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Opinions of Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Columnist: Kwawukume, Andy C.Y.

Ayariga’s allegation must not be discarded

By Andy C.Y. Kwawukume

This, indeed, is a grave matter that should never be swept under the carpet with the kind of trite response from Kate Addo, Acting Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, nor the barrage of insults and denials I have been reading online and hearing on TV. The outright insults demonstrate the mental depravity and moral turpitude of Ghanaians themselves, which have made them accomplices and accessories to the pervasive corruption in Ghana. Spend two weeks in Ghana and one is speechless, with tongue hanging out, at the stories of calumny and graft one hears about. I must say I was impressed at the clean up at the Airport though, on a recent snap visit to Ghana after a long absence. NONETHELESS, THIS ALLEGATION MUST BE INVESTIGATED!!!

That someone can think that Ayariga can just make up this story and involve many others as accomplices and get away with it is madness itself, unless one knows Ayariga as a crazy and unstable liar. If that were the case, we can brand his allegation as just another effusion from his fevered brain. But I don't know him to be either a mad man or a habitual liar beyond being a “greedy bastard” who took 5 tractors for himself whereas Agyei Marfo got the sack in the ‘80s for using his discretion to allocate a tractor to a more deserving investor than those already in the queue. Accordingly, I am willing to credit him with some plausibility that he is telling the truth until proven a liar.

In fact, as one of the kingpins of the NDC party, whatever he says or does reflects on that party that has just been shoved unceremoniously into the opposition by the NPP on main grounds of being corrupt and all the dishonesty associated with it. It therefore behoves on Ayariga and his fellow NDC members privy to this matter to pursue the issue to its full logical end: a proper parliamentary investigation. We the public cannot accept any further dishonesty being dished to us.

This is a story involving several others who can corroborate what Ayariga said or deny it. It can be true but in order to preserve the façade that covers the rot that Parliament has been said openly to be, they can deny that it is not true, and that is exactly this statement is doing in support of the NPP Chairman of the Appointment Committee who reportedly doled out the money as well as other key persons involved. Alhaji Muntaka, whose name was mentioned as the source of the information that the money came from the Energy Minister, has come out to strenuously deny the story but in a skewed manner. Reading through Mr Ayariga’s initial statement, there was nowhere I can deduce that it was Mr Muntaka who shared the money to the minority MPs but it was said that the monies were given back to him to return to the Chairman. So denying that he shared the monies is redundant and to no effect. But did he collect some monies back? It was even clear that he Mr Muntaka was sure of the source of the money at first and had to investigate and return with that story. Did he get the story right about the source? There are just too many questions to ask – I can think of over a score – in this sordid case and it is clear some people are telling bloody lies and no sane person must believe anyone until this case is investigated to unravel the truth.

Some involved can also choose to be silent, as many, including the remaining 7 NDC members who reportedly received the money and returned it, obviously are doing right now. They are doing Ghanaians a great disservice and must be condemned as accomplices to the venal criminality and corruption in Ghana. So, for these NDC members remaining silent simply cements the perception created around them that they are corrupt and dishonest, at a time when they should be re-building their collective image.

For the NPP members, the reasons to deny or remain silent are obvious and we need not belabour the point but it is worth mentioning how P. C. Ofori was ostracised for publicly spilling too much of the dirty laundary in public; for instance, how Vodafone shelled out through President Kufuor a lousy $5000 to NPP MPs in order to get their support for the Ghana Telecom fire sale. Now, Vodafone, reportedly, is remitting out of Ghana each year more than the price they paid for GT and the VRA fibre optic system.

We the angry observers will like to know if they are just mere scoundrels in Parliament? It is a pity that Anas has been prevailed upon to shelf his undercover investigation of Parliamentarians, which promised to be even more explosive than that of the judges. The public must clamour for the rot in Parliament to be exposed and eradicated but is the public up to the task? Already, most have taken partisan lines, with the NPP supporters rallying behind the Chairman of the Appointments Committee and the new Enerygy Minister, with insults being rained on Ayariga. I treat them with utter contempt! Ghana does not belong to them alone. It belongs to all of us. For some of us, our forebears sat at the high table throughout its formative years until independence and made enumerable sacrifices to turn it into the rich, model colony that Ghana became. We have been outraged since our childhood at the plunder the new urchins on the block have unleashed on us since the attainment of independence. Enough is enough! Time to organise a Million Men and Women March on Parliament and force them to investigate this case and make a lot of drastic changes as to how they operate, conduct themselves and are enumerated. No one forces anyone to become an MP and it is supposed to be a voluntary job.

It is sickening to learn that the MPs even think they are entitled to overtime sitting allowance – in this case amounting to a whopping GHS3000 in an envelope (a brown one?) - for doing their job, a job which we all know they are being paid extravagantly for. Of course, we have all repeatedly read that this is normal practice, with even Ministries and government departments having to pay the MPs for the approval of budgetary allocations! Anyone who does not know this or haven't heard about it is simply ignorant, an illiterate or not a Ghanaian scene observer and so can be excused for his/her ignorance. Now is the time to clamour for a halt to the ongoing gross graft and plunder of our scarce resources by our MPs, as such actions are only worthy of scoundrels in any democracy following the rule of law.

The time has come to deal with these unwholesome and unethical actions in Parliament. I thought they MPs were capable of hauling members of the public before them for contempt and threatening them with sanctions. Let them haul Ayariga before their disciplinary committee and not tell him or anyone else to go to court.


Andy C. Y. Kwawukume