You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2008 02 23Article 139518

Opinions of Saturday, 23 February 2008

Columnist: Lens

7 Years Of Kufuor - A Legacy Of Corruption, Cocaine & Lies

"We will not deal with corrupt leaders who are stealing from their own people," President Bush has declared on his five nation African tour that has seen him visit Benin and Tanzania so far.

How serious are these words of the American president when he is busy dealing with President Kufuor whose seven years in charge of Ghana has seen corruption reach levels totally unheard of since the nation attained independence in 1957?

How does President Bush describe a man who turns the presidency into a kickback collection citadel, where millions of dollars of illegal kickbacks are extorted from various contractors and personally disbursed by the president himself?

If President Bush is truly interested in knowing the fine details of the sleaze and corruption that have festered under the watch of President Kufuor, the American embassy in Accra, could arrange to have him spend a few minutes with the immediate past Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Haruna Esseku. For maximum effect, the venue of the interaction could be the plush multi-million dollar Hotel Kufuor- a hotel known by the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians to belong to President Kufuor.

For the information of President Bush, a little over seven years ago, when then president elect, Kufuor visited the Osu castle, the seat of the presidency, to have his first formal interaction with outgoing president Rawlings, so bad was his financial situation that the old, decrepit vehicle he drove there was in such poor condition that it could not start when it was time for him to leave the castle.

Seven years later, the same man, according to his immediate past party chief, is the recipient of millions of dollars of kickbacks. The man’s eldest son, who a few years back, was unable to raise money to repair his father’s crumbling vehicle and dilapidated house, suddenly according to his father, now possessed the means to buy a hotel worth over ten million dollars.

The political section of the American embassy could give the visit American president a whole load-down on how President Kufuor’s bad example virtually opened the floodgates that saw the government’s avowed policy of Zero Tolerance Against corruption completely trampled underfoot.

MoneyCracy

The recent presidential campaign that culminated in the election of the new candidate for the ruling NPP provided the best opportunity to see a display of the massive accumulation of wealth that has taken place among officials of the Kufuor government.

Candidates, who years back in opposition, could barely raise enough money for filing fees, this time around were splashing billions of cedis in a desperate bid to buy the conscience of party delegates. The display of affluence, in a nation still grappling with poverty and under development, was so revolting that even some sympathizers of the ruling NPP again and again questioned the source of the monies available to various candidates.

The flagrant use of suspected ill gotten money to subvert the nation’s democratic effort became so much that a new term, Moneycracy, was coined to describe NPP’s new brand of democracy.

What then is President Bush doing in Ghana when he states that he does not want to have any dealing with leaders who are looting their own people?

Former Chicago based Ghanaian businessman and politician, Kofi Wayo, who dealt very closely with the ruling NPP and was one time a close confidante of President Kufuor could in a few words tell President Bush the true nature of the regime he is dealing with and what the officials of the regime are best reputed for. In Kofi Wayo’s view, the following three words sum up the nature of the ruling NPP- A Looting Brigade.

CocaineCracy

As if the corruption and the looting were not bad enough, the seven years of Kufuor at the helm have also seen Ghana, a nation that has for long touted itself as the gateway for Africa, become the major hub of the trafficking of narcotic drugs and the haven of powerful cocaine barons.

Just a few days ago, a top official of the ruling NPP, who was incidentally a Member of Parliament and a major financier of the party, was sentenced in the USA for attempting to export into that country a sizeable amount of narcotic drugs.

Under the watch of President Kufuor, a whole shipload of cocaine vanished into thin air in Ghana’s territorial waters even though the international community duly informed the government way ahead of the arrival of the vessel.

Exhibits of cocaine are routinely vanishing in police custody in a way that will shock even the legendary Houdini who perfected the act of vanishing.

A leading security expert recently succinctly painted the accurate picture when he explained that whenever the name of Ghana is mentioned these days in international circles, the immediate image it brings along is Cocaine.

Next to Moneycracy, the biggest crisis facing the nation under the ruling NPP is Cocainecracy.

Opening Cocaine Floodgates

For the information of President Bush, The floodgates to this Cocainecracy were flung wide open by top officials of the government as far back as the year 2002.

Three women executives of the ruling NPP were at the time arrested at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra in possession of narcotic drugs. The three were kept in custody and the story made the headline in the nation’s top daily newspaper.

