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Opinions of Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Columnist: Abdul-Rahman

Irony of Kuffour's Five Years in Office ....

.... and The Litany of Failures- Part I

Assessing the five years of New Patriotic party rule under President Kuffour is so far nothing but a litany of political and economic failures. Failures that if care is not taken President Kuffour will go in the Ghanaian political history as the most fortunate, yet among the botton of failed government Ghana ever experience. Fortunate because the NPP came into office with an unprecedent amount of goodwill from all sections of society. At the time Kuffour assumed office in 2001, his government has very few if any enermies.

From democratic development to economic development, the Kuffour led government has nothing concrete to show Ghanaians. In order to support this thesis or claim, this writer will assess the Kuffour government on its own declaration in 2001 when the mantle of political power shifted to the NPP. Two central themes defined Kuffour's 2001 inaugural speach at the Independent Spuare in Accra. His declaration of Zero Tolerance for Corruption and his call for a Goldern Age of Business. This two central tenets put togathers constitute Kuffour's concerpt of Positive Change. A change that even among NPP skeptics raises some form optimism. Given that for almost 20 years Ghana had not tasted a change of regime.

Zero Tolerance for Corruption: An NPP Political Gimmick.

The concept of Zero Tolerance for Corruption is one of the concepts that President Kuffour will be well remember for by many followers of Ghanaian politic. The concept was part of what this write refers to as part of the January 7, 2001 declaration in which President Kuffour made his first public interaction with Ghanaians as President. In that inaugural addrees Mr Kuffour assured Ghanaians that his government will have no room for corruption. In the aftermouth of the declaration the Kuffour led government instituted investigations against some members of the NDC government and ensured that those members were sentensed to various prison terms for what came to be known in Ghanaian political discourse as "causing financial loss to the state". It is important to note that apart from the late Victor Solomey, non of the accused NDC members were jailed because they personally deep their hands into state coffers or used state resourses for their personal gains. Causing financial loss to state simply means that in the cause of exercising your duty as minister of state moneys or resources were lost to the country, and as the minister responsible, you are personally liable for such losses. It was what sent Kwame Peprah, Alhaji Ibrahim Adam, and it is wat Mr Tsitaka has been battling in court with government since it assumption of office. Another example of Kuffour zeal to implement this concept of "zero tolerance for corruption" is the Mallam Issa case. Mallam lost his post as the minister for youth and sports and was subseqently charged and found guilty for stealing $43,000 ment for national soccer team.

Suffice it to say that non of this convicted persons served their full sentence in jail. Some where along the line the President decided to use his powers under the constitution to grant immunity to this persons. This writer personally commend this action. This is not because he has gone a good job causing the release of these persons, but because at least Mr. Kuffour himself has come to the realization that if his own ministers, including himself were subjected to same test for which Kwame Peprah, Victor Solomey, Ibrahim Adam, and Mallam Issa were subjected non of them will emerge successful. They will all face the same fate as those former officials. This writer did not purport this article to discuss what most followers of Ghanaian politics already know.. But it is important for the purpose of this piece to recap some of the damming charges of corruption made against the NPP government, it president, and most senior government and party officials, all of which fell in the deaf ears of President Kuffour, his office of accountability, and his concerpt of zero tolerance for corruption. Some of those charges are so irrefuttable that the President his party had to convey an emergency meeting to discuss how best to make damage control .

The first case in point was the corrupt and fraudent charges made against Mr Bamba, a former deputy minister of state in charge of the Presidency. Mr Bamba was alleged to have connived with one Mr. Akuffo to seal and use the President letter heads including forging the signatures of his fellow ministers to write letters for the purpose of fraudently obtaining loans from banks. He was also accused of using the office of the President to illigally awared state auction facilities to unqualified and unlicense auctioneers for the purposes of salling state resources. When the attention of the President was drawn to this maleficence happening under his very nose, the President forced Bamba to resign and also promise to institute a criminal investigation into matter. Sufficient time has passed since the Bamba case became public, and we are yet to read or hear the result of such investigation, if indeed there was one. The reason we did not hear anything about this case is simple, Mr Bamba had threaten that hell will break lose if any attempt was made to face him to the law. He threaten to expose all that was hidden from public by this government. Face with these threats and in order contain the situation, the President and his party had no option but to leave Bamba alone. Bamba is now a free man, I heard he is contesting for party office. Unfortunately for the NPP, and very fortunate for Ghanaians the President's party chairman let the cat loose. What Bamba was threating to do was completed by Mr. Haruna Esseku's revealation that the Presidency was involved to receiving kick backs from the award of Government contracts.

