Feature Article of Monday, 20 February 2012
Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.
By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Once again, the NPP’s Kennedy Agyapong is in the news, not to attract goodwill to his party’s cause, but to continue dragging himself into the mud and to expose his party’s desperation.
Speaking at a rally in Accra on Saturday to climax the NPP flagbearer’s national listening tour, he took a turn for the worse by bad-mouthing President Mills and making very serious utterances that must not go unexamined.
Agyapong stated categorically that the Woyome scandal has largely exposed President Mills as the most corrupt president Ghana has ever had, describing the President of the Republic of Ghana as the “chief thief” in the country (Myjoyonline, February 18, 2012). He said claims by the president that he was not aware of the payment have portrayed him as an untruthful person and a leader who doesn’t fear God. Thus, since the president failed to act appropriately on the payment, he is either corrupt or incompetent, asking him to choose between the two. And he called on President Mills to resign.
Of all, here is what turns my crank. Agyapong said President Mills’ attitude over the years has been lackadaisical and promised that if the president fails to deal with corruption under his administration, he will be jailed if the NPP comes back to power. And in his own words, “we are challenging him.”
It is true that the Woyome scandal has taken a big political toll on President Mills’ personal integrity as the leader of the government under whose watch the fraud occurred. The circumstances under which the judgement debt was paid to Woyome are still inexplicable, and the President knows how his reputation has been hurt by this scandal. But is there any evidence to directly link him with this fraud? None so far. So, considering the premise on which Agyapong based his claims, what is the justification for his allegation of corruption against President Mills and the threat to jail him if he loses power? Here is Agyapong’s porous reasoning: “President Mills is corrupt because he sanctioned all the judgement debts paid to individuals and groups.” Of course, by a wide stretch of analogy, we can’t tell who is more guilty: the one who wields the knife and stabs the victim or the one who commands him to do so? Can it be a case of complicity, aiding and abetting being levelled against President Mills? Where does Agyapong have evidence from to conclude that if he didn’t facilitate the fraud, then, he gave his blessing to it? Be that as it may, we still don’t have any direct evidence to confirm that President Mills authorized the transactions that would later explode in his face as the Woyome scandal. So, again, how will a sane person jump to the conclusion that because the fraud happened under his tenure, he is corrupt—and, therefore, qualifies as the “chief thief” of Ghana?
How does Kennedy Agyapong understand corruption, and where is his evidence to pin down President Mills as a beneficiary of the judgement debt paid to Woyome for which he must brace himself up for jail time under an NPP government? If his accusation is premised on the perception that because President Mills is the Head of State who should have known the goings-on but failed to do so, we may excuse him and see some sense in his effusions. But if he equates that lapse to a direct profit from the fraud, he is more than wrong. Is he saying that by not acting swiftly to prevent the payment to Woyome, President Mills is corrupt? Or does he have the evidence to support his wild allegation?
In all senses—in truth and in deed—none of those in the NPP camp comes close to President Mills’s honesty and integrity as a selfless, devoted, and caring leader. Slow to act he may be, but a corrupt leader he definitely is not. Here is why. He has a house in the Spintex area that serves his purposes and hasn’t sought to add any to it. Despite the senseless accusation that the management of Regimanuel Estate Ltd. had greased his palms to extend the perimeters of that building, the truth that emerged later on proved to us how unconscionable his accusers and those in the NPP supporting them are. This singular display of moderation places President Mills poles apart from Kufuor whose self-acquisitive spirit goaded him to do weird things in office—the stealing of 41 million Cedis to renovate his personal residence, the acquisition of Hotel Waa-Waa, and many other underhand dealings that yielded ill-gotten wealth to his family, cronies, and friends!
We know of President Mills’ self-denial. Take his rejection of per diem allowances, for instance. What didn’t his predecessors gain from this concession—which Kufuor, for instance, abused to the point of turning it into a regular source of income as he travelled all over the world in pursuit of his own personal agenda of junketing and frolicking at the expense of the national coffers? Had President Mills also opted for per diem allowances and devised means to go on foreign trips indiscriminately, he would have come across as Kufuor did. I am using Kufuor as the obvious example because he is part of the NPP machinery that Kennedy Agyapong upholds as the yardstick for measuring President Mills’ personality, performance, and integrity. Anybody who fails to see the difference needs more than a psychiatrist’s attention.
Immorality in government business is another area that separates President Mills from his accusers. We can’t all too soon forget the spate of immorality (wife-snatching, appointment to office based on sexual considerations—as Gizelle Yajzi would have us believe—and nepotism, manipulation of contract awards, and many other vices) that characterized Kufuor’s administration.
