The Minority on Thursday dressed like men of the people – a fugu or a teacher’s suit. The Majority dressed like men of the palace – fancy suits, a presidential brooch to match or a stylish dress cut by high-end fashion designers.
Attorney General Gloria Akufo rocked it best in her Ghana-colored dress, her entry perhaps challenged Deputy Minority Leader, Adowa Safo’s fashion domination in Parliament.
And when she walked out to perhaps stretch her legs much later, some MPs would ‘budget’ some glances at her in convenient distraction.
But all attention shifted to the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in his trademark unmistakable white top as he prepared to deliver his government’s economic performance in the last six months.
Of course, his other trademark – some presidential-like oratory for his opening remarks and some Bible verses for the House although this time there was no fond shout out to his great grand uncles of the colonial era.
The Minority MPs were in the mood – throwing jabs, heckling and linguistic spokes into the Ofori-Atta’s wheels.
Days before this economic statement, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) had stirred up Ghanaians to expect a possible increase in taxes especially VAT.
This got social media boiled in anticipation of the announcement which would have been a signal to shred the Akufo-Addo government to pieces.
The NDC had been on the attack – some sort of pre-emptive strike at government which had taught Ghanaians to remember and recite their promise of ‘moving the economy from taxation to production’.
And so the Finance Minister was under intense watch and the NDC legislators positioned themselves to vindication and validation on the VAT increase prediction.
The Majority looked bored at the beginning, ceding heckling ground to the Minority.
They dramatised shock when the Mr Ofori-Atta said he had turned the economy around and called out his “lies” when he touted something that looked like progress.
When he claimed that the ‘there is evidence [which] shows the economy has responded positively’ to the reduction or abolishing of taxes, the Minority would have sworn they heard a pin drop in Abossey Okai spare parts hub.
And so they exclaimed ‘eeiiii’ when the minister said the cedi is relatively stable, and they went “I-told-you-so” when he admitted the “cedi has been under external pressures”.
The NDC MPs would zoom in on Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who had once said the cedi has been arrested and the keys given to the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Sagnarigu MP, ABA Fuseini, in huge dark spectacles like the blind Messiah joked loudly that the cedi has been bailed out of police cell.
And then from nowhere, Mr Ofori-Atta who appears to thoroughly enjoy his encounters with parliament, intoned ‘there will be no increase in taxes’.
The House lit up like a stadium in Russia, like that wild Iranian celebration after Morocco scored an own-goal in the dying minutes of the game.
The erstwhile bored Majority erupted like true spectators and the Minority sat like true citizens.
Shell-shocked and too dazed to react, the Minority was suddenly under siege as their minds re-programmed itself to respond like a driver lost on google map.
Mr Fuseini sat like a victim of hypnotism as he perhaps tried to find a nice proverb to understand what had just happened.
Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu scribbled his notes furiously like an NSMQ contestant trying to solve ‘The Problem of the Day’
The Minority would recover, however, but the momentum was with the Majority. The NDC MPs shouted and jeered again, heckled again but it appeared somewhat subdued.
The tax was the central piece of this presentation and with the announcement of no tax, the Minority exchanged their excitement for the Majority’s boredom.
Some MPs now focused on their phone inspecting it as if it was suddenly phoney.
Others gazed at the Chinese chandeliers in the middle of the roof as if it was a source of unwanted heat and some women simply played with their jewellery.
There was a significant era of peace and quiet in the House and in the absence of any controversial tax, Ken Ofori-Atta had suddenly overstayed in welcome.
The Ken Ofori-Atta counter-attack was complete.