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Opinions of Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

NDC, Corruption: Two Sides of the Same Coin - Katakyie

The recent daylight robbery of the state by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) through Alfred Agbesi Woyome has shaken the democratic foundation of our dear country, and had this scenario happened in the late seventies, I believe the military would have taken advantage of the situation to put some common sense in the heads of these professional armed robbers. It is however astonishing to note that in this period of national mourning due to the ‘Woyomic Syndrome’, the NDC members are shamefully putting a hard defence against this glaring thievery. Although Ghanaians have unanimously expressed their emotional disappointment in the leadership of the so-called Social Democrats, supporters of the NDC are the least bothered about the issue because they know that they are the direct beneficiaries of this organised crime. If not, some Regional party headquarters would have been either set ablaze or the Chief Justice could have been haunted by the cat killer.
When the Mills-Mahama administration sadly took over power in 2009, Ghanaians were made to understand that the economy was terribly broke. On several political platforms, Prof. Mills revealed that the NDC met a ‘distressed economy’. Ironically, all these happened at a time when Ghana had become an oil producing country with over $10 billion loan facility at her disposal. The export revenue from cocoa, gold and other mineral resources, coupled with the astronomical increase in taxes has put the new administration on a sound footing, yet Prof. Mills cunningly showed to the world that the fool will forever remain thirsty even in the abundance of water. His Excellency, J.A. Kufuor became the ‘traditional chewing stick’ of John Atta Mills all because the NPP administration had celebrated Ghana’s 50th Anniversary, built a $70 million Presidential Palace, bought a Presidential Jet, and built four new stadia including two renovated ones. In his inaugural speech, President Mills vowed to cut down profligate spending and use the money to improve the lives of the poor. In October 2011, our president reiterated his passion to make judicious use of the nation’s resources when he ridiculed the Ghana Medical Association for embarking on its legitimate strike action.
It is imperative therefore to objectively assess our president whether he practices what he preaches, and whether he has been sincere and fair to the erstwhile NPP administration in particular. In early part of 2009, the Transition Team of the NDC spent over 1.35 billion old cedis on tea, water, snacks, and lunch during its sitting. In the same year, $12,000 was used by party officials to watch the local Black Stars at the CHAN tournament in Cote D’Ivoire. Furthermore, there was artificial shortage of ‘khebab’ and pampers in the country all because the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Alhaji ‘Chinchinka’ misappropriated over $20,000 of state funds. In addition, the government renovated 7 state bungalows at a cost of 56 billion cedis and surprisingly this money excluded the quantum of money spent on the accommodation of Mrs. Lordina Mahama – one of vice president’s wives. The NDC crowned the year 2009 with a whopping 48 billion cedis on Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday, and they wasted this money in connivance with the defunct Convention People Party (CPP). Couldn’t President Mills use that money to eliminate schools under trees?
The level of corruption and thievery continued on a large scale in the course of 2010. For instance, Mahama Ayariga and Alban Bagbin, two of Atta Mills’ Ministers of State managed to professionally steal between them 20 new tractors imported by the NPP administration to promote agriculture. Also through Stan Dogbe, one of the hawkers at the Slave Castle, the nation lost over $1.6 million on Christmas hampers just to entice some stomach broadcast journalists, including Bobie Ansah, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., and Mugabe Issah Maase of Radio Focus (the Diplomatic Passport Holder). Even before Carl Wilson got the sack as the Chairman of Confiscated Vehicles Committee, he and Alex Segbefia had succeeded in robbing the state millions of Ghana cedis but these ‘thieves’ alongside those involved in Cocoa Smuggling and CEPS Scandals are still walking freely. Who could believe that the NDC would spend $5million on its supporters to patronise the 2010 World Cup in South Africa? But this happened under a ‘Better Ghana’ era. Our president, prior to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, left for China but returned within two days to participate in the national event. He left for China the following day only to contract a conditional loan to please his ‘gang of thieves’. A similar thing has happened recently where over $165,000 has been wasted in the US. Now the question is; who bears the cost of these abortive foreign trips?
