— express Grateful to Constituent
Exactly 7th of January this year, marked a year for most of current parliamentarians, who were declared victorious after fierce contest at the 2016 presidential and parliamentary polls.
The general election took place on Wednesday 7th December 2016, for the 275 parliamentary constituencies. Each of the constituencies were entitled to one representation in the August house.
The election was one that had sent shockwaves all over the country. Though the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) ceded most of its majority seats to the New Patriotic Party(NPP), both parties have also made gains with some new entrants.
While some gave political observers a rematch of the Biblical David-Goliath battle that launched them into political prominence because of the big names they defeated, others also gave political watchers prominence per the rich political experience they were coming in with.
THE REPUBLIC parliamentary correspondence has being speaking to some of the new MPs who made headlines for defeating household political names.
Hon Rudolf Nsowine Amenga-Etego is one of such new MPs who gave political observers prominence for the experience he gathered before entering parliament as the 4th MP for Chiana/Paga constituency under the 4th Republic.
He shared some of his rich political experience with THE REPUBLIC, starting from events leading to his new job as MP and the long vision he has for his constituency, the sole reason why he opted to represent the people in parliament.
Mr Amenga-Etego said long before the returned of the multiparty democracy in 1992, he had been a grassroots politician, having served as regional Coordinator for Committee for Defence of the Revolution (CD-R) in the 1980’s under the revolutionary Provisional National Defences Council (PNDC) led by Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings.
Upon the returned of multiparty elections, he put in a bid to represent the people of Chiana/Paga as MP in 1993, but have had to succumbed to the party elders advise to put on hold for a more elderly, Dr Stephen Ayidiya to lead the party and the people in parliament.
According to him, being humble and respectful as he is, he respected the party elders advise, but subsequent event took him by surprise and he had to until the year 2004 and 2008, when he contested former MP, Abuga Pele at the party primaries but lost to Mr Pele under some bizarre manipulative circumstance.
He told the paper that, he did not contest the party primaries in 2012, because he had had to pay penalty for breaching the NDC constitution when he went solo as Independent candidate in 2008, after he lost the primaries.
Mr Amenga-Etego said, he again showed up at the party 2015 primaries and by den of hard work, he defeated Abuga Pele, one of the long serving MP and subsequently retained the seat for the NDC at the 2016 electoral contest.
Recounting the event, the new MP said, due to the haphazard geographical natures of the constituency, counting of ballots took two days to be declared following an attempt by the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP ) to massage the figures.
He said,the vigilance of NDC members at the polling stations, couple with state security that prevented the NPP from succeeding in massaging the figures, stating, “the situation delayed results collation to the next day December 8, results were counted and recounted and eventually I was declared victorious.”
At the end of the results collation, Mr Amenga-Etego won the parliamentary with 15,847 votes representing 46.78 percent of total votes cast to beat his closed contestant, Clement Dandori of the NPP, who managed 11,939 representing 35.24 per cent of total votes cast.
What curtailed the Minority legislator victory celebration was the fact that, the party lost the presidency even though he retained the seat.
In spite of that, Mr Amenga-Etego said, his electoral victory was a total restoration of true democracy in Chiana/Paga and relief to the electorates who have been persistently denied the opportunity to make the right choice.
Experience in Parliament
Sharing his experience in parliament, Hon Amenga-Etego said he had learnt more politics in the legislative house within the first year and that even though partisanship exist little in the august house, the rules and the procedures that one has to follow to put in concerns made it quite principle.
He further told the paper exclusively that the opportunity to represent the good people of Chiana/Paga as their Member of Parliament is both humbling and exciting.
“Well, If you ask me, I will say parliament is exciting. It is a place you learn from leaders and the more experienced ones and opportunity to also share the experience you have brought to the house.”
“Parliament is a place one cannot say he or she knows it all, because, it is a place where experience is needed most. I have learnt and I am still learning. However I must add that as a lawyer, most of the laws or rules are not entirely new to me and I think it is both humbling and exciting place to be,” Mr Amenga-Etego said.
Like many other members, Lawyer Amenga-Etego, who is a Deputy Ranking member on Work and Housing committee of parliament, noted that the work load of parliamentarians vest much at the committee level and that the experience is empowering.
He added that he had come to learnt from parliament, especially the contribution made both on the floor and at the committee level.
On the plenary, he participated in the debates focusing largely on his interest areas mostly sanitation, waters, works and housing and others issues that has to do with poverty alleviation,
The Chiana/Paga lawmaker however mentioned, Hon Alban Bagbin, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Nadowli/Kaleo, Joseph Yiele-Chereh, MP for Wa West and Dr Francis Dakura, MP for Jirapa as his political comrades from the grassroots during the PNDC era.
Vision for Constituency
He said he had within the period under review undertook several developmental initiatives in the constituency to reduce if not eradicate extreme poverty the constituent faces.
For instance, he said for the last 12 months, he devoted part of his share of MPs common fund to repaired over 54 boreholes identified across the constituency were residents found it difficult to access drinking water.
So far, he said 45 of them have been successfully repaired, while works still ongoing to complete the rest, adding that, plans are also far advanced to mechanized or drill where possible to supply water to schools and deprived communities where accessing drinking water is more labourious than slavery.
Hon Amenga-Etego said no society could achieve any meaningful development without high-quality education, hence the effort to support needy but brilliant students with school fees to reduce the burden on parents.
Sounding very passionate about education, he said he disbursed about GHC40,000 been part of his MPs common fund to paid most needy students school fees, while another GHC10,000 been his shares of GetFund for a Library project at Sirigu Community in the constituency.
He reiterated his commitment to education and access to quality education remained a top most agenda to him and that he would do everything humanely possible to implement measures to improve standard of basic education in the constituency.
Touching on other developmental initiative, Mr Amenga-Etego disclosed that, he had spent over GHC3,000 to assist communities to purchase cables/wires for power supply under the Rural Electrification Project and is currently raising another GHC3,000 to assist Basengo community so they could also enjoy electricity.
Similarly, the MP added that, pavilions have also been erected for community meetings centers commonly known as “Local Parliament” and for which reason a total of 20 packets of roofing sheets been purchased for eight(8) communities.
In addition, the MP said, to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, he has also procured furniture for some CHIPs Compound and Clinics in some of the communities across the constituency.
The youth and farmers are also not left out from his vision and that during the period under review, he provided many farmers with water pumps and knapsacks and also provided Jerseys and Footballs for various youth football clubs.
Mr Amenga-Etego expressed concern about the deteriorating nature of roads in the constituency, nothing that, most of the roads which are so key and needed immediate government intervention are Sirigu to Paga, Paga to Kayoro, Kazilo and Kandiga to Sirigu roads.
He added that, though the Ministry of Tourism has indicated plans to absorb the Kandiga-Sirigu road as parts of its Tourists roads, it was imperative that the government consider other roads which are equally important to the constituent to ease transportation.
He said, even though the previous government did well in provision of CHIP Compound for the constituency to reduce health and its related problems, there are other facilities which needed the government urgent attention and promised to continually knocking at the doors of the current government for the projects.
He want government to continue and complete the projects in time, especially feeder roads in the constituency to enable farmers and other commuters easy access to market centers.
Hon Amenga-Etego however expressed grateful to the constituent for the support given him, especially the Chiefs, opinion leaders, women groups, all political parties’ leaders and the entire youth based and urged them to remain peaceful to each other but hopeful.
He added that, there could not be development without peace and cooperation, promising he would never let them down as their MP and vowed to deliver high quality services in parliament and at the constituency.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba