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Opinions of Thursday, 22 October 2009

Columnist: Apaak, Clement

Mills Will Ensure Public Accountability Beyond M&J and Vodafone

By Dr. C. Apaak, Quest University, Canada

Given all that our nation faces today, including the fallout related to the M&J verdict and the report on the manner in which GT was sold by the NPP government to Vodafone last year, I am glad our leader is President John Evans Atta Mills. While some have vowed to oppose and insult our President at every opportunity, either to promote themselves as aggrandizers or in their refusal to accept the fact that he won the election fairly because the people wanted a new direction, others, including me, see the value of having him as our President in this critical stage of our national history. His personal attribute of humility and his ability to give up his own interest to enhance the progress of our democratic system is amply reflected in his refusal to challenge election results in the past, even when he was pressured to do so. I will only sample a few of his key attributes and qualities justifying my statement that he is the best person to lead our nation due to limitations of time and space. Overall, the manner in which President Mills has conducted the affairs of our nation is exactly the reason why he is the best person to lead. His level of commitment to our nation and to the African continent requires him to give nothing but the best leadership as history will judge. Even when he lost elections, he never put aside his vision and hope for a better Ghana. It is for this reason that it is pure folly and ignorant for anyone to think that he will not do what he has said he will. How can anyone question his sincerity and dedication to Ghana, a nation he tried for a third time before gaining the high office of its Presidency to solely implement his vision of a better Ghana?

Many have no idea that while lecturing at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada, he participated in various conferences and events, including the national conference arranged by the government of Canada under Prime Minister Jean Chretien to solicit ideas on the role of G8 nations in enhancing development in Africa. It was based on input from Africans; including President Mills, that NEPAD came to be. He even took time to visit and discuss with other academics and university leaders how partnerships could be fostered to facilitate education in Ghana. The interesting thing is that many of those who like to take cheap shots at the president, some of them aspiring to hold the high office, would have done the opposite or would have been busy making money. President Mills did not have to do what he did, but he cared about Ghana and his continent, and as he never flinched in his commitment when he was not in power, so too will he not today. Our President is a true social democrat, and understands the value of a social democratic system in fostering socio-economic and political growth. Indeed, this is the only way for the equitable development of Ghana. As the name makes clear, the NDC is a social democratic party, working towards a mixed economy combined with a comprehensive welfare state. Social democrats aim to reform capitalism democratically through state regulation and the creation of programs that work to counteract or remove the social injustice and inefficiencies inherent in capitalism. In layman’s terms, this system promotes business and economic growth but keeps the state as the key facilitator.

As a social democratic President leading a social democratic government, President Mills and the NDC aim to implement progressive social policies to ensure equal opportunities to all Ghanaians, offering much needed assistance to the less fortune to become positive contributors to society. The benefit of this approach is clear, for it was the social democratic system that lessened the degree of suffering in Canada compared to the USA when the global economy was in a crisis. Both the IMF and World Bank have projected that Canada, the only G8 nation that enjoyed sustained economic growth before the economic decline, the least affected by it, will also be the first to fully recover. Even NPP supporters in Canada can not deny these facts; neither can the current Prime Minister of Canada, Steven Harper, ironically a Conservative benefiting greatly from a well established social democratic system.

We are lucky to have Professor Mills as our President because in addition to being a progressive, working for true national development, he has the ability to think critically, analyze, and then act, a much needed attribute in a young democracy. Our President as a law scholar also understands the rule of law and the separation of the various arms of government, a reason why he is allowing the courts to make a determination as to whether there were constitutional violations regarding the sale of Ghana Telecom (GT) to Vodafone. Indeed, the way the President has handled the M&J issue and the more recent revelations on the sale of GT for less than it was worth is in his nature; prudent and judicious, with the best interest of Ghana in the long run in mind. He is not just interested in the now, he is also interested in the long term; how and what needs to be done to prevent these acts in the future and how a positive transformational national attitude beneficial to our nation can come out of this, be nurtured and fostered for the generations that will follow.

President Mills, true to his word, is proving directly to the people of Ghana that he will keep his campaign promises, including on corruption, duly noted in the NDC manifesto "An NDC government will not make excuses for corrupt ministers, officials and office holders generally and shall promptly investigate allegations of corruption and allow the law to take its course". Those who refuse to see the demonstrable fact that the President intends to uphold his commitment to ensure public accountability must be reminded that in the wake of the Mabey and Johnson (M&J) verdict in the UK, the President indicated that action will be taken. Since then he has assigned the Attorney General to look deeper into the issue and to report back to him. In addition, those implicated have stepped aside to allow the business of the people to continue. Is this not a man of his word?

Let no one take the calm and measured nature of the President for a weakness; have no doubt about the resolve of the President as he has promised. He will get to the bottom of the M&J issue and be rest assured that the full value of GT will be realized. Be informed yee looters, if you have looted the public purse, and have profited at the expense of the people you will pay back the loot. Equally, all acts of national sabotage, including the fact that Ghana got less than $267m, far less than the $900m (£570m) Vodafone is said to have paid on paper, will be fully investigated and those responsible held accountable according to the law. To those who say the M&J case and the circumstances surrounding the sale of Vodafone are test cases for the President, I assure you that he will pass both and will exceed the expectations of the people of Ghana, a reason why he will be given another four years in 2012. Will he do it your way, no, will he get things done, yes.

Like most commentators who care about the national interest and the future of our democratic system, the President is not unaware of the fact that the current national debate and the public sentiment is a great opportunity for transformation and for our nation to take a giant step forward in the fight against bribery and corruption. I have faith and full confidence in our President because I know he has the right combination of intellectual rigor, respect, calmness, reassuring leadership, and a vision to lead our nation to the next stage of its socio-political and economic development. So, to those who dream of a better Ghana, wake up, for you no longer have an excuse to be passive, get engaged and participate in the effort for a better Ghana. Rather that wasting time plotting to obstruct progress, let us join the President in his effort to bring about the change the people elected him to usher in. So far, Ghana is wining and Ghana will be the victor under President Mills.

Dr. Clement Apaak (PhD)

caapaak@yahoo.ca

Producer and Host, African Connection 90.1FM (www.cjsf.ca)