You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2014 10 23Article 331472

Opinions of Thursday, 23 October 2014

Columnist: The Catalyst Newspaper

Afriyie-Ankrah debate getting overly ridiculous

(Part II)

In a multi-party democracy such as ours, politicians and their followers naturally take advantage of situations affecting their opponents to try and score some political points. The problem in most cases however, has to do with unfairness to those at the centre of the storm due to overstretched arguments and opinions that are purely informed by prejudice. This is the bane of Hon. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah regarding the issue of Ghana’s failed World Cup bid in Brazil, which is currently under investigation by the Justice Senyo Dzamefe Presidential Commission of Enquiry.

Uninformed judgements It is obvious the ‘guilty judgement’ pronounced on Afriyie-Ankrah by some was uninformed. His detractors seemed to have achieved their aim, temporarily though, by the large volume of false information put out by them within that short period of time. Subject to strict proof however, many who have been hoodwinked into believing these falsehoods will be found wanting because they were misled. Unfortunately, these prejudiced persons are not ready to be fair to the facts emerging from the public hearings of the Commission, which make complete nonsense of the numerous allegations persistently peddled about the former youth & sports minister. So, the ‘Afriyie-Ankrah is a thief who must be hanged at all cost’ chorus continues unabated.

Manufactured falsehoods Is it not intriguing that of all the allegations peddled by the pull-Afriyie-Ankrah-down-at-all-cost squad, not one appears to have a leg to stand on so far? The good people of Ghana were told prior to the tournament that Afriyie-Ankrah had decided to steal Ghana money by presenting an over-bloated budget to cabinet. There were claims that the then sports minister was disbursing the supporters’ money from his desk at the ministry and that he had sent twenty of his relatives to Brazil at the expense of the state among others wild claims. Then while in Brazil, his detractors said he had dumped the supporters in the streets of Brazil because he made no provision for their accommodation and feeding. Pictures of the supposed stranded supporters sleeping in the streets of Brazil were widely circulated. The more than 600 supporters, apart from claims they were starving for non-availability of food, were also supposed to have been queuing in order to have access to one tiny toilet in the dark alleys of nowhere. As if these lies were not vicious enough, attempts were also made in spreading falsehoods about sex scandals involving the then minister of youth & sports and other persons among the ‘ambassadors.’ The thing with these falsehood manufacturers and others who they managed to hoodwink at one point or the other to join the ‘hang-Afriyie-Ankrah-at-all-cost’ chorus is that they appear to have had no idea that there were two separate accounts ran by the ministry on the World Cup project including that of the Black Stars, which was money provided by government for the preparation of the team and another for the supporters which was money raised from corporate Ghana through sponsorships. Now, it has been made clear that both accounts were run by the accounts department of the ministry.

Cowardice approach We on The Catalyst had thought that when Hon Afriyie-Ankrah threw an open challenge to his accusers to come out of their holes and give whatever information they claim to have about him to the Commission, they were going to relish the opportunity and take a bold step once and for all. But we were wrong. Not one of them has had the courage to do that. Rather, what we continue to witness is the usual practice of hiding behind the internet and spreading more lies about him. This cowardice approach adopted by these prejudiced persons can only be explained by the fact that their claims are nothing but wicked lies, which cannot stand the test of time. The hard-core evidence produced by Afriyie-Ankrah has exposed them for who they are, and exactly what they stand for.

Nothing to fear Afriyie-Ankrah has made it clear he has nothing to hide and therefore, nothing to fear. The Catalyst will not be surprised if he personally takes steps to appear before the Commission again before its sittings end in order to set the records straight on any issue he may deem necessary. But when persons who should have known better, rush to make ridiculous comments that suggest they are virtually ordering the Commission to bring back the former Minister of Youth & Sports to answer questions that, in his opinion, have derived from the testimonies of other witnesses at the Commission, one begins to wonder what the real motivation is. It is mindboggling the way and manner such persons are trying so hard to either stampede the Commission or interfere with its work with impunity at a time when we must all be helping it in working to establish a workable systems for sports management and organisation of tournaments so that mistakes of the past- which may have been committed because of lack of appropriate systems- could be avoided in the future. The Commission has the capacity to unearth the whole truth in the World Cup saga. The Commission will invite persons as and when it deems it fit. Nobody should pretend to know better than the commissioners and seek to poison the atmosphere around its work by suggesting that its continuous sittings are a waste of time unless the former Minister of Sports is brought back to answer questions that they think he should be made to answer. That is an affront to the Commission. This is ridiculous! Anybody who has followed the hearings of the Justice Dzamefe Commission so far with objective lenses would have begun guessing the likely outcome. If anybody thinks that their wish may not be fulfilled after the Commission’s work, let them keep their anxiety to themselves and stop disturbing our ears. The main existential enemies of Ghana are those who will not allow state institutions to work in peace in a bid to serve the national interest but continue to confuse unsuspecting members of the public with warped logic and jaundice opinions. Ghana deserves better. We shall be back!