Corruption – Episode 9
© Akoto Alexander
Conductor: (speaks in a low tone) Because you are a soldier man you think you can go around town and be intimidating people any how.
Passenger 3: If you are a man voice out those words and let me hear you well. If everyone decides to drive around town in their own vehicles will you transport operators get people to board your cars? Don’t you know when someone sits in your car and pays you, at that moment that person owns the car and has the right to request for some things whiles the person is still in the car?
Conductor: Boss I didn’t say anything.
Passenger 2: Who say man no dey? Your fellow man is talking to you, go ahead and exchange words with him if you are man enough. Tell him you will beat him red, blue and black as you told me.
Driver: (turns to ask what is going on) Kalabuley what is happening over there, why is there so much noise in the bus?
Passenger 3: Massa concentrate on the driving you are doing before you hit the back of another car. The man sitting behind you requested for you to put the radio in the bus to a station where the State of the Nation Address will be broadcast but you turn deaf on his request. You are now coming to ask what is going on in the car.
Driver: (looks into his inside mirror and sees the person talking) Oh boss I didn’t hear anyone asking me to change the station oooo. I will do as you instructed, you know without you passengers we are nobody.
Passenger 3: You also need to check your conductor on his personal hygiene, his armpit smells more than a dead rat and also he is very rude. (all passengers laugh to what the soldier man said)
Driver: Boss I will do exactly as you have instructed, you Kalabuley I always talk to you about your hot temper. One day one day you will get a very big problem and that time I won’t be around to help or defend you.
Passenger 2: Driver I will alight here, please don’t take me any far because am having a problem with my knee.
Driver: Madam this place is not a bus stop please, the bus stop is about 50 meters from here so let me get there so you get down.
Passenger 4: Oh driver so if this elderly woman was to be your mother, will you treat her like this?
Driver: Madam!!! Madam!!! Please let me park the car at the right place, if the metropolitan workers come and lock my car for wrong parking will you help me pay the fine?
Passenger 2: Driver you are wicked and inconsiderate. You if you will take me to the last stop even I will walk to where am going. For you and you conductor, I will take a very good look at you and will never board your car again.
(true to the driver’s word he dropped the old woman at the bus stop and she got down insulting the driver and his conductor, about 15meters drive from the bus stop, the driver saw some people stopping him because they were also going to the same direction and the driver stopped for the people to join the car)
Passenger 1: But driver that place is not a bus stop so why are you stopping to pick some people?
Passenger 3: (tells the person he is talking to, to hold on and takes the phone off his ear) Madam and ladies please get down from the bus, this car only stops at the bus stop for passengers to alight or board. Sorry for doing this but the driver called for this principle in this bus.
Passenger 5: You see what your wickedness has caused you, 8 people have been deprived from boarding your bus just because you decided not to alight an old lady at her junction.
Back at the Parliament House Inner Chamber:
Speaker of Parliament: I warmly welcome you Mr President and the First Lady, Mr Vice President and Second Lady to this august house. We are extremely happy to have you in our midst today, also I throw felicitations to the two former Presidents whom have joined us here today. Without wasting much time I humbly call on the President to deliver his Nation Address to us.
Parliamentarians: (in a chorus voice) Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
President R. Mensah: Her Excellency the First Lady Mrs Audrey Mensah, His Excellency the Vice President James Bugri and his pretty wife the Second Lady Madam Salomey Bugri, The two former Presidents, Right Honourable Speaker of this honourable house Mrs Emelia Sarfo and husband Professor Kwadwo Sarfo, The Chief Justice and Members of the Judiciary Service, Chief of Defence staff, Lieutenant General Aisha Tinadana Haruna, Inspector General of Police Mr Kofi Boakye, Eminent Traditional Chiefs, Members of the Council of State, Diplomatic Corps, Ministers and their respective Deputies, Honourable Members of Parliament, Special Invited Guests, Media Representatives, Students, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I stand here today a very happy man reading to you my first State of the Nation Address and the few achievements my led government has chalked as I came to office.
Parliamentarians: Yeeeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam speaker my led government is just 48days in power and with the help of my hardworking ministers we have been able to pay off some heavy debts that were incured by the previous government.
Majority Members: (in a chorus voice) Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, in my party’s manifesto before I came to power, I stated clearly that my led government was going to bring a lasting peace to the Dagbon tribal conflicts between the Abudu and Andani families. Madam Speaker am extremely happy that my promise has been fulfilled where a new lord has been enskined and both families are very happy and have smoked the peace pipe now.
