I have always maintained that our politics is poisoned; that it is full of negative vibes and that it has been easily hijacked and manipulated by a few boisterous individuals. Decent and rational political discourse has taken a backseat to vituperative utterances and gross behavior.
This viewpoint, as expected, has not always gone down well in some circles. The argument I advance to support my hypothesis is that our politicians are more apt to say outrageous and offensive things that serve no useful purpose either than to score political points and satisfy to their supporters, to the detriment of the larger Ghanaian society.
The counter argument is that Ghanaian politics is head and shoulders above other democracies in Africa. This is debatable. And Wednesday’s high drama in parliament goes a long way to prove my point.
I watched the near pandemonium in revulsion and shame; Chief Minority Whip and member of parliament for Asawase, Alhaji Muntaka was seen in a video almost duking it out with Mr. Kennedy Agyapong, the abrasive lawmaker from Assin Fosu.
The unfolding scene was something out of a Hollywood movie with the invariable mayhem and mindless cacophony.
The cause of the near brawl was Alhaji Muntaka’s efforts to get Mr. Agyapong censured by the Privileges Committee of Parliament and Mr. Agyapong’s stringent opposition to that.
Both legislators were heard in the video screaming at the top of their voices and threatening each other with physical violence. But for the intervention of their colleagues, the two gentlemen would have beaten each other silly.
There is no love lost between the two; the animosity is visceral and the bad blood has flown for years. It would only get worse as Mr. Agyapong continues to infuriate with his stupid antics and Alhaji Muntaka tries vainly to put a screeching halt to Agyapong’s madness.
No matter which of the two men was right --- none of them was by the way --- both lawmakers were out of bounds. This should never have happened. Not in parliament and not in the full glare of Ghanaians.
Sure lawmakers are supposed to have differences on policy and how the country ought to be governed. And, certainly they should engage in civil discussion to settle their differences.
But to resort to threats of violence is anathema to the spirit of democracy and contravenes the principles of cordiality and respect.
Alhaji Muntaka and Mr. Agyapong threw parliamentary etiquette to the wind and allowed their violent sides to take control of their good senses. What kind of lesson are they imparting to young Ghanaians aspiring to be future representatives?
Wednesday’s yelling and screaming in parliament was a teachable moment for the country; we have to hold our politicians to high standards. We expect them to lead exemplary lives and any deviation from those standards is an affront to the democratic system we have painstakingly built over the years.