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Feature Article of Sunday, 30 September 2012

Columnist: Concerned Ghanaians

Corruption and Abuse of Power in Ghana

In a country where over eight million people earn less than $2 per day, the president in a profligate spending style travels to a United Nation’s session with an entourage of fifty people, each staying in plush and expensive hotels in New York City. Back home, the elitist president’s brother flies in the comfort of a private jet while the masses travel for over 6 hours to get from Kumasi to the capital, Accra due to poor road network.

These things are happening in Ghana under President John Mahama who, in a speech to the UN General Assembly, claimed that Ghana is a peaceful country. John Mahama was vice-president and ascended to the presidency after the death of President John Atta Mills.

For a long time, Ghanaians have tried to move beyond the violence and strife that so often characterizes African countries. Initially, Ghanaians living abroad paid little attention to corruption in Ghana. However, attempts by President John Mahama to rig the upcoming general elections on Dec. 7 have brought to light corruption, total disregard for the rule of law, and abuse of power under Mahama’s administration. The president is quietly backing the Electoral Commission’s initiative to create additional constituencies less than 90 days to the general election.

Unfettered corruption has led to tensions that could lead to strife.

Jerry Rawlings, the founder of the NDC and a former president of Ghana, in a speech to the chiefs in the Volta region of Ghana, told them that a few people around President Mahama are holding Ghana's resources for ransom.

"The corruption that is going on is so deep. Some aspects of the corruption are literally holding your national resources to ransom by just a handful of people," said Rawlings.

The corruption is evident: for his campaign stops around the nation, President Mahama has purchased air-planes and leases air planes from his brother. In addition, drug dealers have found a way to the president's heart by contributing to his campaign war chest. Political donors freely move around Ghana’s airports without being asked for identification. On Monday, officials at Heathrow Airport in London seized their biggest cache of cannabis in three years on a plane that arrived from Ghana.

The flagrant abuse of power in Ghana has awakened Ghanaians in Diaspora, and Concerned Citizens of Ghana has organized this demonstration to bring to the fore the deception, corruption, and abuse of power by President Mahama.

Kwame Budu, a 25-year resident of New York and the chairperson of the Concerned Citizens of Ghana, hopes that other world leaders will pick up their complaint and counsel president Mahama. Ghana, the so-called “peaceful” country, is in on the verge of strife.

"Millions do not even get a square meal in Ghana. But judgment debts, like the Woyome case for about $30 million, the purchase of private airplanes totaling about $30 million by John Mahama's brother, and the creation of 45 constituencies less than 90 days to the general election have caused the Concerned Citizens of Ghana to demonstrate and to highlight the plight of the poor in Ghana,” Budu said.

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