The laying of the report in Parliament concerning the bribery allegation against the Appointments Committee of Parliament has revealed that the MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, did not have any evidence to accuse some Members of Parliament of bribery. At the time when Mahama Ayariga and his co-accusers claimed to have been given the money, they said they did not know the purpose for which it was given even though normally the giver and receiver should have known the reason for it.
Again, both sides of parliament approved Mr. Boakye Agyarko’s nomination by consensus as there was no evidence to prove the allegation. The Joe Ghartey five-member Committee, made up of both NDC and NPP members, unanimously recommended that Mahama Ayariga needs to be reprimanded by the Speaker in accordance with Section 35 of the Parliament Act, 1965 (300). This decision was also unanimously adopted by the 275-member parliament.
Since the Bawku Central MP did not have any evidence against the accused persons, he was required to offer an apology to parliament. Unfortunately, his apology to some observers was done in very bad taste, stating in parliament that if he was required to render an apology, then he was sorry. This conditional apology is unacceptable and goes to show that there is no sign of remorse on the part of Mr. Mahama Ayariga. One is tempted to ask what signal is being sent to the Ghanaian youth who are to see people in leadership as role models. In fact, a good and sincere apology is an essential life skill that requires a considerable level of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence involves behavioural traits such as self-awareness, self-management, inter-personal awareness and also the ability to build positive inter-personal relationships with offending parties.
Again, a sincere and honest apology engenders trust and good will. Deviation from this principle renders an apology insincere and, therefore, calls for total rejection of the apology rendered. It is important for the Bawku MP to know that the ability and preparedness to swallow one’s pride and render an unqualified apology as required of him is a necessary condition to let sleeping dogs lie. An important point worth noting is the behaviour of some members of parliament who were involved in a near-brawl situation on the floor of parliament. This behaviour demonstrated extreme partisanship instead of sitting back and objectively reflecting on the situation in a manner necessary to encourage an apology from the Bawku Central MP.
Members of parliament are not above reproach and are always required to encourage their guilty colleagues to throw in the towel whenever it becomes necessary followed by the rendering of an apology.
The issue of morality must always be adhered to so that irrespective of which MP is at fault, the right thing can be done for peace to prevail. Engaging in open fight with eachother or resorting to the casting of insinuations in the name of parliamentary democracy is not good enough for this country. We need to encourage good governance through healthy relationship with each other and respect for our opponents as way of rising above pettiness.
This is the culture of democratic decency that we need to portray to our children and the people of this country so that the truth and nothing but the truth will always prevail in society.
BY: KOFI AMPONSAH-BEDIAKO, HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, GHANA STANDARDS AUTHORITY.