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Feature Article of Monday, 29 October 2012

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

PACmen Down, Kunbour Reigns

Critical News, 28th October 2012

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

We have 40 days left to election day and Prophet Daniel Nkansah has chosen this time, not to interpret God’s message of peace and peaceful elections to Ghanaians like all pastors are doing, but rather to implicate simple God-fearing election officers in ghc1,600 bribe money. This appalling accusation is yet to get to court, but reports in the media say Daniel was arrested on Thursday and we have heard no more since. The police have also interrogated the officials from the EC. The genesis of his case is that he was asked to pay the bribe money to ensure his registration to contest as President of Ghana. So he paid a deposit with a promise to pay the balance on due date, which he could not fulfill, thus the case made public ears. The man who wants to be President does not know that he has a right to be registered once his papers are properly completed? Well, this case is not before God, but Man and he will have no advantage because of his biblical standing. Imagine if he were to become President!
His is as dark as Akua Donkor’s disqualification is humorous. A most disappointing matter, because Akua was promising to make everything in Ghana free. I would have voted for a free life. I watched Akua on TV with her “aneeku” and really engaging smile. She made me laugh, she laughed at herself, especially when she spoke about crossing this large river in the Afram Plains to get her forms signed. I like her, but she copped out. So also Nana Konadu, whose registration is still out there, and I am not sure whether she is in court over the matter or not. After all the noise and threats to sue, I have not seen much progress from the NDP. But JJ consoled his wife over the weekend, says “don’t give up Nana”. I don’t think anyone actually believes Nana can become president, when she could not even win the NDC primaries in Sunyani, but she has made a bold statement and maybe set a path for others to follow. The NDP might win a parliamentary seat or two, and possibly encourage more independents from the NDC side, throw some cash at their campaigns and one day in the future if they do not merge back into the NDC, could gain a voice in parliament as a 5th force. The PPP might win a seat, Samia could retain her seat and between this motley group, we could have a coalition team in Parliament.
I jest, so don’t raise your hopes.
I don’t live in JJ’s warped world, distorting truth and psycho transference at any opportunity and manufacturing chaos, which is why I did not attend the Center For Accuracy (CFA) lectures on Wednesday when he was the guest speaker. I have attended every one of this Andrew Awuni-initiative since it started, but I drew a line. I think the CFA did well to invite him and JJ did well to honor the invitation, and I hear the content was applaud able, but this whole accountability, probity and integrity dress party offends my civil senses. Lately he has taken to criticizing those who destroy role models in Ghana. Akenten Appiah-Menka recently released his autobiography, “The River in the Sea”. JJ would do well to read it, might inspire him to spend more quality time writing his long-overdue contribution to Ghanaians.
Felix Kwakye Ofusu is the most sought after RaaP-er in town. He came across a secret tape with possibly Anthony Karbo’s (NPP youth organizer) voice on it and went to town to announce this discovery by his one-person Research and Advocacy Platform (RaaP). He made major political capital out of it and rightly, I think, because if what was said on the tape is what was intended, it is criminal. The NDC would have one back after the Gyan Baffour tape and we are level? No one prosecuted?
We have finally put a nail in the coffin of the new districts. The last case between Ayikoi Otoo and our Supreme Court judges, as predicted, confirmed that the Minister for Local Government had indeed usurped the EC’s authority, but the learned Judges thought the EC had rectified the anomaly through other legislation. So, when they are elected, we will play musical chairs? Wait for the hullabaloo when next year starts. And who will have the advantage from the new constituencies? The NPP say they will benefit more. Wow, that will be an interesting twist of events? Maybe the NDC independents know a thing or two we have not anticipated. Many more of them are declaring an independent position away from party nominations. Is the NDC not in trouble?
And is JDM (I hear it is an acronym for Judgment Debt Manager) corrupt? That question was discussed in an prickly article by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe on Ghanaweb after it came up on the world wide web. There are rumors chasing the President, some of them evolving from brother Ibrahim’s global success, some from matters arising from his past boss, the late President, but in all this, no real evidence to prove so. Doubtless there are going to be many cases coming forward before this election is over.
Now toothless and disrobed, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee is in a fight to exert its authority over ministers of state, especially cabinet ministers. The authority to compel persons to attend PAC hearings is vested in standing orders of Parliament and cannot be discarded as mere partisan control. In the past, former AG Betty Mould Iddrissu and Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffour have simply not shown up before committees and even the house itself, but the recent refusal by the person whose authority to jail you should scare any person in this country, stuck his middle finger in the face of Parliament. Dr. Benjamin Kunbour is Attorney General and Minister for Justice. He sits in cabinet and his immediate boss is the President of this country. Kunbour simply refused to show up, neither has he responded to the PAC’s demand for copies of documents on several judgment debts nor has he been compelled by his boss to attend the committee. As he understands it, the cases are in court and his comments to Parliament would be prejudicial. In its simplicity, all he is saying is he does not see what the Parliamentary committee is going on about.
This is the man who is the repository of all things prosecutorial in our country. His job is to prosecute wrongdoers according to law and to ensure that Ghanaians have civic fairness at all levels of society. His interpretation of the authority of Parliament is clearly not the same as the PACmen and I am not sure that he even sees his responsibility in the rights of the ordinary Ghanaian. Recently Dr. Kunbour has had a run-in with the law, claiming some person took a potshot at him in his car. He is yet to provide PAC with documentary proof of the size of judgment debt claims in the CP case, which he says is way beyond the level known to Parliament and to the country and he had a very confrontational session with the Chairman of the PAC, when he did show up a few months ago. This recent in-your-face defiance of PAC is given more weight because his immediate boss is too busy chasing his Better Ghana dream, leaving the ship of State to drift beyond the breakwater. Ben Kunbour is asking PAC to drag him Court if they believe they have a case to compel him to appear. His interpretation of the Constitution is a little different from the PAC and I think from mine as well. All over the world, I understand a Congress or Parliament has a certain authority, which supercedes that of the executive and complements the legislature. But I am not a lawyer. If Madam Speaker can look at standing orders 205(1) and 105(1), I believe we will find some guidelines about what to do. I remember one Agbesi Woyome, who tried the same trick once and eventually found himself before the committee. But he was not a cabinet minister. We should try this for size, learn from the experience, we might find a way to jail a minister of State for contempt. We are sorely in need of mechanisms to bring the “big men” to book. It is an evolving democracy.
Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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