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Opinions of Friday, 29 May 2009

Columnist: Akyena, Brantuo Benjamin

...Mills Also Promised To Jail Former Government Functionaries

Who Have ‘EATEN’ Ghana Money.

That the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government won the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Ghana base on its Better Ghana manifesto, which the masses thought, provided a better alternative to the dehumanising conditions they countenanced for the last eight years of the Property owning democracy of Mr John Kuffour and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is indubitable.

The NDC’s promise of a better Ghana; investing in People, Jobs, Economy, and their campaign mantra of CHANGE, provided the needed stimulus for the Ghanaian electorate to reject the government of the NPP, who were busily supervising an unprecedented mass unemployment and high cost of living and doing business.

To call a spade by its name, it will be impossible to explain the demise of the NPP government in the last elections outside indicators such as, the pervasiveness of violent crime, drug peddling and trade, official corruption, misplaced priority of government, nepotism, the collapse of state institution and the lack of clear policy direction for the ‘Next Generation’. Such was the extent of hopelessness when Ghanaians went to the polls in 2008.

Hence, any call on the government to measure up to its campaign promise of a better Ghana, is morally legitimate.

The opposition NPP has been the loudest in the calls for the NDC government to fix the ravaged Ghanaian economy, though some of us wonder how anybody expects Ghana to become like heaven in less than six months into the administration of the NDC, given the quantum of economic mess the exiting administration bequeathed to the present leadership.

Interestingly, what is perhaps strikingly odd about the incessant calls for the president to make good on his campaign pledges, is the conspicuous exclusion of aspects of the campaign manifesto, which talked about fighting corruption.

Moving forward, the NDC minced no words at all when it threatened in its electioneering campaign to make corruption a high-risk activity by demanding greater responsibility from public officials as a positive signal to demand same from the ordinary man in the streets.

But strangely, the NPP, a party which trumpet’s its democratic credentials and innate trait of rule of law on the roof-tops, is not interested in holding the president to account to make good his campaign promise of jailing state functionaries who have ‘eaten’ Ghana money or through whose actions the state has lost money, ‘...causing financial lost to the state’.

In fact, what the NPP has done is to label any attempt to prosecute its functionaries as a witch-hunt and further serve notice that such actions will be met with force and equal resistance. Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, a former Deputy Minister of Local Government of the NPP regime, commenting on media reports on possible impending prosecutions, actually went to ‘town’ by calling the bluff of the National Security Coordinator to dare touch him or any of his colleagues for prosecution.

To this end, calls by the NPP for the NDC to implement its campaign promises are embedded with contradiction and hypocrisy. Resisting the fight against official corruption with one hand and with the other demanding economic prosperity (thus, assuming the NPP sincerely wants the President Mills led government of the NDC to succeed in its campaign for economic prosperity since that will be a situation, which is bound to consign them to perpetual opposition).

Thankfully, we take solace in the fact that the determination of whether the public sector must be sanitised of corruption or not, is neither the decision for the NDC government nor the NPP minority to make.

Agreeably, this is the sole prerogative of the Ghanaian people, whose young men and women are the worse victims of the suffocating and dehydrated Ghanaian economy, which is largely because of the insensitivity of the plundering political elites. Yes, this is a decision for the Ghanaian people to make whom because of illiteracy or the lack of clear choices and opportunities to productively engage their human resources have resorted to internet fraud (sakawa), drugs, prostitution, ritual murder and idleness. Sometimes one cannot help but be emotional when one looks at the many people wasting away in the streets and the few graduates walking from one office to the other in search of none existence jobs. As for the conditions under which Ghanaian workers are engaged, the least said about them, the better.

I wish to submit at this moment, that the people of Ghana have spoken on the question of corruption. This was manifested in the rejection of NPP and its programme of fighting corruption, zero tolerance of corruption, in the last elections and installing in their stead the NDC, who have promised to take the fight against corruption from the stage of rhetoric to implementation. The government must not ‘fear nor tremble for’ the people of Ghana are solidly behind it. Blackmail and taunts of witch-hunt must be ignored. Indeed if there are witches, they must be hunted (http://www.modernghana.com/news/198503/1/if-there-are-witches-they-must-be-hunted.html)

The Mills government must act now. The thieves MUST BE JAILED.

It must be noted with interest, that the cost of inaction on the part of persons vested with authority has often proven too grave and history is replete with so many examples. The widening gap between the working class and the looting brigade, atleast for the last eight years in our country’s history, is as frightening as it provides the recipe for a national revolution. The current austere economic environment, walking the face of Ghana, is so incompatible with the display of ill-gotten material wealth by former officials.

I note with disdained the attitude of the former speaker of parliament-Mr Sekye Hughes, who upon exiting office stripped bare his official residence of all fittings (both soft and hard) to the tune of.GHC1.6m(Daily Graphic of Thursday May 14th 2009).

Disgracefully this so called honourable speaker is also entitled to cars and Millions of cedis under the Chenery Hassey Committee for End of Service Benefits.

Again reports that former ministers of state acquired their official residence, vehicles and allocated government lands to themselves at ridiculous prices is as frightened as Macbeth before the ghost of Banquo.

Furthermore, questions surrounding why we spent ¢60,172,251.8400 to celebrate 50th anniversary and used ¢19,691,245,200 of that to construct toilets which we cannot see any physical manifestations of, in a poverty-stricken country as ours, will simply not go away. Posterity will not forgive us. (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=157298&comment=4476479#com)

As if that is not enough, recent media reports have it that Ghanaian students studying abroad face possible deportation for fees, which owe for years. That notwithstanding, Ghana is constructing a presidential palace, which cost over $140million.

In addition, we are yet to hear anything about what has become of the report of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament whose findings exposed an unimaginable fraud perpetuated by officials working under the Kuffour government.

I even thought that the law on causing financial lost to the state have been obliterated from the statute books. All the Presidential Special Initiatives (PSI) have collapsed despite the millions of taxpayer’s money that was pumped in those projects yet we have not seen a single arrest.

In conclusion, I rise to associate with the calls by the masses of our people, which was re-echoed by the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) and the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) for the NDC government led by Prof John Evans Atta Mills ‘to crack the dam whip’. The house cleaning exercise must begin. The patience of the Ghanaians is being tested beyond its limits and the consequences can only be a National Revolution.

It is my considered opinion that the principle base on which people like Mr Tsatsu Tsekata, Mrs Rawlings, Victor Selomey, and Kwame Pepra etc were publicly shamed and ridiculed based on various charges of corruption, is still valid today, unless those prosecutions were based on other undeclared motives other than fighting corruption.

AKYENA BRANTUO BENJAMIN

Executive Director –Next Generation Youth League (NGYL) International

Former President Commonwealth Hall Junior Common Room (JCR), University of Ghana, legon

Chairman Islamic Education Project-2009 National Service

benakyena@yahoo.com

www.nextgenerationyouthleague.blogspot.com