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Opinions of Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Columnist: Appiah, Kofi

Exit Barton Odro, Enter Gyambibi

The sudden announcement of Mr. Gyambibi to replace Hon. Ebo Barton Odro at the Attorney-General’s Department and Ministry of Justice as deputy minister was the startling news that must have stunned Ghanaians when they woke up one day recently. However, the absolute silence on the dismissal and/or hacking of Ebo Barton Odro, MP for Cape Coast and outgoing deputy minister of that outfit took the wind out of the sail. What however astonished many readers was the fact that the same government that appointed Mr. Gyambibi to this prestigious position in a whirlwind fashion, failed in its bid to tell the whole world as to how Ebo was sacked. Was it because of his involvement in the Woyome Gate Scandal or what? Do Ghanaians take it that Barton has been sacked completely from the system and why? All the same, Ghanaians deserve the right to know why and what precipitated his sudden exit from government. Ghanaians are really tired of that perennial silence. Even though the supposedly ‘chief hatchet man’ to do the government-backed or NDC-sponsored dirty incarceration of opponents to deny them chance(s) to campaign for their parties was yet to be vetted by the Appointments Committee of Parliament, the grape -vine information chanced upon by this junketing reporter corroborates that the government will use its majority in the House to ensure this new ‘operator for the gallows’ passed the vetting no matter the circumstances to become deputy to Dr. Kumbuor, the substantive sector minister.

SCHOOL OF THOUGHT

While one school of thought has the conviction that Barton was hacked by his employers because of incompetence and greed, another opines with argument that government intentionally did so to silence social commentators from continuing with the amplification and exaggeration of the infamous Woyome Scandal that has soiled his hands to discredit him. But, be as it may, whatever they do, this reckless drain ($400m) on our national economy has rocked the Mills-Mahama flagship of Ghana to become a topical issue. However, both captain and first officer can never ever extricate themselves from this blame game until the end of time. Again, if it has been disclosed that Mrs. Nerquaye Tetteh, wife of a former solicitor from the Attorney-General’s department who did not matter at all in the case, was paid a colossal sum of Gh?40,000.00 as Father Xmas bonus - (?400m), what do you think would be the ‘thank you’ money to Barton Odro who was a much higher authority than Nerquaye Tetteh? Adanko, the rabbit, would like to know the gargantuan sum of money that was paid to him or used to grease his palm. He cannot just be sacked without informing us about the reasons and causes that led to his sudden exit from the mainstream politics? How much was paid by Alfred the national celebrity as ex-gratia to Barton the national disgraced ‘politician’, who, positively and defiantly, was quoted as saying that the government did not have a case to be represented in the courts? For pretty six months or so, the presidents (Prof. Evans Mills and Mr. Dramani Mahama) of Ghana who continuously heaped many self-acclaimed accolades for scoring 80% mark in all spheres including general sanitation during the first 100 days in office; having ridden Accra of the mountains of filth; leader in first-class democratic governance in Africa, arrogantly and defiantly, maintained doubtful persons like Dr. Kwabena Dufuor and Ebo Barton Odro until recently that Ebo was given a technical knock-out. Did Betty resign honourably to save her reputation and integrity or was forced to swallow the bitter pill before resigning? Cheeky, isn’t it? The least said about the former sector minister, ‘How dare they’ Queen Betty Mould Iddrisu, the much better we would have our ears at peace.

POSITIVE DEFIANCE

The Mills-Mahama government claims much glories for not much work done (the luckiest since Nkrumah’s era with $16bn loans in their vaults with support from oil) but positively defied all decency to inform Ghanaians as to how their darling boy, Barton, was dismissed. Not only that, but also Dr. Dufuor, one of the principal architects and accomplices who, as a result of dereliction of duty and sheer irresponsibility, failed to stand his grounds, check with the presidency before and after the authorization of the gargantuan payment to lucky Woyome. The unique and unprecedented silence from the presidency about the prosecution of known persons whose names have been mentioned in this particular disgraceful scenario but were being propped up leaves much to be desired. Rather bizarrely, the government unashamedly has let loose the beneficiaries to freely walk about and given hot chase to opponents such as Hons. Yaw Osarfo Marfo, Osei Bonsu Amoah and others whose involvement did not cast any shadows at all nor contribute in any way whatsoever to the payment of the unjustifiable judgment debt of the century. In fact many brainy legal luminaries so far contacted thought Prez. Mills, a tax law expert, would have consulted friends for more hindsight on this subject to absolve himself from blame in future, but failed abysmally to do that even though he had enough time as apprentice under Mr. Rawlings to pass the litmus test and political mill to bake well for the job. But as one senior citizen remarked recently, his persistent obstinacy and perhaps, stubbornness (does he have any relationship with the Stubborn Cat of Ghana?) has rendered him a failure as politician whereas this bad imprint and political scar could have been avoided. However, if he were a good mixer and a listener he could have avoided this total disgrace because in the council of the multitude, there is always wisdom but this traditional wisdom normally obtained from the pipe-smoking elders was his strongest laxity. Probably, he thinks that as an astute tax law professor with oratorical skills, his performance was not at par with anybody in Ghana.

