Laptops for Ghana MPs – A Good Idea

I earlier promised a post on why I support laptops for Ghana’s MPs. Here it is:

The Communication ministry led by Haruna Iddrisu last week made known they are providing laptops with modems for Ghana’s 230 members of parliament (No official information on this on the  Ghana Government website yet, but see JoyFM’s report here).

There was immediately an uproar. Most of the critique goes along these lines:

Many villages in the 3 Northern Regions fetch water from stagnant waters and used for cooking and washing. Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, just this morning when I was traveling from Yendi to Tamale, I saw one of your bill boards you used for the 2008 campaign in one of the villages I am talking about. You could have lobbied for the money to sink 230 bore holes this year in 230 villages in the north. Next year another 230 and here we go. God bless us all !!!!! (this is an acctual comment from myjoyonline.com)

Now I strongly disagree, and this is why I say providing laptops for Ghanaian MPs is a good idea:

  • In today’s world, to be able to do any political work you have to have access to good communication tools. To be able to make important decisions on water, politicians have to read proposals, write motions, communicate with citizens etc.In fact, it is shocking that it is news…did Ghana’s MPs not have access to ICT before last week?
  • Now we can easier demand accountability. Make MPs send all official emails through a centralized system so there will be transparency and a backlog if anything goes wrong. (Today many Ghanaian government officials send you emails from yahoo and hotmail accounts…)
  • Efficiency. Imagine if all motions and bills could be stored online. Maybe finally things could be done earlier than “the last year”?
  • Mzalendo in Ghana. Lets set up a website that keeps track on MPs work! This could never be done if MPs did not have access to ICT.
  • And last, but not least: Now our politicians can read blogs! Maybe even write their own on what they do! The Swedish foregin Minister Carl Bildt has a blog (in Swedish), The White house also has a blog etc.

The problem in the past has been the personal ownership of all “tools”. Like the personal car loan. I think governments should provide a car, an office with suitable equipment etc. to elected officials – just as for administrators –  but it should not be given/donated/offered to the individuals. May I remind you of Plato’s idea of denying the right of property to the rulers of his Republic (called philosopher kings)?

I’d like to challenge Osabutey Anny and Emmanuel Adu whom I know disagrees with me o this matter to respond.

And you, what do you think about MP laptops. Long overdue or a waste of money?

Photo borrowed from Single Particles.