Could Tell It Like It Is: The Speaker Of The House Race Was A FARCE



By Gbe Sneh


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
January 17, 2006


Corruption, as a powerful destabilizing force, has manifested in the outcome of the just concluded Speaker’s Race. Corruption has a knack for self-replication. Thus the failure of a vast majority of our Members of The House of Representatives to consider corruption as one of the deciding factors in who becomes Speaker is indicates that corruption has already found its way in the new era of governance, and is about to be propagated if strong measures are not taken for its immediate arrest.

We cannot afford to have our hard earned budding peace and progress to be derailed. Just as the elements of counter-peace, stagnation or retrogression are bent on painting a bleak picture of our destiny, so must we be determined to protect our gains that have come at the end of unimaginable sacrifices. We owe it, first and foremost, to our dear relatives and friends who perished en route to where we are. Furthermore, we owe it to the international outpour of goodwill towards us. Finally, but not least, we owe it to ourselves and to posterity.

While we hail the democratic process of electing a Speaker of The House, we deplore the means to arrive at the choice. Observers share a wide-spread acknowledgement of the use of bribes for votes in the Speaker‘s Race; objectivity was nil. The outcome is depicted as a choice between “the lesser of two evils” - a candidate (Wolokollie) who is accused of abusing his position at the Contracts and Monopolies Commission to rig a bid for a telecommunications contract award vs. a candidate (Snowe) who is under intense fire for financial improprieties at LPRC, where he served as Managing Director. Snowe is currently facing charges for incomplete Assets Declaration filing prior to the national elections - possible PERJURY.

On the withholding of information from the assets declaration sheets about his bank balance at Banque Libano-Francaise, Lebanon, Snowe claims his reason for the omission is that the account has been “frozen” by the UN, thus rendering its status inaccessible for purposes of the NEC requirement. A declaration concerns not “status”, but ownership. The money in that account still bears his name! As there clearly exists the possibility that this account could be “unfrozen” for his usual chunks of debits to it, the lawful thing to do, BEING UNDER OATH, is to have listed the account, how be it with an asterisk denoting its frozen status. Shall we say that Snowe “proved himself guilty before innocent”? How ironic for someone who champions the reverse. What is the JUDGE saying about Snowe’s seeming alibi?

At least, all is not lost. That the “former evil” was dragged by the Justice Department, immediately following the speaker’s vote to face the charge of bid rigging against him, is encouraging. Encouraging also is the fact that the Justice Department is studying investigative and audit reports on LPRC for possible charges against the “latter evil.” We only hope it does not take too much time in doing so - “Strike the nail while it is hot”. These concurrent moves give us the assurance that being Speaker of The House is no impunity and or immunity veil. “NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW”.

What a shame that all that the “Honorable” members of the House of Representatives had to chose from is “evil”. Is there any “good” in the House? Are we to believe that, overwhelmingly (48-13), there is none? Why then was the good not chosen? We are calling on the media to grant interviews to members of the House, one by one, on what influenced their votes. Seek their views on the corruption allegations directed at Snowe. We have a pretty good idea what those that carried the vote are going to say did not affect their decisions. Nonetheless, let them come out and say what did. They owe that much to their constituents.. Dear Media, please start your worksheet tally on what the Members of the House vote on, and how each one votes. It will come in handy, down the line, when you publish periodic grades; it will help as campaign and voter tools for the public.

There is no need to spin wheels on what just went on in the Speaker’s Race and its outcome. For The Records it is hereby noted that:
Most of Our New Representatives are bribe-prone.
Most of Our New Representatives have put their personal interests before that of the people.
Most of Our New Representatives are either not listening to the people’s concerns, or they are just choosing to ignore them for selfish motives.
Most of Our New Representatives are not showing us anything good that they learned in Ghana.
Most of Our New Representatives are not helping our tarnished image before the world.
Most of Our New Representatives still harbor a grudge that their parties lost the Presidential Race.
Most of Our New Representatives elected a Speaker who is under UN Sanctions.
Most of Our New Representatives elected a Speaker who is under probe for gross financial misappropriations as Managing Director of LPRC.
Most of Our New Representatives elected a man facing charges for incomplete Assets Declaration filing for the past general elections.
Most of Our New Representatives have chosen a leader that will be spending more time in court than in the House.

Our lawmakers need to know from the start that, when there exists a doubt between the people and any public servant, the benefit of it is given to the people, and not the other way around, as they have done in the People vs. Snowe. We want to let our lawmakers know that the moment Snowe is INDICTED for any crimes, it is time for him to give up the gavel, for he should not be allowed to take it with him to the court house.

We can only hope that Members of the House realize that they have just erred. They must reduce this unpopular move to this race, and prove us wrong that they are forever saddled with an indebtedness that will influence their votes in chambers. They have just laid the groundwork for RUBBER STAMPING . A campaign pledge, barely a month old, has already been broken.