EXCEPTIONAL UNPRECEDENTED GLOBAL DISGRACE

Judgment debts payable to individuals or corporate bodies might be genuinely made by governments when legally justified by the judiciary to enforce its payment. Ghanaians were stunned with revelations from the Auditor-General’s Report of 2010 after the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament had disclosed that towards the middle of 2011. The Public Accounts Committee stunned the populace with a traumatic revelation of a loss of Gh¢51m. i.e. ¢51bn. old currency ($400m) that ought not to have been paid was paid. The government arrogantly and defiantly went ahead to make payment thinking that all Ghanaians could be hypnotized to believe their side of the story. Would you believe that their propagandists have gone round peddling false alarm and misinforming the rural folks that it was the Kufuor Administration that paid the money but they were chasing for re-payment. At long last Mr. Mills’ govern -ment had willfully caused financial loss to the State and as usual, their propaganda machinery did not rest but to counter the claim with lies and deceit to throw dust into the eyes of the public. In another breath, the bemused and astonished presidency, trying to play the ostrich, concocted stories that could not hold water with lame excuse that the president twice instructed the Finance Ministry headed by the ‘yoomo gbe Ga’ gentleman, not to pay but ignored this hypocritical directive and went ahead to pay. They defied the presidential directive because apart from the presidency, nobody in Ghana could raise a finger as to why they did that. So who actually rules Ghana? Who is that ‘Ghost’ President that overruled the presidential fiat and authorized payment to make nonsense of the earlier directive? Prof. Mills should know that for his instructions to be upturned and disobeyed has cast a big slur on his integrity and would dent his political career and image internationally. How would you put up defence before the world media gurus at say, the UN or the Common -wealth conferences? Shameful indictment on all Ghanaians isn’t it? The author does not want people to know that Dr. Kwabena Dufuor could be one of the few persons who wash their faces from the ‘chin to the forehead’ in the mornings but from the obstinate entrenched behavior taken by him to so insert ‘anticipated’ judgment debts against all odds in this year’s budget underscores the perfect assumption of this statement. Ghanaians, still mourning over their painful losses re the Woyome and Construction Pioneers’ reckless payments, did not matter to Kwabena the evergreen and shyless personality, yet cruelly went ahead with insertion of over Gh¢8,000.000 or ¢80bn. in the 2012 budget because they thought all Ghanaians were fools. Whether or not his colleague lady, Betty used voodoo on him, he should not have authorized payment.

ENTER GYAMBIBI

As part of grand design to whitewash the innocence of the Mills-Mahama government and to probably distract public attention from the Woyome Gate Scandal and prove to the international community that there was in fact no foul play, the NDC has quickly appointed a make-shift substitute, Mr. Gyambibi, to replace the deputy minister, Barton Odro, whose direct involvement in this fraud of the millennium cannot be absolved from blame. Mr. Gyambibi, whose appointment was yet to be vetted and confirmed by the Appointments Committee of Parliament, should by now be itching to see Parliament reconvened from recess so that his ‘brain washed ideas’ could come to fruition soon. And believe you me, as an African, trust me, those who opposed and challenged his age and thus disqualified him from pursuit of the lawsuit to put him to shame would obviously be the first he would avenge his anger. Since his initial commission to be the chief executioner from the A.G’s department to do the ugly job for government, he was bent on using the bulldozer to kill the housefly as prescribed by his paymasters instead of the sledge hammer and for that purpose, his prayer until he appeared before the committee would be to scathe through the vetting procedure so that he would sing his master’s voice to his pleasure. The fast manner with which he approached his business was testamentary enough that he wanted to play the hatchet man to ensure that those who opposed the government and posed as stumbling blocks would be prosecuted by the AG’s department. If he became the No.2 man he would ensure those found guilty would be put behind bars to deny them access to campaign again for their seats in Parliament. This author would like Mr. Gyambibi to know for sure that he has already kissed the canvas after being floored by Counsel for Ken Agyapong in a boxing ring, so if his initial intention was to retaliate and show his destroyers where power lies, then he should be laughing at the wrong side of his mouth. The earnest plea was to forget about the controversy surrounding the official or biological age and do genuine business to win international recognition, because, governments may come and go, his reputation should be of paramount importance to him. As a result of this disclosure, he shouldn’t get hoodwinked to do his worst to get detractors into jail. As a Christian, please refer to King Saul of Israel: when he failed to kill David as a harp player at his palace whenever the evil spirits dawned upon him; he devised another strategy by offering him his eldest daughter for marriage, but again, that attempt backfired because David wondered as to how he, a poor boy from nowhere, should become the king’s son-in-law, this also was flatly declined by humble David. Mr. Gyambibi, be mindful that if you had been brainwashed to bury the vociferous NPP members, your intentions, just as King Saul’s, would definitely come to naught. Someone who has been anointed should not be harmed. To conclude on this write up, the writer would like to sound a word of caution to minister-designate Gyambibi en francais ‘soyez sage’ for you’d be treading on dangerous grounds if there was a change of wind direction!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Perhaps, this particular paragraph might pose for a threatening probe by the hardworking minister of health. As usual, the writer is of the opinion that soon after this piece comes to public domain, Hon. Alban Sumaila Kingsford Bagbin would not be overtaken by events, but to ponder anew, and kick-start speedy action on this all-important issue and to effectively work to implement the necessary modalities to save the situation. This will also remedy the bad picture that it may have portrayed for the Mills-Mahama government beyond our borders despite the president’s Gospel according to the Better Ghana Agenda usually preached from the roof tops. The author wishes the sector minister for Health to sit up, have sober reflection and begin to work hard to salvage this by fast-tracking the deteriora- ting situation at the public hospitals and clinics in the country. It is hoped that you would not be taken aback but to strictly ensure that sanity prevailed. A casual visit to a relation on admission at the Tamakloe Ward (W.5) i.e. the extreme straight end ward on Sunday, April 29, 2012, (between 0600 – 0700 hours) revealed many setbacks there. Four out of the 7 in-patients whose names the author inquisitively found out were Elizabeth Acquah aged about 35 years, Cecilia Owusu, aged about 40 years, Adeline Aidoo also aged about 42 years and Hajia Hase whose age could be 50 years or more had similar confrontations. Please cross-check with the registry for authenticity of the names if in doubt.

SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT

To set the records straight without any unprecedented rebuttal and/or effrontery from Fiifi Kwetey/Okudzeto Ablakwa, as usual, Hon. Sumaila Bagbin should ponder anew and have sober reflection to scrutinize the subsequent revelations from the authorities and not treat it as hearsay. Some of the junior doctors at the 37 Military Hospital, Accra, might not feel safe to air their views like their civilian counterparts could easily do in public hospitals and clinics to win sympathy for industrial strike action. But as an anticipated possible breather, this article would relieve the pains and headache of some of the junior doctors who could otherwise have been used as scapegoats to face recriminations and reprisals or court-martial. The revelations were exactly and vividly what the junketing reporter personally saw and investigated from some of the in-patients on admission. Mr. Health Minister, if you do not know but care to know from the author, for some time now, all the in-patients at this international prestigious hospital were requested to provide the following medicaments and kits to be administered by the hospital staff doing their rounds as long as one remained there – common adhesive plaster to dress wounds and for canula purposes or simply put, to paste onto the inserted syringe on the human body during intravenous infusions; ordinary cotton wool, inexpensive bandage to be used as sling, simple detergent such as dettol to control and suppress germicides and finally, nylon gloves for use by the staff to administer on patients to prevent contamination of infectious diseases. Is this the latest unprecedented development taking place in our public medical establishments, one would dare ask? Mr. Minister, the onus is on you to act now. A relative of Hajia Hase, who pleaded for anonymity, disclosed that because none of her relatives provided a pack of gloves on time, her appointment for surgery was postponed. Why can’t the Ministry of Health purchase these simple and ordinary medical tools for use and surcharge them? Sad isn’t it? Whither are we drifting, Mother Ghana? A nation that constantly professes to be on the right tartan track for the Better Ghana Agenda was still in the abyss. Is this not highly disgraceful for a Nation that prides itself as the Gateway to Africa? Hmm! Despite our daily songs and choruses as beacon of hope in Africa our leaders have guts to dissolve public boards and corporations in one day to put our constitutional framework into disarray. This primitive action nonetheless prevents foreigners from coming home to invest and create jobs. Is this the destiny of a Nation Ghana that has, for half a century, taken pride for being the first country south of the Sahara to gain political independence? Could these lapses be attributed to the loss of revenue to Mother Ghana’s economy of the gargantuan Woyome Scandal of the Millennium and the reckless payment of Construction Pioneers (CP’s) Father Xmas bonus? Could it be a curse from God because our leaders continuously engage in political sermons and blasphemy as Prince of Peace and as the first ever country in the sub-region to be accosted the ‘Numero Un’ title in democratic practice and yet, electoral voter registration exercise claims lives, maims others, and some citizens banished from their native homelands. The lucky ones, who nearly were disenfranchised by a candidate’s hired thugs, were asked to rattle a particular Ghanaian dialect proficiently before being accepted as true citizens to register. And the embattled political authorities with the connivance of the partisan police in ‘political’ handcuffs at the back look on unconcerned nationwide as if nothing was at stake at all. Stupid, isn’t it? If indeed, the pilot programme for Capitation Grant started in Ashanti Region by the Sallas Mensah’s NHIS was aimed at exterminating them and help perpetuate the Ewe hegemony in Ghana, so be it. Posterity will be the best judge.

By: kofiappiah2002@yahoo.com