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Opinions of Saturday, 18 August 2018

Columnist: Rockson Adofo

A letter of concern to the President and the Special Prosecutor

Dear His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo & Hon Martin Amidu,

As a concerned citizen but not a spectator desirous to see Ghana emerge from her many economy-debilitating problems rendering the country and many of her citizens poor, I feel extremely obliged to publish this open letter of concern for your attention and quick redressing.

Time is of the essence in whatever we do. Everything must be achieved within a specified timeframe but not be left to the mercy of fate to carry it wherever and however it wants and as long as it wants. Should things be left to fate, then we are bound to become failures in most things that we do.

Mr President, you promised the nation a lot during your electioneering campaign hence teasingly earning the accolade “King Promise”. Having a realist approach to issues, I see your promises as the good intentions you have for Ghana and the way forward to redeeming the nation from her negativities and dehumanising tags as a nation and a people.

You are not obliged, and you can’t, achieve all your promises to the nation within your first four-year term or two terms in office should you win re-election in 2020. Your promises must be seen by Ghanaians as a long-term project to be fully realised in not less than thirty years. However, you need to prioritise your promises; set a timeframe within which to achieve each. Should you continue to dither, leaving things to take their natural course, then you are bound to fail woefully.

Your aversion to corruption is greatly admired by many a discerning Ghanaian. It is making it difficult for most of the members of your government to embezzle funds and State assets as it contrarily used to be prevalent under the presidency of former President John Dramani Mahama and his NDC government. By this, those naturally imbued with corruption for the fact of being Ghanaians with political love of corrupt practices, will surely hate you and pray in their secret hearts for your downfall.

You have fought a good battle to salvage the nation’s water bodies, arable fertile lands, forests and air from the annihilating illegal surface mining (galamsey) principally in perpetration and perpetuation by foreigners of mostly Chinese origin. However, you are making a U-turn to defeat your own laudable achievement by sooner legalising the galamsey, the supposedly small scale but illegal surface mining, through a purported scientific roadmap to track and monitor the activities of the trade. Will they still not be digging our fertile lands? Will they still not be using mercury and other chemicals that will be washed into the rivers to treat the little gold they find? Will the Chinese still not be in the trade? Will the chiefs still not sell our lands to the foreigner-galamseyers for peanut?

Yes, Mr President, you are serious to fight corruption, the bane of Ghana’s socio-economic emancipation. This is the reason why you honoured your promise of having a constitutionally-mandated Special Prosecutor to deal a merciless blow to any established corrupt official. Nevertheless, Ghanaians are only seeing a delay to starting his job in honest whereas there are many known and perceived instances of committed official corruption by many Ghanaian politicians and Civil servants both past and present. What is he waiting for knowing that time and tide wait for no man?

The quicker the Special Prosecutor starts his job of dealing drastically with the already established corrupt officials working in collaboration with the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelovo, much the better for him and the President to achieving one of the flagships promises made by Nana Akufo-Addo when he was a presidential aspirant. If you are able to curtail or exterminate corruption, the development of Ghana can easily be achieved.

Dilly-dallying in whatever we do has undesirable repercussions and often culminates in failure. Let me recount three instances where my failure to act when I should have, had led to situations where I keep tormenting myself with regret, guilty conscience, and the sufferance of bitter pains of “had I known but which is always at last”.

In 2007 when I proceeded to Ghana to attend my mother’s funeral, I visited Kumawu-Abotanso to traditionally let some relatives know that I was in the country to attend my mother’s funeral. One Nana Adwoa Anane, once the wife of my mum’s father, when I paid her a visit, she said, “I should rather have died but not my mum”. She was old and sick. I could not give her anything but on my return to Europe, I sent home money to be taken to her. This was about a year later. Guess what! When the emissary, my half-sibling resident in Ghana took the money to Abotanso and told why he had come, they told him Nana Adwoa Anane had died about eight months ago.

Again, when I went to Ghana in 2012 to campaign for NPP and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during the general election, I met one Ama Omenaa, a neighbour with whom we had all grown up as children together and lived a few metres from one another. She asked me to give her money to purchase a half-piece of cloth that she would use to attend funerals. I did give her that money and she did actually buy a piece of cloth with it. When she saw me a few days later, she said, “Kwasi, please give me money to enable me go and renew my National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card so that when I fall ill I could go to hospital, for presently, I can’t go to hospital because my card has expired. When I go to hospital, I am not able to afford the fees demanded because of not having a valid NHIS card”

I told her I had no money at the moment but would do her request next time I returned to Kumawu. I went to Kumasi never to return to Kumawu before flying to Europe. Within three months or so, I heard she had collapsed while bathing but because she had not money to attend hospital, she was left unattended and when it became critical and was finally rushed to the Kumawu Health Post, she passed away.

Again, in the same 2012, I visited one of my extended family members who by Akan tradition is my sister. When I went, she told me she was suffering from diabetes. I asked to see the drugs she was taking. I should have helped out financially but I didn’t. Just on Thursday, 16 August 2018, I remitted money home through Western Union. I intended to give some money to her. When I notified the receiver of the money of how the money is to be distributed, he told me Maame Abenaa Donkor (Abenaa Enko) has died about two years ago. What a shock to me!

I have recounted these three bitter experiences just to inform the Special Prosecutor and the President that they need to strike when the iron is hot as procrastination is the thief of time. If I had done the right thing at the right time, although I might not have been able to save them, at least they would have gone to the underworld with the knowledge that I assisted them in their times of great need. I feel guilty but I cannot continue to inflict psychological injury on myself for my failures. It will be a defeatist idea.

The President, although is a greater believer in the rule of law and should have been called “King of the Rule of Law” rather than “King Promise”, I shall advise that he combines all the three principal style of leadership in him and apply each depending on the situation he is faced with. They are democratic, laissez-faire and dictatorship.

Why does the Constitution bestow Executive powers on the president and in America Veto powers? You should not be a democrat all through and through, Mr President. Put your foot down to get some of the corrupt officials already arrested and on prosecution.

Mr Martin Amidu, please name those chiefs and powerful persons approaching you to go softly on the corrupt officials. They want to make you impotent and then mock at you once they have achieved their objective. Such people are by their actions perverting the course of justice. They can be charged with complicit of crime.

Winning the fight against corruption will be the solid foundation to be laid by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Hon Martin Amidu.

Will you listen to me? Will you see sense in my advice? Just think about it. I wish both of you good luck. “Prako nnam, ye di no hyeo”.