Popular financial analyst and columnist, Sydney Casely-Hayford, has withdrawn the demeaning comments he recently made about Ghana’s Parliament.
Casely-Hayford actually said the ‘unsayable’ about the Parliament of Ghana while speaking at a seminar on “The Economic and Political Rise of Africa” held on Saturday July 8 at the African Regent Hotel in Accra.
Mr. Hayford who was the Guest Speaker at the summit organised by the Governance and Security Group of Africa, said if he ever gets the opportunity, the first thing he will do is to break down parliament, stating categorically: “We don’t need it”!
Describing the country’s lawmaking body as completely useless and needless, he suggested that it should be converted to a tourist attraction site since pulling down the building will amount to waste.
For Hayford, Ghanaian parliamentarians have been busy making ‘stupid’ laws and decisions.
“These people are there, spending money like crazy, making stupid decisions, and passing stupid laws,” he said.
According to him, they never give time to think out what the implications of their decisions will be among the populace, but are rather occupied with their own selfish interests – comfort, luxury, money and what have you.
“They don’t read the papers that they are given, they don’t think through what the challenges are. All they can think of is, let’s pass this thing quickly, let’s go to Senchi Royal, let’s go and sit there and chill and come back and that’s the pattern”, he added.
Speaking further, the social and political critic advised that parliaments and ministries be established at regional levels, to enable them take decisions that affect their own locality in particular.
MP Enraged by Hayford’s Comments
Following Casely-Hayford’s comments, Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, brought the issue before the Parliament, praying that Hayford be made to explain his comments before the Parliament Privileges Committee.
Making the plea before the House on Thursday, Ras Mubarak described Casely-Harford’s words as ‘insulting’, ‘impugning’, ‘offensive’ and ‘benighted’.
According to the MP who was obviously infuriated, the comments are “not only an attack on the integrity of all members of Parliament, past and present, but it even bothers on promoting hatred and vandalism when he talked about breaking down parliament”.
Describing Hayford as “a man who seems discombobulated from the world he inhabits”, Mr. Mubarak argued that “his comments if allowed to pass, will set a very bad precedent and create more room for people to impugn the reputation of this House”.
The matter was however referred to the leadership of the House by the Speaker.
Casely-Hayford Withdraws Comments
Speaking during a Joy News interview, Mr. Hayford explained that he did not mean “to insult or maim anyone in parliament”, but was only trying to recommend better ways the business of lawmaking should be coordinated across the country.
“In the event, I got passionate and I might have used a few strong words here and there but basically it was about how parliament could work better.”
He further explained that he only wanted to point out the need for regional parliaments where each parliament could manage the affairs of their region separately to take care of the need of their communities and localities, instead of a single central one sitting in Accra.
Casely-Haford who is one of the leading members of popular pressure group, OcupyGhana, as well as a staunch anti-corruption advocate, admitted that his comments went over the board, but pointed out that they were inspired by passion.
“I must admit that on hindsight, I did go over the board and an apology is in order because I was a bit extreme; but it was a passionate delivery,” he said.
Making reference to Kmmbungu MP’s plea for him to appear before Parliament, Casely-Hayford said he will appreciate the move, as it will avail him the opportunity to explain his stance, as well as render an apology to the house for how “it came out”.
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Sydney Casely-Hayford is a Ghanaian Chattered Accountant, a Financial Consultant, Analyst and Columnist. He is known for making cases against social and political ills, and has over 168 publications to his credit.