Majority Members: Yeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker another solid promise that I campaigned with and was boldly written in my manifesto was to bring into being allowances for teacher trainees, student nurses and university students which had been scrapped away by my predecessor. Just last week I ordered the Finance Minister to migrate those students back into this year’s budget.
Majority Members: Yeeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
Madam Speaker: Order!!! Order!!! Order!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, in the Education sector, I together with the Education Minister and his two Deputies met with some stakeholders where we have signed some MOU’s where some new schools and dormitory buildings will be built in some communities whiles some selected schools in the rural areas too will get some building expansions. The free education policy is now not going to be limited to only the first year students but rather every student in the senior high school. During my campaigning time I promised to eradicate schools under trees and I am working earnestly to fulfil that promise.
I have also spoken to the Minister of Agriculture to get me list of farmers who will be supplying food items to all the senior high schools we have in the country because I don’t want any delays in their payments not even for a month. Since our children can’t go and sit in the class with an empty stomach to learn, I would like them to enjoy quality and nutritious meals and on this note, I will also throw caution to matrons not to be preparing tastless food for the students and then convey part of the food stuffs to their homes. Currently I and some telecommunication networks are in talks where students right from the senior high school to the tertiary level will be given tablets and free WiFi supply to only educative sites so it enhances their research level.
Majority Members: Yeeeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker in the Health sector, I spoke with the British High Commision and they have accepted to help us build four more state of the art Teaching Hospitals in the Volta, Eastern, North East, and Western North regions so that quality health care will get to the people living close to those places. As I talk now, Surveyors, Site Engineers and Contractors have been sent to the places we have landmark for this major projects. Also for the old three teaching hospitals namely Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and Tamale Teaching Hospital, they will see a facelift as renovations will start to take place by the end of the year. Yesterday afternoon I signed some documents with a Germany company and in that document, Ghana is expecting to receive three new health-care helicopters from that company, as if that is not enough, I pleaded with the company and out of their benevolence, they accepted to add 8 brand new Mercedes Benz ambulances to the helicopters they will deliver to us hopefully next week Wednesday.
Majority Members: Yeeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
Hon. Tuffor: (screams on top of his voice) Some people will stay in opposition for the rest of their lives. “Wonp3 w3i ah wop3 den?” (if you don’t like this, then what else do you want)
Madam Speaker: Order!!! Order!!! Order in the house!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, just this morning I instructed the Minister of Health to have an emergency meeting with the director of Ghana Health Service as to how they will find places for nurses who completed school over two years ago for them to start working immediately because they can’t go to school and waste the rest of their lives eating and sleeping, so if you know any such people inform them that God has heard their prayers and very soon they will be employed. Three days ago I instructed the Finance Minister to add to this year’s budget all outstanding salaries of health workers and teachers who have been lamenting bitterly for some time now. Two days ago I was privileged to host almost all the paramount chiefs in the country as they paid me a courtesy visit with the president of the National House of Chiefs. Almost everyone of them pledged their full support that if my led government wants land to start government projects they are more than willing to allocate enough lands for those project, today am standing here infront of you addressing you that my led government will start building hospitals and small clinics and equip them with every material the health workers will need. Also the director of the National Health Insurance has given me his word that his outfit will intensify the work they are doing so that many people can register with his outfit especially those in the rural areas. Again I had a meeting with the Health Director and some stakeholders where we came out with the conclusion that, sickness like Leprosy, Mental disorder, HIV, Tuberculosis and Glaucoma will be treated freely in all government hospitals across the country.
Majority Members: Yeeeeeeeeeeah !!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!! Ghana is working again under a good driver!!
Minority Members: (wait for majority members to finish their heckling and they start theirs) 419!!! 419!!! 419
Madam Speakers: Order!!!! Honourable Members please order!!!! Order!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, in the Agricultural Sector the Minister, Honourable Johnson has brought back into the system, Extension Officers who will be going round the country somewhere next month to educate the farmers on how to go about planting in the modern way and how to apply the modern fertilizer. Two days from now I will be signing some documents with a company from Belgium who will be supplying the country with all kinds of fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides. My government has decided to take 50% off the prices of the above products. Also my government has spoken with a seedling company who will supply this country with some new seedlings that grows fast under any weather and bears food in the shortest given time, I am saying here and now that those seedlings will be supplied to our farmers freely. Lastly my government is bringing a new policy scheme where farmers will be registered and monies will be deducted from the proceeds when they sell in the market, after sometime with their deducted contributions, the government will purchase machines for them which will enhance performance and boost their harvest. This year I am introducing something new into the system where the best three farmers of the year will be flown outside the country to go and study some new ways of farming.
