The Ghana Police Service war against indiscipline on roads in the country has brought onto the public sphere a critical issue of how certain people in responsible positions carry themselves as if they are above the laws of the land.
During one of such operations on the Legon bypass some few days ago, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Kade Constituency in the Eastern Region, Mr Kwabena Ohemeng-Tinyese, had blatantly, ordered his driver to drive against road traffic rules (laws) which he (Ohemeng-Tinyess) has helped in enacting.
His driver was subsequently and duly arrested by the police on duty who were leaving no stone unturned, by way of, making sure every driver irrespective of their social and political status was brought to book if found wanting.
Sadly, the MP in an extremely arrogant style, captured in video, called the bluff of the police, stating that, he will go and see the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the overall head of the Ghana Police Service. To do what? Apparently to squash the matter.
This statement made by such a highly placed individual sparks sentiments of how laws in the country do not simply work as far as such ‘big men’ in society are concern. How many people in this country, could be that bold on TV cameras to indicate to the entire citizenry that the laws of the nation are not important as he is and therefore he (Ohemeng-Tinyess) cannot be subjected to the law.
He claimed he was late to parliament and therefore he needed consertion to break the law to go and enact laws. What would then be the usefulness of the laws he was rushing to break a law to go and enact? Could someone else request for consertion to break that law too?
All laws in our statutory books are laws except that punishments that go with them differ. So could the armed robber, and all other lawbreakers seek for consertion when they legitimately need to do sometime, for example needing money for their children’s fees? No Sir, Honourable.
Anyway, we are yet to find out if he is not one of the MPs who get the house early just to sign their names and leave for other personal jobs. We are also yet to see if he is one of the few members of parliament who are always in the house contributing to debate and committee meetings.
We are again yet to find out if his constituents are happy with his performance by way of his obligations to them. We are again, yet to find out if he is a frequent contributor to debates and how many times he has spoken on the floor of parliament and even how many times he has attempted to catch the eye of the Speaker.
These findings may seem trivial but they are not. They are very important chiefly due to the MPs reaction of fuming at the Police and the Media during the operation. Was it a good example of the MP to speak to the Police the way he did? What signal was he sending to the ordinary Ghanaian when questioned by the Police?
Back to the questions. Yes very important because, the MP claimed that he was supposed to be at the house by 8.00 o’clock and therefore he had to break the laws to do that. Getting to the parliament house at the stipulated time and being there for the purpose of which you are there is another matter.
I had the prevelage of talking to the Majority Leader of Parliament, Honourable Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu who lamented on the maturity of some MPs of our august house. Even though his thoughts were not necessarily or directly about such issues like wilfully breaking of the laws and calling the bluff of the police, it is believed that these areas of maturity stand out in terms of helping to reshape the entire parliament, by this I mean, such issues like time management and all.
In fact, Mr Ohemeng-Tinyess, for sure does not commute from Kade to Accra daily for parliamentary duties. Even if he does, he should by this time know how long it takes his driver to drive him to the parliament house. If he is law abiding, by ‘controlling’ his driver to join the queue every time as he claimed, then that morning’s incident might have not been too much of a bother to him. This is because he would be known as always punctual and a simple telephone call to his boss to notify him of his one time lateness wouldn’t have spelt any doom, rather than spilling his morning venom on the poor police officer carrying his legitimate duty.
Shameful as it was at the scene, it was only the MP for Kade, among a lot of other people in higher and responsible positions who were arrested for similar offences who decided to challenge the police and exhibit power. Reports have it that “other notable people stopped were a military officer, Colonel Joseph Azar Akampachab, who was arrested for driving against traffic with his flashlights, as well an unnamed New Patriotic Party (NPP) big wig who works at the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.” None of these exhibited the tantrums the Kade MP exhibited. The lawmaker and the rest who was law abiding?
The MP for Kade, and all others should be mindful that they are not entitled to use sirens and blue and red flashing beacons. It is against the laws of the land and they are not above the laws. This, they must know and know better.
The continues breaking of such simple laws by our lawmakers and other bigwigs in society with impunity, rather inspire other citizens to do same. So therefore the laws we pay them to enact become useless if they are not obeyed.
It would be recalled that the First Deputy Speaker of
Parliament Joe Osei-Wusu commenting on the “briefing of parliament on the road
accidents involving the Minister for Transport, Mr Kwaku Asiama, urged the
Motto traffic and transport unit of the Ghana Police Service to arrest and
prosecute members of parliament who break traffic rules just as they will arrest
any other Ghanaian. For him, such a move will strengthen traffic regulations in
“If it’s growing and emboldening other people who are breaching the rules, indeed no member who is not in the security agency is entitle to use those lights and sirens in their vehicles, so those who use them should be prosecuted”.
Earlier, the Inspector General of Police, David Asante Apeatu, has announced a partnership with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to clamp down on people who use sirens unlawfully. This was at a time ordinary Ghanaians were accusing the police of their inability to arrest recalcitrant drivers who misuse sirens on the roads especially in Accra.
The Ghana Police Service must be congratulated for the bold steps taken to get rid of indiscipline on the roads of Ghana. Not yet successful though, it is a laudable and courageous move. The police must be encouraged to go ahead regardless of what people like the Kade MP would do with the power given them by the people to thwart their efforts.
The courts must also be praised for slapping a fine of GHc960 on the driver of the MP for Kade. The next time his boss who is not willing to abide by the laws he enacts orders him to disrespect the laws of the land, it is believed he would rather disrespect him and not the laws of the land. For certain, the laws of the land are supreme even than the lawmaker
Mr Kade MP; Breaking The Law To Enact Laws?