Thank you, Mr Speaker.
I beg to make some comments on the Statement ably made by the Hon Member for Nsawam-Adoagyiri on corruption.
Mr Speaker, it is a fact that corruption is counter-productive, and we all must do whatever we could to fight this canker head-on. It is a fact that any time we get the opportunity on the Floor to talk about matters of corruption, unfortunately, it takes a different dimension where we introduce partisanship into the matter.
I remember that in my first term in Parliament, the then Hon Majority Leader, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, made a very profound Statement and I was touched. I think, as a House, we must take it seriously. He said that when issues of corruption come to the Floor, even if we do not know anything about it as Hon Members of Parliament, we try to justify and defend the issues. At the end of the day, we leave this House as if we are corrupt. Meanwhile, for all we know, we do not know anything about what has taken place.
I think it is part of the reason why the current perception out there is such that Hon Members of Parliament are corrupt. This is because we do not take away politics and let those who have been alleged to have done something wrong defend themselves; but we rather take it up and defend those issues. I think, as a House, we have to look at this very carefully.
Mr Speaker, it is also true, like we earlier said, that people out there see us as corrupt. If any Hon Member of Parliament comes here, and to the large extent, all politicians in Ghana -- let me limit myself to Ghana because that is when I can talk much. People out there think that if one is a politician, he is corrupt. There is nothing they could say to explain or justify themselves. Even people who have distinguished themselves very well before becoming politicians could not exonerate themselves from the public perception because we do the unthinkable.
Mr Speaker, people sell their houses and share the money to people because they want the people to vote for them. People come to the politicians' houses every morning, and they make sure that everybody leaves their house smiling. Whichever way it would take the politician, he must do it. So, if the politician is a Jack of solving all problems -- the best
people could say is that maybe, the politician is abnormal; but they think if the politician cannot get extra money from somewhere, how does he solve these problems? If he is capable of solving all those problems for them, it then means he is making money from somewhere else.
Mr Speaker, I think that we must again look at the kind of politics we do in this country because it is becoming capital intensive. Just like the first speaker said, now that people are lacing their boots to go out there and get the mandate - if we tell you the property people sell in order to get money, which would eventually get them to Parliament, you would not believe it. Unfortunately, people also come here thinking that things are here. However, they are disappointed. If we want such people to sit in the Chamber, we cannot get them because they would have to go and fight the next battle ahead of them.
Mr Speaker, it is a good Statement, and I commend the Maker. There are laws; in Ghana, we have those institutions, which he mentioned doing their best; but I think the perception out there is just too much. We also need to educate our people. If one is an article 71 office holder, there are some entitlements that, are due him. Even if, excuse my
language, and I say this with all respect, one is a security man and does not have a bicycle and his people decide to give him the mandate to come to Parliament, obviously, he is entitled to some benefits, and that does not mean he is corrupt.
Mr Speaker, because he did not have a bicycle but now sits in a Toyota Land Cruiser, it means he has stolen public money. I also think that we have to try as much as possible to wean ourselves, and get our people more educated on this matter. Especially, the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) and the media should help us do this kind of work. Unfortunately, we have to defend ourselves; how do we defend ourselves? If we want to defend ourselves, it means we are defending ourselves because we have been accused. I think that as a House, we have to look at this issue very seriously and find some kind of solution to these kinds of perceptions.
Thank you for this opportunity; I am grateful.