Under Kufuor, Richard Anane proved how unworthy of public office characters like him in the NPP could be. But what did we see? After twisting the arms of CHRAJ without success, did he not turn to his favourites in the court to overturn the CHRAJ’s incriminating findings only for Kufuor to re-appoint him to the office that he had left unfilled while the case dragged on? For Kennedy Agyapong’s enlightenment, let me say here that the public shame that Gizelle Yajzi brought on Kufuor is unequalled, even if her accusations weren’t pursued to the full for us to know the truth. She did raise very serious questions about Kufuor’s moral being and his sense of public service. The allegations that she made were too serious to be neglected but the Kufuor government didn’t pursue the matter to its logical conclusion for us to judge who was right.
As would be expected, all manner of damage control measures were taken, including intimidating the woman and even threatening her life should she dare step foot in the country to lay everything bare. Those who were quick to dismiss her claims as the effusions of an embittered woman who lost her job helped Kufuor to weather the storm; but Gizelle Yajzi’s claims still hang around. What did the NPP do when its former National Chairman, Harona Esseku, blew the lid off Kufuor’s corrupt practices by hijacking the kickbacks meant for the party’s coffers? Where did those kickbacks come from? Certainly, not from any genuine government business because no genuine government business will fetch kickbacks!!
How about Kufuor’s own blessing for bribery and corruption? His shocking declaration that he won’t take any action against any of his appointees accused of corruption because “corruption has been with mankind ever since the days of Adam” will go down in history as the most despicable pronouncement to have ever been made by a Head of State anywhere in the world about his attitude to that vice.
And did Kufuor do anything to fight corruption apart from his government’s targeting of those in the opposition to witch-hunt? And why did Kufuor unexpectedly interfere with the judicial process to stop the prosecution of those NDC officials? If indeed what they were being prosecuted for was an infringement of the law, why did Kufuor disrupt that process? Was it because he wanted to fight corruption by other means? No!! It was because he knew he wasn’t innocent of that vice and couldn’t be the first to cast any stone of justice against those NDC officials on trial.
There are many more instances to prove to jaundiced minds of Kennedy Agyapong’s type that what he is accusing President Mills of is nothing strange as far as it is coming from the camp of the NPP. Perhaps, he feels so emboldened to make such low-class statements because President Mills had created the room for him to do so. Had he been more resolute in pursuing the cases of corruption that many in the NDC had urged him to do when he took over from Kufuor, the situation would have been different.
Of course, by not going after those NPP functionaries, he seems to have given them the long rope with which they are now attempting to hang him. But it won’t stick. Such pronouncements as made by Kennedy Agyapong have boomerang effects and will definitely hit where they will and hurt whomever they will. By making that promise to jail President Mills if the NPP returns to power, Agyapong has opened a window for us to take a sneak peek into the NPP’s agenda for governance. I don’t doubt such an agenda of vendetta because that is the only political tool that this party uses to either intimidate its opponents or to stifle dissension against its negative activities, including maladministration.
Jailing President Mills is not the answer, if the NPP cares to know. It may help the NPP revisit what had begun under the Kufuor government but it won’t enhance governance. Again, any move to hound President Mills will have its own implications. Under our constitution, how much protection (call it immunity) doesn’t he have, even in his post-office life?
Thus, by promising to jail him, the NPP is only giving credence to what we already know of its violent and irresponsible nature. Will it subvert the constitution to go after a former President? We wait to see; but I hope a sane mind in the NPP will come out to refute Agyapong’s threat against President Mills. With this agenda, I wonder what the NPP thinks it will do to warrant its being returned to power. Its functionaries may be going around undermining the Mills-led government and vowing to destroy, jail, kill, or maim the NDC activists. Whether their hideous intentions will materialize or not depends on the outcome of Election 2012 and what the electorate do in the polling booths. It doesn’t depend on the amount of steam that its leaders let out at public gatherings or in private meetings where they scheme to unleash hell and brimstone on President Mills and his appointees.
Yet, these are the people who, only a few weeks ago, gathered at Essipong near Takoradi, to seek the face of God to guide their activities. Is this how God wants them to use any grace that he may give them, that is if God is even willing to give them any grace at all?
Shakespeare may be right in saying that there is no art to see the mind’s construction on the face; but we are lucky enough to have the NPP give us that art to do so. By virtue of its leaders’ pronouncements and public posturing, the NPP is gradually helping us to see and know the construction of its leaders’ minds. Indeed, desperate people do desperate things. The NPP is desperate and will become more desperate with the passage of time. And should they lose the elections, they will come face-to-face with their avatars!!
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