The second NPP scam involves Dr Richard Anane, a long time friend and family of the President. Dr Richard Anane dated and impregnated a woman who visited Ghana to conduct business with the state. On the face of it, this is an extream act of conflict of interest which every sane government would have terminated his appointment. As if that is not enough, he allegedly syphoned resources from the office of the alreading dying national airlines (Ghana airways) to pay for child support in the United States. When Dr Anane was re-appointed to his current post, the government used their majority in parliament to bullduze him through the vetting process. The President himself is not immuned from ethnical misconduct.

His relationship with the so-called Iraq borned American economic advisor is nothing less than misconduct and goes to prove that the President has no moral authority to question the misconduct of his officials. All this while the President's explanation was that there was no evidence against any member of his government. He has failed to rationed that every accusation his government levelled against past ministers emanated from same the sources that he is discrediting-the media.

The more damming and annoying aspect of the NPP government's moral bankruptcy is the recent revealation made by their party chairman and the arrest of the NPP member of parliament in the United States for smuggling $6 million worth of heroine. When the news of the arresed MP broke out, NPP and several of its spin doctors were quick to disassociate them from the MP, they claim that it is the action of one man and the party should not be judged. However, before then there were news stories that the Narcotic Control Board in Ghana bastered some NPP women for trying to smuggle drug out of the country. Senior members of the NPP used their influence to have case shelved in the old files of Ghana Police. If officials in government could use their office to kill a case involving ordinary women in the party for attempting to smuggle drugs, one wonders what they would have done if the MP was arrested in Ghana. In any case what assistance did the MP receive from the country's ports. Also, what about the financial contributions the MP made to the NPP.

Mr. Haruna Esseku's revelations points to fact that Kuffour's proclainations of a Zero Tolerance for corruption in his government is a mere political gimmik. It also goes to explain how deep corruption has eaten in to the NPP government and its party structures. The fortunate aspect of this is that the allegation is coming from the horses own mouth. Fellow readers could you imagine what would happened if the Chair person of the GOP in the United States accuses the U.S. President of receiving kick backs from contractors on the award of government contract.

The President would either resign or face his ultimate impeachment. Unfornately in our kind of politics there will be those who would sit in radio stations and try to defend the indefensible or excuss the unexussable. Journalist like Kwaku Baaku and Garby need to put the interest of Ghana first before their own parochial interest. This writer thinks that the recent cobwebs coming from the draws of the NPP all boils down to one simple question.- Are we building a democracy or a banana republic? It is my opinion that the NPP government is reducing Ghana into a banana republic where nothing matters and the quest for political power is place as the ultimate premium. Politcs to the NPP government and it cohorts is a zero-sum game or the winner takes all kind of game, and like a banana republic, everything including honesty, accountabilitiy, and ethnics, ingrediance that are essential to democracy could be scrificed for the purposes of attaining political power sealing from the public purse. To them politics is not about publics service but a conduit through which resources of states is illigally distributed to cronies and patrons

Fellow readers, the spining has already began on the Esseku issue. Government spoke persons and spin doctors have already started that game. But unfortunately, they are not even virtues when it comes to the act of spining. All their attempts to spin this issue away is mered by contractions and counter condictions. The contractions started from Mr Esseku himself, on one hand he claims he never went to Castle for money, on the other he went to Castle to collect party contributions. Then comes Kwabina Agyapong, who claims that Castle nevers receives party contributions which was also contradited by the Minister of Information who said that the President is the chief fundraiser of the party. Who is telling us the truth? Is it Esseku the flip- floper or the Minister or Presidential spokesman? Having realised that they are all lying to Ghanaians, their new game is that Journalist and Radio presenters who simply seek to probe and bring out the truth have a hidden agenda. Conversely, they are those with serious hidden agandum. Their Government is that of concealment and not of disclosure. Like a fish, the NPP government is rotten from the head to the tail. It is a government that lack the moral authority to govern. I therefore urge the opposition in parliament to move very quickly and impeach this government in order to end it misery.

This writer intends to end this piece here and address the other thesis of this piece in my coming versions.

Welland, Ontario

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.