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Opinions of Thursday, 26 November 2020

Columnist: Fiawoyife Asiwome

From Special Prosecutor to Special Persecution

Martin Amidu has resigned as Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has resigned as Special Prosecutor

Ghanaians were barely absorbing the shocks of losing former President John Jerry Rawlings when news hit town yesterday evening that Mr Martin Alamisi Amidu, the Special Prosecutor, has resigned from his position.

The immediate impact of the news was to quickly sweep aside the unnecessary and obscene political fracas that was fast obscuring the final rites of the former President.

Typical of the Ghanaians, we reacted in diverse ways. The political strikers were shooting sharp to score hat tricks, while the political defenders were bending their backs to defend the goals! Some were shocked, others claimed they saw it coming, Manasseh Azure Awuni actually (prophesied?) soliloquised earlier in the morning why the citizen vigilante was so “unvigilant” over his welfare and reputation in that office. Well, Mr Amidu resigned.

To NPP’s loss? NDC’s gain? Amidu’s loss or gain? Or our loss? Or perhaps our gain?

The nomination and later appointment of the Special Prosecutor was received with wide acclaim worldwide. It was an emphatic signal towards our fight against corruption that has milked an otherwise affluent nation bone dry! The largest applause went to the sitting President and the ruling party. The expectation of rational (even irrational) Ghanaians was that a Messiah has come to the rescue! The posturing of Amidu even against his own political party gave a reason to hope for the best in the fight against corruption.

However, some of us, which rather absurdly, unfortunately, includes Amidu himself, began to observe that the whole funfair surrounding the creation of the office, nomination and later appointment remained nothing beyond the description: funfair! The fun of hoodwinking the masses with a fine label on a hollow container began when there were reports that the office of the prosecutor existed only on documents and not in any structure hence Amidu was working from a bedroom facility.

We were to quickly organize a quick fix and window dress the situation with accustomed alacrity. The fun continued with Amidu’s epistles of lamentation that even the prophet Jeremiah would envy! How we stifled his work by denying him funds, how our state institutions, those responsible for investigation and prosecution, failed to cooperate with him, how our government appointees were beginning to undermine him……..pure threats on his person and finally the exit of former President John Jerry Rawlings, who Amidu alluded to as the last of his protective layers!

Predictably, this situation has given the NPP a campaign headache and the NDC a campaign missile! Of course, that’s always the end of every matter in this country! A gain for a party and a loss for the other! Both parties have known all along this is a mere charade and have been waiting with their defensive and offensive weapons that they have started unleashing on each other while the ordinary person, the real victim stays trodden black!

That is so easy for the politicians to do because we gave them the status of Ananse (probably In the Land of Idiots) as we look on sheepishly. How can a country of more than 30 million people then have just A Citizen Vigilante and expect to win a battle against more than 10 million corruption inclined citizens and more than 10 million disinterested citizens? Who were we fooling but ourselves when we went to town in celebration of the appointment of Mr Amidu?

Can we feign ignorance that half the populace wish he succeeded as fiercely the other half wish he failed? Voices that trumpeted anti-corruption notes suddenly went to the cemetery! The opposition was leaving no stone on stone to foil any attempt to nail any of their own while the government was playing, or as Amidu wanted us to see, attempting to play the puppet master! Amidu says he quit because he couldn’t get protection from the government and was held hostage by same for trying to do what he believed same government hired him to do but wanted it done not in the way ought to but in a way beneficial to party and not the state.

Could Amidu have braved the odds by initiating prosecution against those found culpable in the Agyapa deal he claims is a huge factor in his exit? Would he have earned his reputation back that way? Was it even necessary for him to involve government, presidency, so deeply in his affairs as he has done? The citizen vigilante image of Amidu could give us reason to answer the above in affirmative. But we could equally question that same image in the light of the choice he made yesterday.

What was that Yorkegari style in the report for? Agyapabus!. By that invention, the truth about the airbus scandal is more mirky now. Well, the Special Prosecutor says he was being given Special Persecution by the Special People who appointed him to the Special Position. He’s gone and we all lost! Predictably! Can we now accept that fighting corruption is beyond mere rhetorics? Beyond a one-man vigilante? Beyond political gimmicking? Beyond obscene political extremism? Beyond NDC/NPP?