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Opinions of Wednesday, 11 July 2018

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

House of Chiefs is not CID Headquarters

Freddie Blay  Joy News Mr Freddie Blay

Calls for the investigation of the ways and means by which the newly elected National Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) acquired some 275 minibuses for all the constituencies of the party around the country are in order, except that I sincerely believe that Togbe Afede, XIV, the President of the National House of Chiefs, has no legitimate business dragging that august House of legitimately invested major Ghanaian chiefs into the fray (See “Togbe Afede Slams Freddie Blay Over 275 Buses Controversy” CitiNewsRoom.com / Ghanaweb.com 7/9/18).

You would think that Mr. Blay were Mr. Alfred AgbesiWoyome. What abject hypocrisy! The fact of the matter is that the former rump-Convention People’s Party leader has made absolutely no secret about his source of funding for the purchase of these buses. TogbeAfede’s one problem seems to the question of how Mr. Blay came up with the down payment of $3 million.

We must also note that the Paramount Chief of the Ho-Asogli Traditional Area is a major shareholder of Ghana’s putative Premier Club, Accra Hearts of Oak, if memory serves me accurately. In demanding a probe into Mr. Blay’s funding source for the purchasing of the minibuses, TogbeAfede refreshingly predicates his call on the fact that in the past when the then-ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) was widely reported to have acquired a multimillion-dollar edifice as its headquarters, he, himself, and most of his fellow chieftains, I presume, kept deafeningly mum on the subject. This time around, though, TogbeAfede says that the members of the House of Chiefs are not going to peacock it as if serious matters bordering on official corruption were either above their scrutiny or simply did not concern them. He did not specifically mention the name of the present main opposition National Democratic Congress in regard to the shady acquisition of the multimillion-dollar party headquarters; but we all know perfectly well what the reference by the Yale University-educated Business Administration expert was meant to obliquely underscore.

We also know that TogbeAfede is ideologically affiliated with the Rawlings-founded National Democratic Congress and was a leading member of the NDC’s Transitional Team that supervised the handover of power from the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party to the Mills-Mahama-led National Democratic Congress and may very well be a major financier of the latter party as well. And so he is not totally without any vested interest in this matter. Which may also partly explain his apocalyptic and outrageous failure to also call for a retroactive investigation into just how the Mills-Mahama-led National Democratic Congress came to own the multimillion-dollar party headquarters edifice.

Significantly, TogbeAfede is also not calling for the questionable dozens of SUVs which then-President John Dramani Mahama donated to some members of the National House of Chiefs, if memory serves yours truly accurately, in the leadup to the 2012 Presidential Election, which caused the late Mr. Jake OtankaObetsebi-Lamptey, the then National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, to wonder out loud and publicly whether these “gifts” were not obviously meant to buy the votes of these major traditional rulers and their subjects, thereby unduly and even illegally influence the outcome of Election 2012.

In essence, what I am highlighting here is the fact that in terms of practice, Mr. Freddy Blay may only be following a long-established precedent or tradition, however unethical this may seem to some cynical and pathologically self-interested observers. I personally find the call by TogbeAfede to be inexcusably hypocritical, in spite of the fact that he is also quick to point out that he heartily welcomes the widely reported decision by Mr. Martin Amidu, the Special Independent Public Prosecutor, to look into the same. Maybe somebody ought to tell the co-founder of Databank Ghana Limited that he, himself, has a bounden obligation to come squeaky clean in the matter of the seismic scandal that recently rocked the Ghana Football Association (GFA), swiftly and directly culminating in the resignation of Mr. Kwasi Nyantakyi, the longest-serving administrator of that most powerful nongovernmental establishment.

I have already written extensively and remarked adequately on the inescapably laudable decision by Mr. Blay to create jobs and put money into both the pockets of hitherto unemployed or woefully underemployed ordinary Ghanaian citizens, as well into the coffers of the New Patriotic Party and do not intend to rehash the same here. In the past, I have personally and passionately called for NPP leaders to find creative ways of creating jobs for the people, especially economically deprived party members, supporters and sympathizers. I have, for instance, adumbrated on the need for the party to get actively involved in entrepreneurship in the areas of hospitality management, such as the ownership of hotels and restaurants, and all the various aspects of agriculture. I have also counseled the party’s leadership to help the NPP own media establishments, and not be at the beck or whim of private media owners who are members of the party.

So for me, the decision by Mr. Blay to acquire those commercial buses for the NPP is all in keeping with something that I sincerely believe in and have been studiously promoting for as long as I can remember. My only difference with the newly elected National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party purely has to do with his decision to operationally affiliate these buses with the State Transport Corporation. That is a big “No!No!” for me. These buses have to be either privately operated or operated as part of the corporate interests of the New Patriotic Party, else any change in government could very well see the fortunes of the party, literally, go bust.

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