsatisfactory conditions under which they work, even graciously accepting the taunting remark that their “reward is in heaven.”
That is even why they are not so keen about the sham recognition given their profession with the institutionalization of the bogus “Annual Teachers’ Day.” They see it as a ploy and don’t enthuse over it.
Can we say so for politicians of Kofi Jumah’s type? What, then, makes him think that MPs are at a higher pedestal than a medical doctor and a teacher and should merit 39 million Cedis as “ex-gratia” while public sector workers are denied what is due them—what they have worked for and are demanding genuine payment for?
They are even not agitating for a re-introduction of the End-of-Service Benefits that Rawlings wickedly and savagely abolished for them but paid himself and his government officials, which Kufuor replicated and Mahama too is giving his blessing to today.
What makes Jumah think that the MPs deserve that chunk of the national cake but university teachers demanding just a quarter of that quantum should be denied and insulted on top? Or that medical doctors, pharmacists, civil servants (Local Government workers, nurses, members of the GNAT, NAGRAT, and many more) are mere nonentities to be pooh-poohed?
The sad aspect is that the contributions of these public sector workers are tangible while those of the MPs are infinitesimal and negligible—very intangible and, at most, very controversial and unmeritorious. What will Ghana lose without these MPs?
Jumah’s irritating pronouncements reflect the shabbiness that undergirds politicking in our country. He is not alone in this shabbiness. Many others like him are in leadership positions, which is why our country cannot make progress despite its enormous natural and human resources.
To reinforce his notoriety, he went further to ask “Ghanaians to learn to respect MPs and Parliament because it is the same doctors, teachers, and other professionals who become MPs.”
Aagh!! The cheek of it!! Who will respect these MPs? For what? Is respect demanded or commanded, Jumah? It is disgraceful for MPs to demand respect. What are they worth to anybody? Nothing, I daresay.
No Ghanaian is proud of any of them in that cocoon called Parliament. If they want to know the true impression that Ghanaians have about them, they should just do a simple survey; and knowing the truth should make them sober down. It will hurt them enough to know how to shape up if they can.
Putting everything together, though, Jumah’s rise to infamy has its own history. He couldn’t have risen to where he is now had Kufuor not paid him back for his generosity toward him (Kufuor) when he was mobilizing support and funds for his political activities before Election 2000.
I hear Jumah had been magnanimous enough to house Kufuor anytime he visited the United States. In other words, Jumah had the foresight to play his cards well, which secured for him political office to carve the stature that he has been exploiting all these years. Call it the benefits of a quid-pro-quo (“hand-go-hand-come”) relationship between him and Kufuor!
Having sowed the seed of generosity by assisting Kufuor with his substance, there was no way Kufuor could sideline him when he won the 2000 elections and implemented his “property-grabbing” agenda. Thus, Jumah took advantage of that electoral victory and returned to Ghana to be elevated by Kufuor into political office as the CEO of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and later as a Deputy Minister of Local Government.
It is not difficult to recall how he exploited that exposure to personal advantage, including wetting his feet and staking his luck to win the Parliamentary seat for Asokwa. Thus, a hitherto flaccid (Kofi Ghana” suddenly became an inflated local potentate so puffed up as not to know that his continued stay in Parliament depended on the goodwill of his constituents. Or that his personal political fortunes were tied to those of the NPP. He took his zaniness too far and suffered for it but won’t relent.
We recall the tension that he created in the Asokwa constituency because he couldn’t tolerate dissension from his own party’s local executive officers. Unable to tone down his self-importance, it didn’t take long for him to lock horns with anybody disagreeing with him.
Will we forget his outburst that Madam Beatrice Appiah-Agyei, whom Kufuor chose to replace him at the KMA and who was further gearing up to challenge him for the Asokwa seat was appointed by Kufuor because she offered her “behind” for political favours? Despicable!
No wonder, he had become too much of a hot potato for the NPP members in Asokwa, who promptly dislodged him from Parliament.
Then again, will we forget the circumstances surrounding the 2008 general elections and the evil that Radio Gold reported him as plotting to destabilize the country and against Rawlings and the NDC bigwigs? Not so soon.
Or the many other unguarded utterances coming from him, the recent one being his accusation of National Security and the NDC as the cause of the motor accident involving Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the NPP Running Mate in Election 2012? How far does he want to carry his inanity?
In truth, nothing that comes out of Jumah’s mouth makes peace or sense. Like a reincarnated evil-filled dragon, he walks the political landscape with only one mission in mind: to spit fire at his political opponents. His voice fills the airwaves with nothing but venom and trashy talk, daring his political opponents to duels as if he has chosen them for a special vengeance.
Such a character is not worth public office; but because our country lacks the mechanism for sifting the chaff from the grain, he has slipped through to grow wings and become our bugbear. And because despicable characters like him cannot be quickly tamed, he sees the sky as the limit for his inanity.
It is true that we don’t have to dash out of the bathroom nude to pursue the mad man who has snatched our underwear away; but we must also learn not to make it easy for any mad man to have access to the bathroom, in the first place.
To that effect, it is gratifying that the political pond in Asokwa in which Kofi Jumah has been fooling about has dried up. I urge the residents there to flee from him as they would the Bubonic Plague. So should all others everywhere in the country do to public figures of hi’s type. They deserve no space at all because they are like toxic waste on the political landscape.
I shall return…
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