For the first time, Bekwai Member of Parliament and First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu Known as Joe Wise has disclosed his reasons for leaving the public sector.
The four-term politician, who first ran for office as an independent before joining the New Patriotic Party, will not be running for office again in the legislature in 2019.
Many have questioned why a legislator of his quality would leave the legislature in the middle of his term, occupying what political pundits would refer to as a “safe seat.” It turns out that he decided to quit because of some irrational demands made by certain people.
Joseph Osei-Owusu, also known as Joe Wise, disclosed in an exclusive interview with Ibrahim Alhassan, the Parliamentary Correspondent for the EIB Network, that a community’s request for him to remove a restroom he built despite charging fees was the final straw.
The worst thing is what is even worse. Yes, I will be honest with you. Some communities have demanded that their public restrooms be emptied, and if I don’t, they won’t vote. This is one of the things that made me decide it was enough and that I won’t run for office again. Was it all worth it, I asked myself again and again?
“First and foremost, you are personally accountable for providing a restroom for yourself. Now, for some reason, we’re building one using state funds. You have it; use it till it’s full, then return to empty it for me, MP, or I won’t cast my ballot! Someone hasn’t even been given that chance.
“It’s not even present in another neighborhood. I questioned whether it was all worthwhile in the end. To be honest, the folks that pay for it are the ones who annoy me the most about going into that environment. The money is gathered there by the local officials, who refer to it as community money and say it’s not even for light bulb replacement. They were therefore comparing notes.”
Apart from the persistent requests from political officeholders, the former CEO of the DVLA claims that citizens generally refuse to fulfill their duty in the governance architecture.
“You construct community-owned merchandised boreholes. Some return to say they are unable to pay the bills; please come settle the electrical bills. Can we really be that careless? We want you to carry out this task without offering suggestions for how it ought to be done because these are some of the factors that, aside from a general lack of gratitude, make holding public office challenging.”
The mistreatment of young people is another issue that has led to the Bekwai MP’s resignation. He claims that young people in Ghana are now verbally abusing the elderly excessively. Unlike in the past, he feels that reverence for the elderly has been thrown to the dogs.
“In general, youth abuse is far too prevalent. Usually, you pay attention to the words they choose to use in conversations and decide that’s sufficient.”
On the other hand, he accuses the political elite of failing to instill in the populace the idea that rights include obligations.
We haven’t made it a priority to teach kids that accountability is an element of governance, therefore that is probably part of our failure. It strikes me as a serious shortcoming of our political structure. In general, we are reluctant to talk about what voters ought to do. All of us are discussing what the government will provide for them.
One of the 19 prominent members of parliament from the ruling New Patriotic Party, including Majority Leader and Suame MP Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, is Joseph Osei-Owusu. He voluntarily chose not to participate in the party’s primaries. Additionally, the campaigns of 28 sitting MPs were unsuccessful. When the party proceeded to the primaries, the opposition National Democratic Congress also lost 17 members of parliament, with five of them choosing to abstain. Many now doubt the caliber of laws the upcoming parliament will provide for the nation as a result of the development.
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