Kenya nearly hit the roof. It was intriguing that when the nation has a serious food security issue that has to be addressed by a ‘Kenya First’ Parliament, the nation should be divided, with Parliament, which ought to be the voice of the people, regardless of Counties or Constituencies, almost sitting aloof till the alarm bells sounded. According to an earlier BBC report, President William Ruto, in clamping down on unrest, decided to go to the streets in response to street action by street people with Parliament acting ‘street’. Ruto ordered a crackdown on anti-Finance Bill protesters, terming the protests “treasonous.” In his warped and wart opinion, that was the opposition and criminal elements in action. Addressing a press briefing at State House, Nairobi over the incident, the Kenyan President said “dangerous people” were behind the demonstrations that saw Parliament breached by protesters. He said he would unleash security agencies on “planners and financiers” of the demos, who he accused of planning to destabilise the nation, saying they would not go “scot-free”. “It is unfortunate that this (Finance Bill) conversation has been hijacked by dangerous people who have caused us the kind of loss witnessed today,” said Ruto, pointing out the storming of Parliament as “a desecration of Kenya’s emblems and institutions”. Where are Parliament and Caucuses? The BBC report did not state that the Minority or Majority had engaged and that it yielded or didn’t yield any consensus in finding a cure for raising the revenue levels that would be helping manage inflation and make Kenya credible in the eyes of the International Monetary Fund or, for that matter, the global trade and development community. But we must appreciate that once the Bill was before Parliament, yet to be passed, some modicum of tolerance was needed by the angry crowd. Crowds believe in street action. Particularly when they are pushed by an opposition, overtly or covertly, that action can be explosive in our part of Black Africa – from the South of Sudan to the South of Africa and through the West African sub-region into the Congo and eastwards to Kenya and Somalia. Ruto’ s remarks about using state force instead of diplomacy and consensus with the Minority, came an hour after Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale said he had deployed the Kenya Defence Forces to help the National Police Service counter anti-tax protesters, calling the nationwide protests a “security emergency”. Ruto said the protests were an affront to constitutionalism and the rule of law calling the protesters criminals. In his putdown words and reading of the Kenya Riot Act, he said “The government will therefore uphold its constitutional mandate to secure our nation and its development and shall treat every threat to national security and the integrity of our state as an existential danger to our republic. Accordingly, I assure Kenyans that we shall provide a full, effective and expeditious response to today’s treasonous actions,” said the president, who added he was willing to dialogue with the youth over their issues, promising to include them in the development of its policies. He congratulated the police for their conduct during the protests, saying they acted “to the best of their ability”. He ignored concerns about brutality meted on initially peaceful protesters, which degenerated into indiscriminate shooting of demonstrators outside Parliament. Crying wolf Similarly, he avoided the subject of abductions of pro-demonstration Kenyans, which has earned criticism from rights groups. For a better part of last evening, there were fears of State reprisal, amid reports that KDF officers had been dispatched to the Nairobi Central Business District. There were concerns of media and internet shutdowns. Many Kenyans reported low internet speeds, with network providers saying the situation was caused by damage to two underwater fibre optic cables. ‘Criminal protests’ On a few occasions in Ghana, we have had demonstrations in which the state had employed excesses in deploying state security personnel. Even the colonialist did that in protecting itself from unarmed and defenceless Second World War veterans. So, we may appreciate the pressure on tottering post-colonial administrations with leaders whose hands and feet are clay to make mistakes. Jerry Rawlings did it on Kume Preko; John Mahama did it on NPP protestors over SADA, SUBAH, RLG, Bus Branding and koomini. Since then, it had been better, even under Asiedu Nketia captainship, with the police in Ghana more tolerant, though party boys carry pistols on them during demonstration and defy police over agreed routes, aside of disrupting economic activities and abusing the rights of economic actors in CBDs and along streets and lorry parks in fighting for their rights. In one incident, the police didn’t even fight back when a female police officer was pelted with stones. The mischief chiefs in the media have not bothered to check the condition of that female police officer, and whether some compensation has been paid her by the Ghana Police Service or the Government. The good thing about Ghana is that loony demo boys, while they may act macho, know when the police are angry and breaking heads and eyes. Even in the crazy North in Bawku, the crazy Bawku Boys sobered when the security agencies they sought to bully returned with fire, with the Tema Boys also sobering when they dared tread on dangerous grounds. I don’t know when Ghana turned into Palestine and stones became Shepherd Boy David’s weapons of war for us here. I have always told my kids not to fight policemen and women or soldiers because their authorities will stand behind them while your NHIS Card will not replace your eyes or missing teeth. In the days when The Chronicle was The Chronicle, and Kabral’s Independent was The Independent and Chris and Egbert Faibille Jnr managed The Ghanaian Observer, a follow story on the injured police woman would have been effected by reporters. I don’t know how the Editors groom the kids in the newsrooms or how the Journalism lecturers are training the kids in the lecture halls. They come into the newsrooms, and cannot write the. Yet, they come with First Class and Second Class Honours grading, though most of them I have encountered cannot do simple stories…Another story for another day, anyway. Managing crisis Kenya, like Ghana, is under an IMF Programme. They have a leaky purse and they must show they can manage their budgets by raising enough revenue to plug the holes and fall in step with global development agendas in education, health, weight of currency, trade surpluses, infrastructural development and formalisation levels. That’s basic civilisation and good marks of good governance. That is why we have an Executive and we have a Parliament that works hand in hand in applies constitutional processes to arrive at reasonable plans to address issues. Yes, the streets may fill because the laws allow them, but also we must ensure that the streets filling up will not prevent Parliament from doing its constitutional duties or Majority and Minority engaging for the benefit of larger Ghana and immediate and future good of the country. Errant MPs, Executive Agents Far too often, the Rutos of this world, together with the wings-flapping, tumbling, inflated MPs ignore this fact and join the street actors to do what their kids and cousins would not do. When we had a problem with the E-Levy, consensus resolved it. When we had issues with LBGTQ+, we sustained and continue to sustain the conversation while the LBGTQ+ disciples continued to plaster their anuses and injure their anatomy. Five months into the elections, we will be having issues and conversations. That makes us human beings with abilities to find answers to challenges. The UK, Denmark, Finland and Greenland, where Ghanaians run for economic refuge were built by leaders who elected to resolve critical national issues about job creation, welfare programmes for the citizenry, health and education and business generation to make their economies resilient. More importantly, unlike us, they long ago held that it takes taxes to run a country. Thankfully, Ruto has eaten humble pie and gotten back to engage. That is a lesson we here in Ghana need to consider. So, Ruto may be right in striving to rush through his programme for making Kenya look responsible as an emerging economy. But that should earlier have been done, with a Parliament that is united and committed to transforming their economy. Incumbent or opposition, unless we black Africans became tax complaint, we are finished. We would be eternally beggars and consumed in eating our blessings because we loathe giving to the state for national development purposes. As for those eat from the Consolidated Fund, I do not understand why some of them join the chorus when the Fund must be full to enable them even take double salaries without the Executives holding them accountable. But does that mean we should waste our resources through corruption and systemic graft? That is the responsibility of the Executive and Parliament to work at. But that is also the responsibility of institutions of accountability to deal with – unless they themselves are complicit and mired. By Abena Baawuah