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Feature Article of Monday, 6 February 2012

Columnist: Ennin, Baffour

The Demise of Ghanaian Exceptionalism

By Baffour Ennin

Today, Ghanaian Exceptionalism is on its last throes. This uniquely Ghanaian political ethos that sets us apart from the rest of the West African sub-region is breathing its last breath. The proverbial Ghanaian hospitality, the oasis of stability in the West African landscape of conflict and civil strife, the third word innocence that is captured in our all encompassing greeting of tropical beatitude- Akwaaba, are now all under attack.
How did we end up this way? The genesis of this decent into anomie can be traced to 1979 when the then famished Flight Lieutenant Rawlings launched his now discredited revolution. The glamorization of violence, the unlawful confiscation of private property by the state without compensation, the commodification of political authority, detention without trial and the illegal executions that occurred under the PNDC kakistocracy, spurred the current anomie.

The commodification of political authority that the PNDC fostered and its concomitant graft and avarice, instantaneously diminished our instinctive repugnance at anything untoward. It was now okay to rob with AK47. Yesterday’s wielders of AK47 are today’s armed robbers. The PNDC used Development Aid as its piggy bank- Canadian AID (CIDA), Japanese Aid and Danish Aid were all used to create PNDC’s nouveau riche. Amid the fanfaronade of revolutionary stupor, the PNDC diverted aid monies to its cronies. The NDC millionaires were all created with aid monies. When the NDC handed power to the NPP in 2000, these NDC millionaires owed the state $882 million. These monies were never repaid. When you examine the foreign aid records of that period, they amount to a roll call of NDC big wigs both dead and alive who simply failed to pay loans and grants guaranteed by the state.
Fast forward to 2012, the NDC has perfected the kleptocracy of its PNDC days. Instead of direct plunder of state resources, the NDC now uses its proxies to file baseless law suits against the state. These proxies now use tort to rape the state. Sue baby sue, is now the NDC party slogan. How can you seek tortuous relief for a breach of contract when no contract existed between the litigating parties? Only in Ghana with the NDC at the helm! How on earth can Alfred Woyome sue the government of Ghana for breach of contract and be awarded $51M when he admitted that he has never signed any contract with the government of Ghana?
Ever willowy Atta Mills, with his shifting stances on this hot-button issue is very much marginalized and lacking any moxie, stakes a different position, depending on day of the week. The question is how much did the President know and when did he know it? Not only has the NDC’s“ Better Ghana Agenda” morphed into “ Loot Ghana Agenda” , the incessant hectoring by the NDC propaganda machinery’s “holier than thou” campaign directed at the NPP has now metastasized into “smarter than thou” when it comes to pillaging of state coffers. Instead of President Mills supporting his Attorney General in his bid to recoup the stolen funds, the President fired him. This is tantamount to Atta Mills aiding and abetting the commission of economic crimes against the state. To top it all, while the Woyome case is still
sub-judice, the President without regard to the law instigates the Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO) to initiate a farce of investigation unquestionably prejudicing the case brought by his now dismissed Attorney General.
Alfred Woyome should be forced to return the tainted money to the state either by the current government or any successor government that replaces the Atta Mills administration. The remedy to the state should include the refund of $20 million that Woyome allegedly contributed to the construction of the NDC Party Headquarters. How did a party that publicly declared a year and half ago that it was broke, come up with the millions for the construction of the party headquarters? The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia publicly stated on Angel FM in Kumasi on May 14, 2010 that the ruling party was facing devastating financial difficulties. Is the NDC taking kickbacks for all the contracts and loans it has executed since it came to power?
Woyomegate is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the NDC’s frenzied spoliation of state assets. Another area of concern is the loans being contracted by the Mills administration and the collateralization of Ghana’s oil. Until the MP for Manhyia, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh came out and raised red flags about the apparent lack of due diligence in the Chinese loan agreement, the Mills administration nearly succeeded in pulling a fast one on Ghanaians. After initial denial, the Deputy Finance Minister, Mr. Seth Terkper came out and conceded that there were errors in the documents presented to Parliament. Were these inadvertent errors or calculated attempts to conceal collusion and malfeasance?
The good people of Ghana should reclaim their cherished values from the tainted hands of the NDC. NDC’s reckless disregard for constitutional values has long acquired a tincture of anomie. The NDC government long lost an opportunity to win back the public confidence. It failed to enact political reforms, it failed to server all dubious ties to tainted money, it failed to show transparency in governance and it failed to inculcate honesty and decency into government officials. Today, what we have is a country in shambles, with government officials on an unprecedented stealing spree, armed robbery on the ascendancy, drug trafficking continuing unabated and with a clueless government at the helm, change has indeed come to Ghana. Why will anybody give Atta Mills a second chance? Let’s all come together and make Atta Mills a one term President. It seems to me that his regime is one of broken and unfulfilled promises. God Bless Ghana.
Baffour Ennin
Washington, DC

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