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Opinions of Friday, 13 June 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Come On, President Kufuor!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I couldn't stop myself from snorting and sneering with laughter. I mean the very idea of former President John (Kofi Diawuo) Agyekum-Kufuor huffing and puffing about rank and abject corruption among the top-cabinet appointees of the Mahama government (See "There's Too Much Corruption in Ghana - Kufuor" / 6/11/14). Maybe our Gentle Giant so facilely supposes that the piddling span of six years has so thoroughly erased our memory banks as to make us totally forget Prophet John's brazen baptism of corruption on the banks of the Subin river as the ineluctable mark of our humanity.

Back then, Mr. Kufuor let it be known, in case the global community had forgotten, that corruption was as old as Adam and Eve. We also vividly remember the former president allowing Dr. Richard Anane, the New Patriotic Party's Member for Kumasi-Nhyiaeso, back into his cabinet after a flurry of complaints and investigations by the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) clearly concluded that while he may not have been criminally culpable, nevertheless, it was palpably evident that Mr. Kufuor's homeboy had not conducted himself in a manner befitting a gentleman of the highest breed.

What amuses me, though, is the fact that the former president would bitterly decry the high spate of corruption in the Mahama administration to the same British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), to one of whose reporters he had snapped scarcely a decade ago, that corruption was as ancient as Adam and Eve and, in effect, an evil practice about which absolutely nothing meaningful and/or productive could be done, except the necessity for Ghanaian humans to learn to live comfortably with the same.

Still, I perfectly concur with the former president on the imperative need for the SADA payout of millions of cedis for absolutely no work done to be thoroughly investigated and every pesewa owed the hardworking Ghanaian taxpayer promptly returned to the public till, possibly with interest and punitive damages. What indescribably irks me, though, is the fact that the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) would virtually sit duck while contractual awards under the so-called Savannah Accelerated Authority were blatantly and flagrantly tribalized, ethnicized and regionalized with reckless abandon, to the detriment of both the purported northern benefactors and the country at large.

I, however, vehemently disagree with the idea of the government, whichever major party happens to run it, directly funding anti-corruption agencies like CHRAJ in order to facilitate its own undoing. It simply doesn't make sense. At the worst, CHRAJ ought to be funded through parliamentary authorization, and not through either the Flagstaff House or the Ministry of Finance. Better yet, CHRAJ could be statutorily authorized to solicit funding from the United Nations and other non-vested non-governmental justice defending agencies abroad, as long as the staff and senior operatives of CHRAJ could be guaranteed to maintain a well-audited and closely monitored and transparent accounting system.

The Commissioner for CHRAJ also ought to be appointed by the Judicial Council with parliamentary approval, and not by the president. And contrary to what Mr. Kufuor would have the rest of the world believe, population explosion is not Ghana's problem. At some 25 or even 30 million, the population of Ghana is more than manageable, especially when one considers the vast natural, human-power and potential industrial resources at its disposal. Rather, the glaring problem of Ghana is one of abject lack of creative imagination and managerial innovativeness and foresightedness among our top leadership.

And while he is unarguably the best Ghanaian president of the Fourth Republic, nevertheless, Mr. Kufuor's cynical and cavalier attitude towards the war against corruption as president, and his near-pathological complacency as chief-of-state, certainly contributed in no small measure towards the current Stygian level of corruption in the country. And he ought to be bold and honest enough to acknowledge this much.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Board Member, The Nassau Review
June 11, 2014