‘I Can’t find My MP!’ says man who tried to kill himself in Parliament

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“I want to speak to the President. I want to speak to the Speaker. I will kill myself! I will kill myself! I want to speak to my MP – Mr. Joseph Mensah, MP for Kwesimintsim.”

Mr. Kojo Mensah, a constituent of Kwesimintsim, in the Western region, shouted and cried as he was being dragged out of Parliament, on Thursday, June 13, 2019.

He was arrested in Parliament after he attempted to commit suicide in the main Chamber.

The 35-year-old man was spotted at the public gallery with a rope and wearing the campaign T-shirt of the Member of Parliament for  Kwesimintsim, Joseph Mensah.

As Sitting adjourned, he shouted, saying he wants to jump off the gallery to the main floor but was restrained by the security personnel on duty.

In a press release, Acting Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Kate Addo said, the security personnel intervened in time to stop what might have been ‘fatal’.

Mr. Kojo Mensah had travelled from the Western region to seek an audience with his MP. The constituents had complained about their former MP Joe Baidoe-Ansah not doing enough to develop the constituency.

Although the constituent and the MP are both named Mensah, there is no evidence that the two are related.

This incident happened three days after the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana released a report themed: ‘Assessment of 275 Members of Parliament – Perspectives from the Constituencies.’

The Research’s main focus was the relationship between MPs and their constituents. It found that Constituents were unhappy with their MPs, they were unable to access them and their campaign promises of development projects were broken. The research was carried out in all the 275 constituencies in the country. There were 27,500 respondents, 100 each from the constituencies.

The MP, Mr Joseph Mensah, won a hard-fought parliamentary primary before getting the nod in the 2016 general elections. In an interview with the Punch Newspaper last year he indicated that he has set up some Committees to help advance development in the area.  The committees comprise of education, health & sanitation, sports and infrastructure.

On Sanitation, Mr Mensah revealed that he spent an amount of Ghc14,000 to evacuate a 35year old refuse dump at Whindo a Community in the constituency.

He said he has used 30,000 cedis of his MPs common fund to pay the school fees of some tertiary students in the constituency. “I have embarked on construction of two foot bridges at Kwesimintsim Zongo and Race Course at a cost of 17,000 cedis each to enhance community road network,” he added.

According to 2010 census, Mr Kojo Mensah’s Kwesimintsim’s district population is 83, 605. There are 44,143 women representing 52.80%, and 39,462 men representing 47.20%.

Kwesimintsim’s major industries in the district are agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Unemployment is also prevalent in the constituency. Almost a quarter of the population (24.1%) are considered to be in severe poverty, and 24.1% are considered vulnerable to multidimensional poverty.

Waste disposal is a challenge in the constituency. Toilets are found in 22.6 percent of households, while the remainder use pit latrines (11.2 percent) or public toilets (46.6 percent). Almost three-fifths (58.2 percent) of the district population dump solid waste in public spaces, and 26.1 percent use public dump containers; 30.1 percent throw liquid waste into a compound, 30 percent into gutters, and 24.3 percent throw directly onto the street.

Agriculture is the district’s economic backbone. Fishing is done along the district coast, while farming is done inland in the north of the district.

The district has an infrastructural deficit. The district has seven hospitals, clinics, and health centers and six Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds. Most of the tarred roads are in the coastal areas whilst the inland roads. A few communities have piped water connections. Most households obtain water from public taps/standpipes (44.3 percent), pipes outside (34.2 percent) or inside dwelling (10.3 percent). Others sources of water to the indigenes are unprotected wells (4.7 percent).

On Saturday 15th June 2019, Mr. Kojo Mensah apologized for his actions after being released from police custody. In an interview, he said his actions were as a result of accumulation of frustration and he ‘couldn’t hold it anymore.’

He explained that, ‘I wanted my government to help me and everything I tried failed.’

Source: Kofi Boateng and Theresa Adezewa Aryeetey

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