I was not surprised a bit when on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 Member of Parliament for Kumbungu rode a bicycle to Parliament House. Ras Mubarak said he did so to register his protest against harsh living conditions in the country. But, that was yet another cheap political goal scored.
The headlines that came with Mr Mubarak’s historic ride to Parliament was thrilling. “Ras Mubarak rides bike to Parliament to protest economic hardship,” wrote Graphic Online. “Riding bicycle to protest against fuel price hike? Ras Mubarak Is ‘Mad’- Abronye DC,” was how Peacefmonline captured it. Classfmonline wrote, “My bike ride protest not populist – Ras Mubarak” with 3news asking the big question: “One-day show’ or what? MP abandons luxury V8 for bicycle ride to work [Video].”
Speaking to TV3’s Parliamentary correspondent, Evelyn Tengmaa, at Afrikiko near the Jubilee House, Accra, Mr Mubarak said, “As you can see, I am riding to work. It has been a 17 kilometre journey from my house to Parliament. This particular exercise is to bring home the levels of suffering that the good people of Ghana are going through under this [New Patriotic Party] administration.”
Sadly, the Honourable Member of Parliament spoke and thought as a typical Ghanaian.
Mr MP, does riding a bicycle equate being hit by economic hardship? Is one merely poor for riding a bicycle? If economic hardship could afford one the opportunity to ride a beautiful bicycle as the one you rode, then such a rider cannot be poor. If economic hardship could afford you two bottles of ‘fresh coconut juice’ as you told Evelyn that you had on you, then you are not hit hard enough by the said torrential times.
Did you mean to say by your ride to Parliament that there is so much hardship that our woes surpass the tough times in Venezuela? Do you sincerely think getting food including common bread, under President Akufo-Addo’s supposed engineered hardship, is so worse that it becomes a matter of luck as seen in the South American country?
Elsewhere in the white man’s land, riding a bicycle is in no way related to hardship unless it is intended for propaganda as we saw you exhibit. There, it is rather seen as a means of reducing vehicular traffic, exercising and cutting down spending as you [MPs] blow away gallons of petrol away daily.
On August 22, 2018, The Guardian reported that New Zealand’s Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, had announced she had been delivered of her first child, a baby boy, after cycling to hospital herself. Did you get that, Sir?
“Beautiful Sunday morning for a bike ride to the hospital for an induction to finally have this baby,” Genter said on Instagram alongside photos of her riding her bike with her 42-week old pregnancy, accompanied by the hashtag #BicyclesAreTheBest.
The British Cycling writes on its online portal dated June 12, 2012 that representatives from the association joined MPs and key figures in cycling for the annual All Party Parliamentary Bike Ride. British Cycling’s Director of Policy and Legal Affairs, Martin Gibbs, spoke at the event.
“Today’s event was a great success. It was good to see so many MPs, including the Transport Minister, on their bikes – an indication that cycling has considerable support in Westminster,” he said.
If there were bicycle/motorbike lanes on our roads in Ghana, some of us would have ridden bicycles to work.
I only think that, as a people, our politicians engage in so much dirty politicking while the citizenry – majority –try living life beyond their means.
Has anyone watched the music video of one of the most popular current gospel songs Obi Nnyane Me by Patience Nyarko? In the said video, famous actor Koo Fori sleeps not only in an opulent house but a bed, too.
Unthinkably, he had five beautiful ladies and a gentleman waiting on him, while he slept. They surrounded the bed the way bees would cling to a nectar, held carefully folded snow-white towels, a toothpaste and later on ushered him into his bath when the gentleman, among the waiters, woke him up. Will the Dangotes even do this? Well!
That was not all. When Koo Fori was done dressing up to step out to town with his wife, the keys to a fleet of cars in the house were held on a trail by one of the five ladies. He picked one of the keys to the cars and sped off being chauffeured. Then in town, probably at a restaurant, a gentleman comes in to give him a bag. It was full of American dollars.
Koo Fori later wakes up, in the music video, from his sleep realizing the life he shortly lived was but a dream.
This is the life majority of Ghanaians pray and hope to live – which is not bad. However, majority of us inflict hardship on ourselves by going every length to drive that big car, wear that expensive shirt and perfume so our contemporaries would know that ‘we too have arrived’ even though we do not really have the means.
Mr Mubarak, “I am not a Jewish prophet and I will not pretend to be one” as Professor PLO Lumumba would say but I can assure you one thing. That, this life of Koo Fori – in the music video – you are seemingly painting to your constituents and Ghanaians at large will never happen under the tenure of the NPP or your party, the National Democratic Congress, even in the next 50 years.
With all due respect, majority of you politicians have taken Ghanaians for ride for far too long. When it is NPP in power, the NDC spins unnecessary propaganda. And the reverse is true.
You are at liberty to demand more from your government but do not do so to score cheap political points. Since the days of Nana Kwame Ampadu to the Daddy Lumbas to the Shatta Wales, musicians have sung about the economy getting hard. And, the same politicians criticize one another without proffering solutions to our woes.
Mr. Politician, kindly go out there and tell Ghanaians that if they can afford two bottles of fresh coconut juice daily, they are among the richest people living on this earth. Forget about the world’s definition of being poor if you live on $1.90 a day. If I have my cassava, plantain and pepper among others in my [backyard] garden, as most villagers do, with only $1.90 in my pocket, am I poor?
What we are left to really transform our situation as Ghanaians is to give our unflinching support to any government in power by helping them plan, think and execute.
As we speak, do you know China aims at conquering soccer by winning the 2050 World Cup? We will be asking that China? How did they do it? That will certainly be the world’s wonder.
Mind you, China has brought in foreign coaches training and teaching young boys for that big goal. In fact, they have planned over 32 years ahead for that soccer victory. An Aljazeera film by Bill Birtles dubbed China’s Big Goal would tell you more.
Let’s criticise our governments constructively and set good short and long term goals for ourselves that will bring the smiles we desire. If after discovering oil, we decided to sit back without drilling it, give ourselves 50 years to rigorously train some students/Ghanaians in oil and gas, bring persons like Dr. Kwadwo Safo aboard to develop and manufacture the needed machines among others, would we not be far away from telling dry jokes of political bicycles?
By Solomon Mensah
The writer is broadcast journalist with Media General [3FM/TV3]. Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of The Probe/his organisation.