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Feature Article of Friday, 4 May 2012

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

Mills' Lost Opportunity

To Put Clear Blue Water Between The NDC and The NPP

By Kofi Thompson

When President Mills was sworn into office in January 2009, not a few discerning and patriotic individuals heaved a sigh of relief - and thanked Providence, for bringing Ghana a leader, who they believed wasn't greedy and corrupt.

Unfortunately, subsequent experience has shown, over the last few years that the Mills administration has been in office for, that even with a leader who possesses undoubted personal integrity at the helm, high-level corruption still remains a problem in our country, and a hindrance to Ghana's march forward.

The fact of the matter, dear reader, is that regardless of how brilliant the plans of a particular government of the day might be, it will still be well nigh impossible to improve the living standards of ordinary people, in the foreseeable future, if billions of taxpayers' funds continue to be siphoned off, unabated - in all manner of clever wheezes, dreamt up by the well-connected and wealthy crooks, amongst our ruling elites.

That is why it is so important that all the political parties vying for power in the December 2012 elections, ought to focus their minds, on practical ways of strengthening existing state institutions, with the constitutional mandate to fight corruption in Ghana.

They must also tell the good people of Ghana, in detail, exactly how they intend to go about strengthening state institutions, such as: the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice; the Economic and Organised Crime Office; the Auditor-General's Department and the Attorney General's Department, for example.

Above all, they would be wise to give Ghanaians a solemn pre-election pledge, that they will make it a priority, if elected to power after the elections, to change the constitution and make it mandatory, for all political office holders - from the president and vice president, through to ministers of state and down to district chief executives, as well as their spouses - to publicly publish their assets, both before assuming office, and immediately after their tenure of office ends.

Today, instead of facing the very real prospect of probably heading straight back into the political wilderness, after the December elections, perhaps by now President Mills and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime would be riding high and coasting home to certain victory, in December - if he had ignored the greedy rogues around him, and rather listened to those of us who humbly pleaded with him to embrace the idea, of open asset declaration and publication of same, by political appointees and their spouses, in order to enable him and his party occupy the moral high ground in Ghanaian politics: and put clear blue water between his NDC regime, and the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party. Pity.

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