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Opinions of Friday, 27 February 2004

Columnist: Antwi, William

NPP: From "Zero Tolerance" To Official Corruption -What went wrong?

The month of February has already shaped up to be a horrifically bad one for the President and his ruling National Patriotic Party. There is a lot of hoodoo about official corruption which has so far culminated in the dishonorable resignation of a member of Parliament and a deputy minister of Presidential Affairs (hmmmmmmmmmmmm one such proliferated ministries under this President who solemnly vowed to trim the pork, wastage, inefficiency and eradicate official corruption if voted to power!).

In fact, Motcha Mamba (the disgraced MP) is now the poster boy for all that is stinkingly corrupt about this gov't and our dear country. What this President and his party are doing to our country should be of grave concern to all peace loving Ghanaians. We should not allow them to do further damage to our already tarred institutions.

This gov't's inaction and complicity in encouraging the scourge of corruption in our country is mindboggling. Am I saying that this gov't is mugging our fragile democracy? You betcha!! Isn't the NPP the "zero tolerance" party? Didn't they come to power on the wave of anti-corruption sentiment in the country? Do they have any clue why they succeeded in demonizing the NDC as the most corrupt party ever to rule Ghana?

I personally think they hit a home run with that electoral theme or strategy of "zero tolerance". No wonder Ghanaians were filled with so much hope and aspiration when the NPP took over the reins of gov't. Ghanaians of all social, political and economic strata were prepared to give this gov't the benefit of doubt. This undiluted goodwill is easily verified in their resilience in enduring the economic pain brought on by the historic price/rate increases in petroleum products, electricity, water, school fees, rent, etc. For all we know our streets would have been in undated with big time demonstrations if the NDC had implemented those historic price or rate increases. What the masses have received in return is more and more naked corruption in high places. To some of us the Mamba's case is just the tip of the iceberg.

MAMBA AND NPP OFFICIAL CORRUPTION!

  • Talking about Mamba, how does this gov't expect to restore and build confidence in the integrity of our institutions of gov't while confessed corrupters like him roam free?
  • Is this such a complex case that the gov't is still searching for evidence? Or is this one case the President and Parliament are blatantly refusing to act because Mamba is one of their own?
  • Is Mamba more of a Ghanaian than Tsatsu Tsikata or Serlomey or Peprah? Is that the President's understanding of democracy and "zero tolerance for corruption?
  • What is going on in our country?
  • What puissant message is the President and his advisors sending to the armed robbers and white collar criminals?
  • That it is morally and legally right to rob the country and nothing will be done to you?
  • Isn't there a law on our criminal statute that punishes any public officer for "corruptly or dishonestly" abusing his/her office for "private profit or benefit"? What is most astounding is that the President as our chief law enforcement officer has done his damnable best to keep his distance by pretending to be dead on this national disgrace.
  • Shouldn't he be the one leading the charge against official corruption?
  • Shouldn't the President have used the Mamba case to reassure the nation that he and his party are on top of the fight against official corruption?
  • It is really depressing that the NPP is even encouraging Mamba to stand for re-election as if what he did was politically and morally right for the party and the country! Why are they paralyzed to speak up against the criminal conduct of Mamba and many others in their ranks?
  • Are they scared of the skeletons in their closets?
      What classless act! To put it blandly, this gov't is setting a very dangerous precedent for the country which will eventually destroy our democracy (if not arrested immediately).

      THE NRC, OFFICIAL CORRUPTION AND ANARCHY.

      The sad truth is that these same people who profess to be "lovers" of the rule of law will be the first to cry foul if anarchy breaks out and the country is hijacked by "revolutionaries". And, we all know the attendant tragic footwork of anarchy - torture, mayhem, executions, political murder, destruction of Makola market, curfews, rapes etc; etc; The civil liberties we now take for granted become practically non-existent in times of anarchy (lawlessness). In due time those same individuals and their cronies would turn around and establish bodies like the National Reconciliation Commission while they conveniently forget their own political and economic perfidies (crimes) that led to the lawlessness!

      In fact, no matter what political stripes we wear, we should have the decency to intelligently and patriotically ask and demand answers to questions like;
        1. Why should state money be used to renovate a President's house OR at what point in time should state money be used to renovate a President's house? And, if so used, should it qualify as a loan or a gift?

        2. Why should our leaders shield their assets/financial declaration forms from the public eye? Why is Article 286(3) still embedded in our constitution when these same individuals now in power riled against it while in oppostion?

        3. What has happened to Article 128(1) of the constitution? Didn't the NPP talk so much (and rightly so) about the sacredness of the independence of the judiciary while in opposition? How can they reconcile the stacking or packing of the Supreme Court with judicial independence?

        4. Why have the NPP leadership placed the patronage and the spoil systems on a higher pedestal? Aren't they adding to the corrupt image of our system of gov't? How many ministries do we have now? Special assistants? This is indeed a bankrupt system designed to artificially create some money for the "boys" simply because they were in the economic doldrums for too long!

        5. Why is it that after three years, the 10%, 15% or 20% (depending on the size and amount involved in a contract) kick-backs still pervasive in our country? Please, don't reproach me with the "put up or shut up" official line counter-argument because the unfortunate truth is that those who unofficially make these scandalous accusations want to remain annonymous for obvious reasons!

        6. Why are our big political guns enjoying excellent health coverage including health care trips abroad while our hospitals and clinics continue to be depleted of the simple, basic medical equipments and medicine?

        7. Why should the NPP be hiding behind the Supreme Court to save face in the EC's controversial decision to reshape our electoral landscape? If the President and his men are really against this proposal they can easily "rope" in the opposition for the needed votes to torpedo the EC's wholly unwarranted proposal.

        8. Why can't the gov't tell us how much it has borrowed on our behalf from international financial institutions since it came to power?
      We will continue to punctuate these and many other national issues not because we hate the NPP but simply because we want the best for our country and deservedly so. Need I state that our development as a nation is being hampered more by official corruption and overweening hypocrisy than anything else? So far as our leaders continue to turn a blind eye to sordid official corruption which is suffocating our country and condemning millions of our country folks to agonizing poverty, our democracy will remain fragile. What is going to concretize our democracy is not how well we equip private armies or how much money we spend on our security forces. Rather, our leaders should start cleaning up their dirty, criminal tricks from within and start playing selflessness and doing what is conscienable. Among other things, this means that they can't indulge in the same undemocratic practices they rightly preached against while in opposition. Democratic values don't change simply because we are in power. They remain the same at all times!

      Let our leaders for once listen to the pangs of reason and do the right thing for our nation because we have all it takes to be a great and prosperous nation.

      God bless our nation.

      WILLIAM ANTWI (BAFO aka OYOO BUSANGA)
      NEW YORK, U.S.A.

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