Hon. Johnson: (screams) If you don’t like this, what do you like?
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, in this year’s budget I have made it clear to the Minister of Roads and Transport to award 55% of the roads contracts to deserving local contractors who will commence work immediate on all the Cocoa producing town roads into asphalt. The Eastern corridor roads will this year see a facelift with an expansion where the roads will be expanded into a four dual carrier road. Also the Accra to Nsawam, Apedwa to Anyinam, Nkawkaw to Kumasi road which has taken over 14years to complete has been awarded to a new contractor who is currently on site with his machines and workers. Also a memo has been signed in which we will see all the small community linking roads been tarred. I have also decided that, monies being paid at the toll booths and road wealthy monies paid at the Driver Vehicle License Authority will be increased and those monies will be what the Ministry will use to pay the contractors who are awarded with road contracts. My government won’t pump money into the Ministry of Transport, Aviation, Roads and Highways again.
Majority Members: (roads and transport minister doesn’t look happy chanting with the others) Yeeeeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, my led government will revamp and rebrand all the railway lines again. As we are already aware that over the years, our trains has not been in good shape and the railway lines are also very bad and risky when travelling on it. I wouldn’t allow a train to derail before we start taking drastic measures on putting things in place. The Accra to Nsawam, Accra to Tema, Accra to Koforidua, Accra to Kumasi, Accra to Sekondi, Accra to Axim, Accra to Oda, Accra to Techiman, Accra to Ho, Accra to Tamale, Accra to Burkina Faso through the Volta region is going to receive great attention as workers are already on the grounds working. I have acquired some new trains from Germany which will be delivered by the end of next month which has private shuttles in it and also a cafeteria where edible things will be sold inside there. I am looking forward to build a speed train system in this country before my first 4years term ends. If Kenya is now operating one of the best train coaches in Africa and it is boosting their GDP then with the revamping of the railway lines, Ghana will also go far. The government will employ a lot of the youth who will act as coach crew and be serving drinks and food on-board as the train moves.
Minority Members: Tweeeeeeeea!!! Kalabuley report!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, coming to the Oil and Gas sector I will be taking a very bold step by reversing and readdressing the contracts my predecessor signed by allowing a foreign investor to take our crude oil to their country to refine it for us. Research has it that the waste product of crude oil is coal tar which we buy from those same people to construct our roads because they only bring back the refined oil which are petrol, kerosene and diesel. As I speak right now, an engineer and his team are at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) working morning and evening to repair the machines that are spoilt and preventing the refinery to operate. I know the measures my led government is taking will first land us into a financial setback but after a few months, we will start earning a triple fold of what we lost.
Hon. Ayuba: (stands up, whistles and show a red card to the president) Mr President we won’t allow you to take us to hell with a wrong decision.
Majority Members: (all stands up and start singing) Ako) sakyer3 akroma eny3 nefe (when the hen dances for the hawk it doesn’t please him)
Speaker of Parliament: Order!!! Order please honourable members!!! Order!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, I am not surprised with the heckling the minority members are giving me. The song the majority members sang is enough to justify myself.
Now in the legal and judicial affairs of this country, the Attorney General, his deputies and some wonderful men of the Bar Association did some great work by winning the bilateral case at the World Crime Court we had with Ivory Coast which was about our oil field in the Western Region. Yesterday I signed a document where prisoners who were wrongly accused or have been on remind for a long time, a committee to be set up to look into some of the cases and if you deserve pardon then you will be granted one and the State will give you a little token to fall on when the person is out finally. Also the government has acquired a vast land where my government will build a bigger prison and move some of the prisoners there. Again I in consultation with some Council of Elders have decided to increase the feeding amount every prisoner enjoys from 1 cedi 80 pesewas to 4cedis daily. Also I have told the Interior Minister to start some renovation works for all the prisons in the country and work on the poor ventilation system of that place. The Health Minister has also been tasked to see to it that, the prison hospitals are supplied with the things they will need to operate and function independently.
