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Opinions of Monday, 9 February 2009

Columnist: Ayeboafo, Yaw Awuah Boadu

An Era of Responsibility Beckons

I commend Alliance for Accountable Governance’s response to the appointment committee’s call on the general public to submit notes on the President’s nominees for ministerial positions. Ghanaians hope and pray that their elected MPs would go into detail all the grievances leveled against some of the nominees. It’s also expected that the nominees themselves would also do sober self examination of their conduct both public and private before accepting their noble, if they so seem to believe, call by the President of the Republic to serve in the respective ministries they’ve been nominated to. In as much as we recognize the good services of public servants to the cause of the public good, some are really at great cost to the public financially, morally and more importantly on successive generations. As public officials their conduct, decision and judgment illuminate the past, present and future legacy of our Nation.

An era of responsibility beckons Ghanaians and I think everybody needs to be held to task right now, if Ghana were to be developed and more especially great responsibility and good judgment would be required of anybody who aspires to public office.

The initiative of AFAG needs the support of every well meaning Ghanaian who believes that we should demand more from our public officers and ourselves. As a Nation, it seems we countenance and compromise on ethical shortcomings and professional misdeeds. Invariably, we have been reaping what we have sown. The level of corruption and mistrust of politicians or public office holders is very unfortunate and the sooner we addressed issues bothering on ethics and low standards, the better it would affect our democratic governance.

While I recognize and don’t begrudge the president’s prerogative to appoint and to dismiss, I’m of the candid opinion that it’s ethically and responsibly incumbent upon him to do so not to disappoint and shoot himself in the foot. I believe his privileged powers under the constitution should be exercised to uphold and reflect on good values and principles. I believe president Mills is increasingly becoming rhetorical and it’s about time his talks were matched to his actions if he were to be taken serious.

Isn’t it ironic, for the president to nominate a communications minister who its public knowledge had been striped off his Master’s degree in communication, having been duly found guilty of cheating or plagiarism? It’s so serious and unpardonable when the minister nominee, a lawyer, who so accepts his culpability, conspicuously and rightly do not make mention of the said degree on his CV and yet do not decline his nomination. Does the mere omission absolve his culpability? It becomes grievous or fatal when the person nominating him, a law professor, having been a former professor for so long of the same University that was compared to withdraw its own awarded degree to the nominee. It seems we’ve entrenched on two value standard, one for the worthy, the haves or powerful in our society and the other for the poor, have-nots and the less powerful. For example we seem to condemn or bemoan examination malpractices at the basic level of education but tolerate such offenses among the powerful.

Curiously, I would want to know if the MP who has had his degree duly striped for cheating would have the moral right and courage to condemn such practice in his constituency and in the country or even make right judgment on issues that borders on honesty and integrity.

It must be noted that success should be rewarded and rightly so, dishonestly must be boldly condemned or punished. The communications minister nominee is a known and youthful MP among the few. It would have been great to see such a guy at the ministry. However, our quest for more young people representation in government should not be compromised with honesty and integrity.

Finally, I want to trust our MPs to dispassionately appraise all the President’s nominees to reflect on high standards and values. I believe the clubby nature our MPs treat members of their own and issues that affect their welfare would not cloud their responsibility and good judgment to the Nation and successive generations. God Bless Ghana.

Yaw Awuah Boadu Ayeboafo Tepa-Ashanti