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Opinions of Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

EC cannot legally sanction Blay, big brother Sydney

I don’t know the basis upon which Big Brother Sydney Casely-Hayford would have the top officials of Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) sanction Mr. Freddie Blay, the newly elected National Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), including the imperative need for the EC to have summarily and resoundingly boycotted the NPP’s 2018 National Delegates’ Congress, in order to supposedly send a strong signal and message to both the party’s leadership and the leaderships of all the other political parties in the country that the EC would not tolerate any dastardly attempt to egregiously corrupt and/or compromise the inviolable integrity of Fourth Republican Ghanaian Democracy (See “Freddie Blay Should Have Been Sanctioned by the EC” CitiNewsRoom.com / Modernghana.com 7/8/18).

I should sincerely love to sympathize and/or agree with the highly respected anti-corruption campaigner and critic, except that Mr. Casely-Hayford does not provide us with any ample evidence to authoritatively prove that, indeed, Mr. Blay is unique or the scandalous exception in the brazen attempt by any candidate of any major political party in the country to use his/her generous fiscal and other material resources, or legitimate access to the same, to influence the outcome of any electoral process – internally and cross-nationally – in his/her favor.

You see, the problem that we have here is that the renowned business consultant and financial analyst is not accusing the former Acting National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party of having flagrantly breached any specific rules of the EC’s conduct of elections in the country, except to bitterly complain about the widely reported fact of Mr. Blay’s having legitimately taken out a bank loan in the sum of $11 million to purchase some 275 minibuses for all the party’s constituency offices in the country.

You are, of course, entitled to calling it “unethical,” if only for the inexcusably prejudicial timing of the purchase. It also quaintly reminded of that time in the leadup to the 2008 election, when Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, the renowned agricultural expert and NPP’s party stalwart, put a house that he owned somewhere in Accra up for the use of the party with the unspoken but quite obvious hope of using such “kindly gesture” to clinch the presidential nomination of the party for the afore-referenced year.

Still, it is perfectly legitimate and even legally “innocent.” Indeed, if anything at all, Mr. Blay ought to be heartily congratulated for putting his money where his mouth is, unlike his closest and most formidable rival, Mr. Stephen Ntim, who, running for the party’s National Chairmanship for the fourth time, brazenly attempted to hoodwink party delegates converging on the Eastern Regional Capital of Koforidua, from July 6 to 8, with the patently mischievous promise of making a life-insurance policy a professional guarantee for each and every party executive in the country.

Upon closer scrutiny, it becomes scandalously clear that Mr. Ntim actually wanted to baboon-use the party’s coffers as prime fodder to rascally advance his own selfish ambitions and that of his morbidly factional sponsors. It is also significant to recall the fact that in the leadup to the 2012 general election, then President John Dramani Mahama and his then running-mate, the recently deceased Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, greedily and recklessly dipped both hands into our National Treasury and, in effect, the Ghanaian taxpayer’s fiscal resources, and purchased fleets of buses and hundreds of thousands of laptop computers which they obscenely splurged to public schools, largely in the so-called Three Northern Regions and the Volta Region – the putative Electoral World Bank of the then-ruling National Democratic – to unabashedly influence the outcome of the 2012 general election. Back then, the joke went around that most of the schools afforded these laptops were not even wired up for Internet usage.

Then also, back then, as I vividly recall, absolutely no call went up for the Afari-Gyan-headed EC to sanction Messrs. Mahama and Amissah-Arthur, for instance, by having the duo summarily disqualified from Election 2012 and their names scratched off the ballot. What is more, just recently, in the wake of the dismissal of the Mahama-appointed Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, it has come to light that, indeed, not only did the leaders of the National Democratic Congress take undue advantage of the fiscal and material resources of the country, but that the leaders of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress had also attempted to criminally bribe some officials of the EC to ensure that the outcome of Election 2016 was equally criminally corrupted and illegally called in their favor.

Those of you who are regular readers of my columns are well aware of my great admiration and respect for Big Brother Sydney Casely-Hayford; but his rather curious and grossly misguided attempt to scapegoat Mr. Freddie Blay and some of the leaders of the ruling New Patriotic Party is definitely an exception to my unreserved admiration for the man. What is good for the goose, it has often been said, is also good for the gander. I also have unimpeachable inside information from Koforidua, indicating how the Ntim partisans and diehard sponsors luridly attempted to use GH?1,500 payolas, per head, to royally railroad Mr. Blay by attempting to turn at least half of the 6,000-plus delegates at the party’s congress against the former Acting National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party.

In other words, when the balance sheet of the sort of hardnosed political shenanigans and horse-trading that transpired at Koforidua’s Hotel EREDEC has been meticulously and objectively drawn, it becomes quizzically obvious that on the very adult terrain of democratic Ghanaian politics, there are absolutely no angels both within and without the country’s two major parties. My duty and objective here is not to judge, not by any stretch of the imagination. My objective here is only to let the eligible Ghanaian voter and citizen be the judge.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

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

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York