Majority Members: Yeeeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, my Nation Address can not be complete without talking about security. Just three days ago I handed 429 brand new SUV’s made by a Ghanaian company called Kantaka Automobile to enhance their mobility and be visible in any corner. Also this year it is in my government plans to recruit two thousand four hundred and eighty seven police officers so they help clump down crime which is on the rise and also meet the ratio UN states for every country. As the recruitment takes places, the accommodation and logistics the service will need is equally been taken care of as I did a sword cutting this morning for some new 400 flat units which has 8 storey building each to be built and that project should be ready by 2years from now. The insecurity pandemic that has hit us recently is been curtailed, the vigilante groups who are politically affiliated will soon see the full force of the law without fear or favour as I will be using my legislative powers to stop this menace that has found it’s root here. I have tasked the Inspector General of police to form a solid and formidable unit which will fight and arrest all land guards who are terrorizing the citizens of this country on their lands, the IGP has given me his word that his outfit will match those land guards and hoodlums boot for boot.
The Fire Service, Immigration Service, Customs and the Prison Service will equally see a facelift in the things I mentioned for the police service, also they will see a revamp, rebrand, reform, restructure and increase of 20% in the salaries of the men in uniform. Four patrol helicopters has been purchased for the police service and six water tank helicopters has also been purchased for the fire service where they will use it in areas which has no proper access road.
Minority Members: (screaming) Cut and paste!!! Cut and paste!!! Cut and paste!!!
Speaker of Parliament: Order!!! Honourable Members order please!!! Order!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, I am not surprise the minority are heckling and throwing words into the air because they have been taken by surprise as to the things my government have put in place and the transformation Ghana is about to see. In the Energy, Oil and Gas sector my government is building a new dam in the Northern region which will add 52000 kilowatts of power to what we are already enjoying. Again in the Energy sector, I have invited into the country some engineers who are coming to build a solar plant which we are going to use to power all streetlights and traffic lights across the country. I have ordered the sector minister to set a mobilising committee which will go round the country to change and replace all streetlights with the new ultra modern solar lights. I have also had several meetings with the Public Utility Regulatory Commission, Gridco, Volta River Authority, Electricity Company of Ghana and Ghana Water Cooperation where we agreed to cut down the tariffs consumers pay. For domestic consumers 50% has been taken off whiles the commercial users also have gotten 35% cut off.
In the Oil and Gas sector my government is coming to build the biggest ultra modern thermal plant facility in the whole of Africa where we can store oil and gas for the next 30years even if there is shortage in the whole world. The prices of fuel will also see a drastic reduction by 55% by the end of this year. The Jubilee house will be powered by the end of year by solar energy to cut down monies we pay on electricity. As if that is not enough, my led government in some few weeks from today will inaugurate a 70 acre Solar Thermal Plant in the Northern and Savannah regions respectively. This solar energy will serve as the source of hydro energy for our brother’s in the Northern part of the country.
Majority Members: (chorus voice) This is what we call leadership, toaso oooo!!! Toaso!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, as we all know, our beloved country has been blessed with a lot of Tourist Sites ranging from Waterfalls, Beaches, Colonial Castles and Forts, Canopy Walk, Crocodile Pond, Cultural Centres and Museums. My led government has decided to invest 20million cedis into the Tourism and Creative Art field so that the fore mentioned place will see a facelift and a state of the art branding which will attract more visitors and tourist into our beautiful country. For the beaches and coastal areas, a taskforce is going to be formed to guard, clean and prevent people from winning the sand or ease themselves over there. A stronger sea defense will be constructed in some place like Keta and Ada where the sea waves are strong, a lot of coconut trees are going to be planted so it beautifies the beaches and prevent strong winds from destroying properties of those living around those places. To those who have been defecating openly at the beaches, this is the time for you to put a stop to that practice because when you are caught or arrested, you will be prosecuted and highly fined after which you will be engaged in series of communal labour for months. Lastly in some coastal areas, where you are finding it difficult to get portable water, I have signed a contract with a company who are going to treat the sea water so that you can use it for all your domestic chores and needs.