When the officials of the government realized the identity of the three drug queens, they moved into high gear and orchestrated their release and subsequently ensured that their police dockets were destroyed and the whereabouts of the three have remained a mystery to date. Various inside scoops have mentioned that people very close to president Kufuor were behind the scheme to free the three NPP drug queens.

That action by top officials of the Kufuor government sent the signals far and near that the NPP government not only lacked the political will to fight against the drug menace but was through, actions and inactions, actively encouraging it.

The result is what the nation is witnessing today. Cocaine here, cocaine there, cocaine everywhere!

Enter Nana Akufo Addo & His Drug Albatross

As if seven years of Cocainecracy is not bad enough a legacy, there is now a raging controversy over the drug status of the current presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Akufo Addo.

A recent publication culled from an international publication stated that- “In Ghana, drug mules and couriers have a defense team from Akufo Addo, Prempeh and Partners. The interesting part of this saga is the direct interest shown in the drug cases by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, who is now a presidential candidate for the current ruling party in Ghana.”

The publication also mentioned the following about the candidate of the NPP- “As member of Ghana' parliament, he spearheaded the passing of the Transfer of Convicted Person Law. A law that will not serve the interest of the small nation of Ghana especially when one considers the paucity of correctional facilities.”

Nana Akufo Addo has come under a barrage of widespread allegations claiming that he was and is still having a major addictive problem with narcotic drugs. This allegation that originally captivated public attention through txt messages sent by members of the ruling party, some of whom are believed to be people who have for many years had a close association with the NPP candidate, continues to persist in spite of a determined attempt by Akufo Addo to wish it away by not publicly making a response.

But the more Nana Akufo Addo keeps silent, the more the conviction grows in the minds of many Ghanaians that it is perhaps the intention of the ruling party to take the nation further down the destructive avenue of Narcotics Drugs by foisting on a proud and decent nation, a man who not only pushes for a legislation aimed at bringing back to Ghana, nationals (including a ruling party legislator busted in the US) who are justly serving time in foreign jails, but possibly a man who may be a junkie and will therefore not only condone the trafficking of dangerous drugs but actively condone the consumption of same.

The Legacy of Lies

The people of Ghana, like their counterparts in the USA, hate lies. No matter how bitter the truth is, they prefer leaders who will courageously tell them the truth.

Unfortunately, the greatest legacy President Kufuor is leaving the nation is the legacy of lies and deception.

The man promised in his inaugural speech that he will pursue a policy of Zero Tolerance for Corruption but has ended up as the most corrupt leader in the history of Ghana- this in itself summarizes his lying legacy.

The man promised to deliver positive change in the lives of the people- seven years on, the only positive change that can be seen is the one that has occurred in his personal fortunes, the financial transformation of his family, friends, officials and cronies.

The lot of the ordinary Ghanaian has grown worse under his watch- the living condition of the people is terrible and woeful- the suffering in the land has become ever so excruciating- the only thing keeping lots of Ghanaians afloat is remittances from family members and friends living abroad and the hope for a meaningful change in the upcoming general elections.

While the hardship and the suffering of the people mount, the corrupt government officials continue to bamboozle the people with all kinds of false macro-economic data that bears very little relevance to the day to day struggles of millions of Ghanaians.

It’s been seven long years characterized by lies about virtually everything and a plethora of failed promises. Last week, while presenting the State of The Nation Address, the president unwittingly admitted that his promise in the year 2001 to refurbish an office complex to accommodate the nation’s law makers has woefully failed to materialize seven years on. Instead of just stopping there, President Kufuor typically tried to seek refuge in another untruth- he claimed that, unknown to him, the money he intended to have used to build the office complex, had been diverted by the previous Rawlings administration.

This plain deception was rightly greeted with boos and cat calls from the minority- one Member of the minority was heard openly asking the president- "it took you seven years to realize this?"

When President Bush therefore says that his government does not want to deal with leaders who are corrupt, we cannot help but wonder once again what he is coming to do in Ghana with a leadership that is not just corrupt but that has also transformed a decent country into a major hub for the trafficking of narcotic drugs and that has made the act of lying such a class act that makes President Bush's own lie about the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, a child's play by comparison.