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Opinions of Friday, 10 February 2017

Columnist: Aidoo, Daniel Ato

Ghana’s presidency has been magnanimous

By Dr. Daniel Ato Aidoo

The functional framework for building any society is how complex issues are solved to promote solidarity, interdependence, tolerance, and peace, so that a system of harmony is developed to maintain a balance of stability and social equilibrium.

Under Ghana’s Fourth Republic, change of government from one political party to the other had been characterised by some form of police-state arrogance, and partisan abuse of law enforcement agencies as the machinations continue under a masquerading political hygiene.

The sordid exhibition of control post-elections 2008 was one of cynical manipulation of our peaceful political environment, which was replaced as it were, with lawlessness, intimidation, insults, and the suppression of opposing views. Unauthorized raids by surrogates of the former government targeted political opponents with the view to silencing them. These effective but wrong government instruments of disruption and intimidation helped to define a new discourse, and the idea was to prevent and reduce effects of the public discussion process. It did not work.

The problem of “dark money” was also prevalent, and it was not a surprise to see people who were supposed to play advocacy roles join the bandwagon of political expediency within an agenda of falsehood, gagging, and vengeance toward private citizens and religious leaders. Ghana was sitting a time bomb. In the midst of these engagements, the construction of political patronage and corruption was carefully pursued.

Stories trickling in are that the new government of Ghana is finding it difficult to trace cars belonging to the presidential fleet. These cars are missing as confirmed by the transport officer attached to the seat of the Presidency, but no arrests have been made. This shows, without a doubt, that the Akufo-Addo Presidency, which the opposition political party labelled to become the worse if it assumes power, has been very civil and lawful in handling mass perpetration of fraud by the previous government.

Ghana’s Presidential fleet is missing 208 cars, which includes 122 Toyota Land cruisers, 43 Prado Land cruisers, and 13 Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, according to the President’s spokesperson. It is, therefore, important that the task force set up to investigate this matter acts swiftly and within lawful means to set a functional tone to the Akufo-Addo Presidency. Perpetrators of this alleged crime, if found culpable, must be punished in line with the guiding benchmarks on proper management of state properties.

In all these, it is evident that for just over a month that the new government of Ghana had been in power, the maintenance of public trust, an indispensable ingredient in the effective governance model of improving the life of our people, the foundations of responsible oversight, accountability, and the judicious use of state resources have been lifted within a fancied democratic culture. Change breaks past inertial and disguised vigilance.

Inevitably, there is an indication, that the charitable relationship between in-coming and out-going governments, if it existed, is now giving way to new compliance that is reassuring and capable of inducing effective governance and oversight responsibilities. This can effectively dislodge or reduce excessive executive compensation.

In Ghana’s new President, expect new functional governance principles, not because they fit his persona, but it has been his cherished dream to nurture a responsive and responsible government through transparency and efficiency. Comparatively, this new government in Ghana has been circumspect in dealing with wrongness of the past egregiously, as it focuses on assembling a team that will bring hope to our people and transform the economy.

The democratic and responsible production of a leader is just one arm of the solution, and it is imperative that we give the new government time to give expression to a mandate democratically procured in the interest our people devoid of intimidation and vindictiveness, a standard captured in the past.

The way forward lies in this common sense approach to governance.

Source: Aidoo, former assistant, Features Desk, Daily Graphic, is also the Board Chairman, Kra Global Footprints, policy and research think-tank.