Majority Members: (tourism minister gets up and throws her hands in the air) Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, football has been our topmost sports in this country but for over 2 decades now, no trophy has ever been won by our senior team. Our junior and female teams have been trying their best even though much attention is not given to them, I have had a meeting with my sports minister where the attention given to the senior team will also be channelled to the other teams. A 10 year grooming plan is going to take place where scouting for young talents will take place in all the 16 regions of the country so that we can start winning trophies in every sports we partake in, but, I am stressing on this, no one is to pay anything to register when the time for scouting is due. Should any offical approach anyone and demands for money or anything from you, please report that official to the disciplinary committee that will be set up. Madam Speaker, funds has been disbursed for the Legon University Stadium to be completed before this year ends. Also my led government has decided to build ultra modern sports centres for other sports disciplines like table tennis, long tennis, basketball, volleyball, handball, boxing, judo, martial arts, hockey, cricket, beach soccer, swimming and track events at various regions. I am in talks with the education ministry to award scholarships and allowances to students who are good in the above mentioned sports. This year a 25% slot will be given to sportsmen and women who wish to join the army, police or any of the security services in the country.
Majority Members: Wonp3 wei ah, wop3 d3n? If you don’t like these, what do you like?
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, my government from today has stopped buying official vehicles for Members of this honourable house, Ministers, Chief Executives, District Chief Executives, Municipal Chief Executives, Directors and any Government Appointee because I know everyone owns at least 2cars in his or her compound. This morning I signed a memorandum with the Toyota company that if any member of Parliament wants a V8 or saloon car, the person will do so at his own cost and pay it in bits.
Minority Members: (screams) You go kill us but we no go die. Point and kill nation address. We no go agree ooooo!!! We no go agree!!!
Speaker of Parliament: Honourable Members please let this place be quiet. Order!!! Order!!!
President R. Mensah: Madam Speaker, my government has met with the Revenue Authority where we have introduced into the system some tax stamps on textiles and consumables both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. To companies who deal in consumables you must see to it that the tax stamps are puy on the covers of your products before they are brought to the market.
Madam Speaker in the banking sector, any bank that can’t stand to the minimum requirements the central bank gives, will be shut down and it’s lincense will be revoked.
Majority Members: Yeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
President R. Mensah: I saved the best for the last, I and my vice are cutting down the salary we take by 50% and scraping away all allowance that my predecessors were enjoying. Also as the first gentleman of the land I must lead by example so from this month going forward, my salary must attract tax so that citizens can be held accountable if they refuse to pay their taxes. Ghana must see transformation from the tax the good citizens pay, if the British have developed their country with taxes then Ghana’s story shouldn’t be different. We are going to see value for money in this country as I promised during my campaigning time. Madam Speaker, before I end my Nation Address, I leave you with this Latin words
“Dominus regit me nihil mihi deerit”. In English it means “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”.
God bless our homeland Ghana and makes us great and strong.
Thank you. (moves to his seat)
Speaker of Parliament: Thank you very much your Excellency Mr President, your speech will be discussed and debated upon from tomorrow in accordance to the constitution where a report will be brought back to you. Now I will call on the respective leaders of both the majority and minority to move for a closure of today’s proceedings as the President moves out to sign the Visitors Book.
Majority Leader: Thank you very much madam speaker, it has been a great privilege to witness this day as a member of Parliament for the constituency I represent. This is by far the best State of the Nation Address I have ever heard as I came of age, what else can one ask of if not this awesome governance led by our abled, energetic and vibrant president, on this note I push for today’s proceedings to come to an end.
Speaker of Parliament: Honourable Minority Leader, you have the floor now.
Minority Leader: Thank you Madam Speaker, the only two good things I heard from our President’s speech is the clumping down of landguard and vigilantism that has located it’s root in our peaceful and loving country. I stand here to represent my faithful party to pledge our full support in tackling this rising menace. Madam Speaker on this note I second the motion raised by my colleague Member of Parliament from the other political carpet.
Speaker of Parliament: If you are in favour of the motion vote by saying I.
All Members of Parliament: (in a chorus voice) Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.
Speaker of Parliament: If you are against the motion vote by saying No?
Few Members of Parliament: (in a faint tone) Noooo.
Madam Speaker: The Iiii’s have it, today’s proceedings has been adjourned to tomorrow 10am. Thank you very much your Excellencies for paying us a special visit today. Mr President please after the National Anthem you will join me outside this chamber to sign the special visitor’s book of this honourable house.
Did the president leave anything out of his first State of the Nation Address?
Let the discussion commence on all platforms and you can get interactive with me as always……….
To be continued