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Opinions of Thursday, 8 January 2009

Columnist: Asher, Bernard

A case of the dog returning to his vomit

. Attah Mills’ 1st Political Blunder.

Having been confirmed only two days ago by the electoral commission as the victor of the fiercely contested presidential elections in Ghana to the discomfiture of many an NPP supporter among which I am, it is tantalizingly fascinating, if also convenient, to watch president-elect Attah Mills commit his first blunder by appointing a posse to the so-called transitional team made up of a curious mix of bonafide ex-cons and members of the old guard who were ever so loudly rejected by the citizenry of Ghana in 2000. One cannot help but chew on the biblical admonishing by Jesus which goes thusly: "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces" and "a dog returns to its own vomit," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."

It is political gaffes like these that make one wonder what kind of political advisors that many Ghanaian politicians have. Lest John Mills forgets it is with people like PV Obeng, Spio Garbrah, Mahama Iddrissu, Victor Gbeho and Kwame Peprah that the Ghanaian voter became so frustrated and disillusioned with after nearly a decade of ruling the country that they thought it wise to vote for change. It goes without saying that the above-mentioned are some of NDC’s staunchest advocates but does the president-elect really think it politically expedient to re-introduce individuals whose previous tinkering with Ghanaian politics and the Ghanaian economy was so decisively repudiated by the populace of Ghana in 2000 and 2004? Does the emeritus professor not think that having touted changing the NPP government as his raison d’être it would have been prudent or at least politically correct to introduce a group that truly represented change as his transitional team? Or is this John Rawlings’ first input in Attah Mills’ term of office?

Take Kwame Preprah as a case in point. This is a man who was charged with causing financial loss to the state of Ghana to the tune of $20 million dollars by an Accra fast track court. Now before the reader rashly contests the legitimacy or otherwise of that sentence and that of the court may I remind you that this selfsame court acquitted Nana Ato Dadzie, former Chief of Staff and Mr. Samuel Dapaah, former Secretary of State for Food and Agriculture, in connection with the same case. On that score may I remind the reader that it would amount to crass two-facedness to welcome the ruling of the court on the latter duo yet raise matters of legitimacy as well as accuse the NPP government of victimization in connection with Kwame Peprah’s conviction. I hasten to remind the reader that it was another Fast Track Court that ruled against the injunction sought by the NPP on the 2nd of January 2008 against Dr. Afari Gyan and the EC seeking to prevent the declaration of a winner until alleged electoral fraud had been investigated. It is, therefore, only the nihilistic individual who would still question the ability of the Fast Track Court to be patently impartial. With the preceding withstanding would it not have been at least suitable, if not downright opportune to- for the sake of holding on to the much-ballyhooed need for change - keep an ex-con like Mr. Preprah out of the limelight, at least for now?

Not too long ago Mr. Kufour was savagely attacked for re- appointing Dr. Anane after he had been caught with his pants down in a hotel room. Albeit Anane was never charged with any crime many were the Ghanaians who thought that even in the light of being innocent until proven guilty the man’s reappointment was a slap in the face by NPP and the president.

Would it not be political suicide for David Cameron, the leader of the British opposition, to appoint Jeffrey Archer to his shadow cabinet after the latter had been so disgracefully sent to jail for perjury? (a comparatively lower crime compared to willfully causing financial loss to the state).Or is it only in countries like these British Isles and the US that one is to forever expect such high standards in public life?

Whether or not Mr. Preprah was really guilty or not is not what is damaging but his irreparably dented reputation and the near- perpetual association of his name with fraud. I can bet my last tenner that no reputable international financial organization will employ Kwame Preprah as its chief financial officer. But in vintage Ghanaian superciliousness and endemic political carelessness Mr. Mills the harbinger of “Change” and the “yere se sa mu” slogan returns an ex-con who has been charged with the high crime of willfully causing financial loss to state of Ghana to office and puts him in charge of no other sub-committee but that of the ever so sensitive sector of energy. May God help us.

With this start, it would come as no surprise to me if John Rawlings is nominated by John Mills as the next Minster of State in charge of Defense.

Let John Attah Mills be assured that Ghanaians both at home and in the dispersion are eagerly watching and that his overly ballyhooed mantra of change which seems to have resonated so well with the Ghanaian voter this time will be the opponents’ jingle in the very near future. S? ?se ?re sesa mu’a hw? na sesa mu.(if you say you want to change things then do really change things).

JUST BE WARNED, MR. PRESIDENT, GHANAIANS ARE WATCHING!

Bernard Asher