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Feature Article of Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Columnist: Sarpong-Boachie, Kofi

Throwing The Baby Out With The Bath Water

: Why Lawyer Annan Is Wrong

JJ Rawlings’ humble advice to the leadership of the NDC, in particular the Presidency, has been topical news in the last several days. Political, social and other commentators have all weighed in with interpretations and speculation on who the ex President’s broadside were aimed at. A member of the legal team of the NDC, a Mr David Annan, added his voice to the raging debate by allegedly claiming that Ex President Rawlings was also admonishing the NPP.

In the greater and general scheme of things I would agree with the lawyer and say that regardless of which party is in power, those whose conduct and performance fall short of the expected standard, should not only be lowered with the bath water, but should be prosecuted if necessary.

Where my understanding of Mr Rawlings’ admonition differs from that of Mr Annan is that I have a real example of a baby with hard teeth who should be lowered with the bath water. I would even go further and ask that this person is prosecuted for abuse of power. The District Chief Executive of Bechem in the Brong Ahafo Region, the Hon Bukari Zakaria Anaba, should be investigated and sacked for abuse of power. Under a GES apprenticeship scheme to help the young unemployed learn trades and vocations, Anointed Fashions of Bechem were chosen to teach dressmaking to seven females aged eighteen to twenty-three. COTVET, a Tema-based NGO, supplied seven sewing machines to Anointed Fashions for use by the trainees. Anointed Fashions were themselves given a knitting machine and promised GHC200 a year for their services.

Three days after the machines had been delivered to Anointed Fashions, Hon Bukari Zakaria Anaba, the District Chief Executive, went to Anointed Fashions to demand the machines because according to him, the owner is not a member of the NDC. The owner refused to hand hem over and phoned COTVET to complain. When contacted by COTVET the DCE admitted he had collected the machines because he wanted to organize a public event to hand them over to score marks for the NDC. COTVET accepted the DCE’s explanation and advised Anointed Fashions to give the machines to him. The event was to take place within a week.

A couple of weeks later nothing had happened so Anointed Fashions contacted the DCE, only to be told this time that the DCE had decided to donate the sewing machines to a vocational school in Bechem. COTVET have attempted to meet the DCE on two occasions while on their way to Sunyani, the regional capital. He agreed to meet them on both occasions but mysteriously, would be in Kumasi when they got there. Anointed Fashions and the vocational school have conducted their own investigations and learned that the DCE has given out the sewing machines to NDC activists in Bechem. When contacted again by COTVET the DCE alleged that the Proprietor of Anointed Fashions had sent her partner to fight with him. The partner swears blind he has never had as much as an argument with the DCE, let alone fight with him.

The key issue is that the sewing and knitting machines were delivered in January this year and collected by the DCE in the same month. We are now in September. Why did the DCE take the sewing machines and what has become of them? I hope somebody with the clout would ask the DCE what he is up to in all this.

A major macroeconomic paradox of our times is huge unemployment in the midst of plenty. As a nation we appear to be bereft of ideas to solve the growing unemployment malaise that afflicts us so badly. The apprenticeship scheme is designed to create much needed employment for the youth The DCE represents the government at district level and would be expected to promote its policies. President John Mahama would do himself a big favour by not only sacking him, but making an example of him to give a clear indication that he will not accept corruption of any form.

The DCE is a dead plank in a wooden bridge, a baby that needs to be lowered with the dirty bath water. How is this applicable to the NPP? How could a learned lawyer think the way Mr David Annan does? I never reasoned the way he does even when I was a middle school leaver. Alas! We are dealing with Mr David Annan, a member of the legal team defending Mr Agbesi Woyome. Not that there is anything wrong in defending him. Just that when the rest of Ghana is crying foul over his fraudulent claim for the GHC51m the legal team is talking about proving that he went through the ‘right process’. If someone cons your friend to drive your property away for him, according to Mr David Annan and his team, it is not theft because that person went through the right process to take the property away.

Mr Annan, ex President Rawlings was speaking to the NPP so advise President Mahama to ignore him and leave the DCE for Bechem in post.

Kofi Sarpong-Boachie.

Kofibsarpong@aol.com

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