It was not an accident that Prof. Mills declared 2011 as the ‘Action Year’. This is because the year has witnessed tug of verbal wars between and among government appointees as to who could win the topmost award of “CHIEF PROFESSIONAL THIEF”. Benyiwa-Doe and Allotey Jacobs’ Corruption Show was a delight to watch. Having kicked against one Presidential Jet, and one military jet in 2005, and subsequently rejecting the Presidential Palace on the basis of it being an expensive edifice, I for once expected the modest people in the NDC to justify the acquisition five military jets at a cost of GHC250 million (375 million cedis), including a hangar (garage) that cost the nation 17 million cedis. Interestingly, whilst the president’s wife continued with her ‘charity work’ by donating a $48,000 wrist watch to Mrs. Obama, her husband Fiifi Mills was clandestinely building ‘token’ mansions for his dogs and personal security guards. In June 2011, St. Atta Mills rubbished the GHC90 million bribery allegation at the Sunyani congress, but how many Ghanaians can forgive him?
The inflated figures of completed and uncompleted projects such as school blocks from GHC80,000 in 2008 to GHC280,000 in 2010, the illegal taxes put on fuel prices amounting to GHC661 million, and the unaccountable road tolls (GHC1.1 billion in 2010) that failed to fill all pot holes on our roads are clear examples of how corruption has become endemic under President Mills. Again, our hopes on the oil find were dashed in early 2009 when Oteng Adjei, the Energy Minister, smartly revealed that each Ghanaian would get 17Gp (1,700 cedis) if the oil revenue were to be shared among Ghanaians. Was that not enough indication of the NDC’s determination to rob Ghanaians? If not, why would the NDC deliberately manipulate the flow meters for more than eight months only for the country to lose over 4.58 million barrels of oil?
Looking at the extravagant lifestyles of ministers and Presidential Aides and the rate at which the Hannah Bissiws, Ablakwahs, Segbefias, Asiedu Nketiahs are ripping the nation of enormous wealth, the former 1st vice Chairperson of the party, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings remarked that, President Mills was presiding over the most corrupt government ever in Ghana and insisted that corruption would definitely rub the NDC of retaining power in 2012. Could the former First Lady’s resentment come as a result of the acquisition of $165,000 personal vehicle of Joe Gidisu – the Minister for Roads and Highways? Well, if Asiedu Nketiah, the NDC’s scribe had the guts to describe 17 NPP aspirants as ‘thieves’, then sensible Ghanaians expect him to unravel the mystery behind the acquisition of the $20 million party headquarters. I am sure General Mosquito, the palm wine tapper cum block seller who recently bought a £370,000 house in London, is busily counting the number of NDC thieves as their number keep increasing at geometric rate.
My dear readers, since when did the Attorney-General of a poor country like Ghana fail to put up a defence against a suit that involves an amount of over 1 trillion cedis? Why were ex-government officials not invited to act as principal witnesses in this national issue? Why would the Attorney-General single out Woyome’s case as a lost a battle, and then make a u-turn to negotiate an amount of GHC58 million (580 billion cedis) to an individual who is said to be a bankroller of the ruling party? What is the justification for the appointment of the Minister of Attorney-General? So how does President Mills expect right-thinking Ghanaians to believe that he has no money to complete the Accra-Ofankor portion of the Accra – Kumasi trunk road, which costs only $45 million? Could that be a reason why he bends down his head in shame anytime he passes there?
This is the crescendo of the hypocrisy of our President Mills. This is the ‘I Care for You’ president, the Social Democrat, the ‘Asomdweehene’, the Law Professor, and the ‘Incorruptible President’. This is the president who packed his administration ex-convicts –Tatsu, Abodakpi, Yankey, and Adams. This is the leader who has set up 322 committees and commissions since 2009 at a great cost to the nation, yet nothing positive has been achieved. And this was the vice president under whom senior members in his government were implicated in the M & J Scandal, the then vice president whose party doled out $20 million gift to Ms. Cotton of the Quality Grains saga. In fact, the silence of the president on the numerous allegations of corrupt practices among government officials, the failure of his appointees to declare their assets, and his inability to initiate policies or enforce the existing policies, makes nonsense of his so-called credibility. For me, this ‘Woyome Tsunami’ has the tendency to put many Ghanaian children into perpetual poverty. Therefore, the only thing we could do to change this unfortunate situation would be our resolve to elect more competent, selfless, and courageous leadership that could tackle corruption head-on. The NDC has outlived its usefulness as the party members have shown that no matter the quantity of water and shower gel that would be used to cleanse the pig, it will still lay around in mud and garbage. Kindly join the crusade to kick them out before the Woyomes, Wilsons, Bissiws, Nketiahs, Alloteys, Benyiwa Does,and Anyidohus sell our beloved country. I wish you all a Merry X’mas & a Happy New Year.

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!
Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Hull. UK.
Member, Communications Team. NPP - UK
Official blog (www.katakyie.com) katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk 07944309859
“Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success”