Feature Article of Monday, 10 September 2012
Columnist: Diedong, Richard Dombo
As rhetorical questions go, President John Dramani Mahama [JDM] was in the last published article of this topic, asked various questions. This 2nd part intends to exemplify those self-evident questions posed. The net result is to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Pres. JDM cannot dissociate himself from the Mills’ era.
President JDM inextricably collared himself when he said president JEA Mills gave him the space and freedom to function as he saw fit, presidentially. Spoken from the horse’s own mouth, this is as clear an admission as you can get that he was in charge whilst Late Pres Mills was absent, or whilst present, could only function for no more than three hours in a day as helpfully revealed by insider man JJ Rawlings. With that admission, one can now deal with whether Pres JDM has the moral right to demand a mandate of his own and for an extension of that of the NDC from the long deceived [by him, his predecessor and the NDC] good people of Ghana. That being the case let us view specific acts, inactions and experiences over the past three and half years of the current NDC administration under the Mills/Mahama 1 & 2 regimes.
Out of control Ministers We have witnessed over the past years, a disturbing array of unprofessional behavior and foul language by ministers like Okudzeto Ablakwa and Fiifi Kwetei; Abuse of office by Kobby Acheampong who caused the dismissal of policemen who dared stop his speeding car; Kobby also has a penchant for arrogantly asking: ’Do you know who I am?’; Hot headed actions by Koku Anyidoho for sacking the Ashanti Regional ECG boss from his seat at the Kumasi sports stadium in the name of the president. Even non-ministers like Nii Lante Vanderpoye who terrorized supposed non-indigenous Gas attempting to register during the Biometric Registration exercise, leading to the unwarranted assault on Ursula Owusu. Now, if Pres Mills could be excused for not having the energy to deal with discipline issues, and then V-P Mahama had unhindered authority to run affairs on behalf of Pres Mills, it goes without saying the buck stops with Mahama for all the comedic displays passing for ministerial actions of what was categorized by their own NDC brethren, Dr Spio Garbrah and JJ Rawlings as ‘Team B’ ministers.
Corruption In relation to corruption under the Mills/Mahama era, and in particular, in relation to personal involvement of either in corrupt deals, Pres John Mahama stands accused of quite a few juicy deals. Suffice it to note here that other than ministers and officials of the NDC engaged in highly corrupt deals with impunity from the de jure president [Mills], or de facto president [Mahama], during the Mills’ era, then V-Pres Mahama was personally involved in the Armajaro fiasco; The Embraer 190 Presidential jet super inflated associated costs ; the botched STX Korea deal that would have in one transaction, indebted Ghana more than the combined debt she has ever incurred in her 54 year independence history.
Obviously, being the de facto president under Mills, JDM had unprecedented leeway to make appointments and award contracts unlike any other Vice President before him. Consequently, he is accused of placing close associates on several plumb state boards and benefiting from premium money spinning contracts. Rumour is also rife with JDM’s brother getting so rich through JDM’s collusion, he now owns a private jet and a fleet of marquee cars; has sole contract to supply mining machinery into Ghana with an annual turnover of over $10m; and allegedly involved with South American drug barons.
Known only within the governing NDC circle that President Mills was not in control most of the time, and following the example of de facto president Mahama’s personal corruptibility, ministers, deputies and NDC government officials run amuck in nation crippling financial and other deals. Examples include over inflated budgets for classroom blocks; Party Gen-Sec, Asiedu Nketia abusing his position as member of the board of governors at Bui dam, to obtain a monopoly to supply blocks for the project; Hanna Bissew, Dep Minister of Works & Housing emerging overnight as a super rich woman owning mansions and flaunting cash during her parliamentary primaries. There was also the collusion with shady groups and individuals to dupe the state in the infamous and continuing Judgment Debts saga where presidential intervention as in the Woyome case was disregarded by A-G Betty Mould, Dep. A-G Barton Oduro, and Finance Minister Duffuor, with impunity as per the EOCO report; etc.
How could JDM discipline ministers when he was known to have not one, but both of his hands in the pie? To evidentially show Mills appointments are not his own too, JDM has the opportunity now as president, to reshuffle and bring in his own ministers, but strangely hasn’t done so! Why? Probably for fear of opening the proverbial can of worms that could swamp him. Even NDC Founder, JJ Rawlings demands the throwing out with the dirty water, ‘babies with sharp teeth’, meaning corrupt and undisciplined NDC ministers in order to ‘restore credibility to the presidency’.
Violence at by-elections, during Biometric Registration exercise and subsequent: When President Kuffuor commented that too much was being made of the Kennedy Adjapong radio diatribe, Pre JDM reportedly countered, saying that: “In my opinion ….I will crush a fly with a bull dozer”. Now if this is the slant of Pres JDM’s temperament, and, going by the violence that dominated the BMR exercise without Executive intervention, it does not bode well that JDM is now the Commander-In-Chief with the Dec ’12 elections looming.
In reaction to the out of control violence during the BMR exercise, Pres Mills, strangely for a president, asked what people expected him to do as he was neither a policeman nor prosecutor! For an executive president to ask as such was indicative of a literal abdication of role which we now know was assumed at the time by JDM. JDM’s intemperate reaction to reactions to his bizarre decision to intern late Pres Mills at the Flag Staff House [Jubilee House] by dismissing dissenters as ‘petty’ adds to the worry of having him as anything more than a Care-taker President.
If Pres JDM would crush a fly with a bull dozer and irritably dismiss opposition to him as people being petty, how would he ensure violence free and fair elections in December 2012? How would he countenance the prospect of losing fairly without condoning or even funding electoral malpractices and Azorka Boys led violence, intimidation and electoral disruption? Is it any wonder Pres JDM has jettisoned the misapplied Asomdwe hene accolade bestowed on late Pres Mills? In so doing, is it an indication that he is no asomdwe hene?
If Pres JDM is serious about overseeing peaceful elections how is it that he is deathly silent whilst the Electoral Commissioner is pursuing quite dangerous initiatives like creating extra 45 constituencies against all odds, wise counsel, and reasonable time schedules? Why is he silent when his own party’s National Organiser, Yaw Boateng Gyan, is caught on tape, and admitted same, of scheming to infiltrate the State’s Special Forces for diabolical purposes for the NDC’s gain in the December elections? The answer, no doubt, is because Pres JDM is no different now, to who he was as Vice Pres under Mills during when he was actually in charge of running the sick Mills’ regime whilst the electoral violence ensued.
In summary, we have witnessed the lack of executive control under Pres Mills. We have now been informed by Pres JDM himself that Pres Mills gave him free reign to be in charge whilst Mills was through poor health, not in charge. In essence, with no reshuffle of the pack by JDM and no change of track or new policies, it proves that despite his change of status as president in his own right, there is no actual change in administration from Mills to JDM. Therefore the oxymoron, The King is Dead, Long Live The King!
We have all witnessed the bizarre manner and the cloud of secrecy thrown over the circumstances of Pres Mills’ death. We witnessed how Pres Mahama, rather than show transparency by ordering an investigation into the death, is basking in how he benefited from a seamless transition into a caretaker- presidency. If Pres JDM cannot show transparency in investigating Mills’ death, how can he be trusted to be transparent where his own future is concerned, as in the forthcoming elections he is certain to lose, if fairly conducted?
The bad odor lingers on from the Mills’ era into the Mahama era simply because there is really no change. As the adage goes, it is like putting new wine in old sheep skin; it’s only recycled stuff! No change; same old mangana, same old as3m, fee kome! Thus, The King is Dead, Long Live the King!
Authored by: Richard Dombo Diedong