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Opinions of Saturday, 3 August 2013

Columnist: Arthur, Augustine

Are Ghanaian Politicians Thieves?

Contributing to tributes ahead of late President John Mills’ first anniversary on Friday, July 19, 2013 on the floor of Parliament, Dr. Kunbuor said: “once a person enters public life in this country, particularly as a president or a minister, he is automatically converted into a thief”.

Again, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Doe Adjaho has also stated that he was not happy about how the public perceived politicians to be.
He therefore called on Members of Parliament (MP) to unite and correct the perception of the general public, who refer to politicians as 'thieves.'
The Speaker made this observation when he presided over a sitting in Parliament during which the House approved a US$1.2 billion for the purchasing of cocoa beans for the 2013/2014 crop season.

“Until all politicians in the nation come under one umbrella to arrest the situation, it would get to a time that mother Ghana would not get any individual to man the affairs of the country”, Rt. Hon. Adjaho added.
After analyzing the above statements from the two honourable men, one needs to ponder and ask, “Are Ghanaian Politicians Thieves”?
This question can be answered by the politicians themselves, and they have the onerous responsibility to demystify the conception that Ghanaian politicians are thieves.

We have very good, selfless, and dedicated men and women in the political institution in Ghana. At the same time, we have greedy, corrupt, and selfish politicians in Ghana.

Let us consider the following few scenarios that have happened in Ghana since we entered into the democratic dispensation on January 7, 1993.

- The wife of a President (First Lady) purchased former Nsawam Cannery at a ridiculous price.
- A President assumed the presidency at the Osu Castle and within a short period, his son who was not known to have been engaged in any high level business suddenly became credit worthy to the extent that he could purchase a high class hotel (Hotel Waawaa).
- A Minister of Health who is a medical doctor and a Member of Parliament was sponsored to travel outside the country with tax payers’ money (flight, hotel accommodation, and per diem) for a conference on HIV/AIDS only for him to open his zip and impregnate a white American woman who was also a participant at the conference. When the scandal came out, the President honoured the Minister by putting him in charge of the transport sector so that he could get free flights and trips to go and impregnate more white women.
- A former Chief of Staff and later Minister of State bought the government bungalow he was occupying at a very low price. He sees nothing wrong with it because the Supreme Court has said he has the right to purchase that bungalow. What would have happened if all Ministers of State since Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s time had purchased government bungalows?
- Politicians scramble and loot state lands all over the country at low prices and they see nothing wrong with that shameful act.
- A General Secretary of a political party, and a board member of Bui Dam Project gets a gargantuan contract to supply cement blocks to the project, and he sees nothing wrong with his greedy act. Conflict of interest!!!

- A political party financier awarded gargantuan judgment debt money for no apparent work done for the state with the Attorney-General allegedly refusing to appear in court to defend the state.

From the foregoing instances, how would the ordinary Ghanaian who is struggling to stand on his or her feet in daily living see the Ghanaian politician? Are Ghanaian politicians thieves? It is only the politician who can answer this question.

By A. Arthur