CanoeVibes: Joe WISE may never be perfect, but we have to pay attention to his words


On Tuesday afternoon, I was scrolling through social media for commentary on a gossip that had gained traction. It had to do with a donation that had allegedly been misappropriated by another person. Facebook was on fire, and almost everyone had an opinion on the matter.

I spent a bit of time, scrolling through some of the comments, including categorical ones for or against the characters involved. Such occasional ‘vawulence’ – a corrupted word from the original ‘violence’ – on social media, especially Facebook, spices up the gossip.

The Ghanaian Facebook platform is akin to a compound house, where the escalation of conflict receives silent praise; but publicly, the actors are admonished to go easy on each other. ‘Oh but this could have easily been resolved without coming public with it,’ one is likely to read such a comment(s).

The truth is that the same person sits behind either the mobile phone or computer and prays the conflict is escalated to another level. Just when I was about drifting away from the comments and logging off my account, I came across series of quotes attributed to the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu aka Joe WISE, expressing aversion to the use of ‘vile’ language by some young parliamentarians.

“There is a vast difference between the level of decorum I observed when I joined – Parliament – and what I observed today,” he said. “ If you ask me, it is a bad reflection of young people coming into the chamber,” he added.

Mr. Osei Owusu said young MPs who are able to use intemperate language on their opponents not only become popular, but are put in front of debates. The practice, according to him, if not curbed, may turn Parliament into a “boxing ring.”

The truth is, parliament – as an institution – does not have a good image among a good number of Ghanaians. It is seen as a ‘side-chick’ to the executive; irrespective of which government is in power, MPs are more than willing to push documents with little or no scrutiny. They do that to advance the cause of their own political party, and not the general good of the public.

In essence, and in the yes of the public, it remains a weak rubber stamp. So imagine a comment like the one offered by Joe Wise, which seems to suggest the legislature has become a damping ground for crude, tactless and vile crop of young people, whose claim to fame is not only being loud, but disrespectful toward those they disagree with. I posted the slides on my Twitter page and generated a good amount of reaction.

Some of the reactions questioned the motive behind Joe Wise’s comment, and further asked him to fix the ‘adult’ issues in parliament instead of the fixation of the young people. “If anything, the young people he is talking about learn from the adults because most MPs are arrogant, disrespectful and talk to their own peers with less decency,” one said. There were others who took issues with the First Deputy Speaker and what he might have said in the past.

“His decorum is when he said 8 people who were killed in election deserved to die, I guess he was also a young person when he made that comment in 2020/2021. There are foolish young men and there are foolish old men. So are there wise ones.”

Though some somewhat agreed with his advice, others still maintained the actions of the young ones are just a reflection of what the adults in Parliament continue to exhibit. For example, those who were involved in the snatching of a ballot box during the election of a speaker were adults. That unfortunate episode, which happened in the full glare of the public, was never condemned by him. The man in the setting of that drama came from his own party so he found it really difficult condemning him.

Apart from that ballot snatching incident, series of events had taken place in Parliament that did not involve youths, but adults; experienced politicians who threw caution to the wind and went after their opponents on national radio and TV, using some of the most unprintable words that cannot be repeated anywhere.

The conduct of MPs has become a major source of worry to a section of the public, and from what Joe Wise has said, irrespective of whether he may be guilty or not, is one that all of us must be interested in. We cannot continue to shine the lights on rogue elements who think the only way to become popular or gain traction in the public space is through the use of vile language. We need to a build a country of decency and not a society of rot!

Leave a Reply