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Opinions of Thursday, 15 December 2005

Columnist: Antwi, William

NPP, The Poor And The Curse Of Our Democracy!

THE POLITICS OF DECEPTION:

The verdict is now in: The iconic imagery of the ruling NPP government as an incorruptible and transparent government is now in tatters. It is a cancerous, self-inflicted political wound and judging by the depressing way the political and economic fortunes of the country are evolving, it is going to take a political miracle to save the soul and in the process rehabilitate the image of the so-called ?zero tolerance for corruption? party. As we rightly predicted (and we don?t take any pride in this) the fight to save the soul of our dear country which has been raging on for sometime now has entered a new phase with many more conscientious citizens and non-citizens who truly love democracy calling on this ferociously corrupt and incompetent government to what is right for our democracy. Yes! At long last the anti-democratic veneer of this graceless government is being exposed for the good of our democracy. In fact, we have openly wondered how and why it took majority of Ghanaians that long to see through this government?s lies, corruption and anti-democratic tendencies - which had been so obvious for so long!

Simply put, what the general public is saying is that the country is being tragically mismanaged both politically and economically by corrupt and incompetent men and women. We say this not out of spite or baseless partisanship but because it has always been our strongest belief that no economic and/or political policy will ever succeed in an environment where official corruption is touted as a national policy. Thus, the key to our development lies in our leaders ability to deal effectively with official corruption and that must necessarily start with them and not with my grandmother living in Paakoso. Do we need to be economic professors or social scientists to learn and know the linkage between official corruption, political instability and underdevelopment? Fabulous economic policies can best and efficiently be executed by our managers - politicians - if an incorruptible environment exists - an environment that ruthlessly punishes rather than rewards those who steal with impunity the little that the nation has. Taking kickbacks (did I really mention the now haunted word ?kickbacks??), criminally inflating the cost of national projects, broad day stealing, graft, crony capitalism, etc.; etc.; can never help us lay a firm foundation for any economic take off. We would be fooling ourselves as people if we think that we can build a viable democracy in the midst of poverty, disease, deprivation and humiliation. Ironically, this government continues to delude itself into thinking that our poor folks have taken a solemn vow of poverty and that they are deserving of nothing good in life. Meanwhile, it continues to spend outrageous sums of money on official and private residences and bullet proof and luxury cars. The reported $30m Peduase Lodge ?facelift? is a classic case in point.

In fact, as the NPP staggers along in ignominy toward December 2008, it saddens us greatly that this government continues to breed a dangerous culture of corruption, intimidation and fear. The NPP has reneged on every electoral promise it made to the public in every material particular. We continue to question the wisdom behind their dogged refusal to make their assets and financial liability forms public? What is so wrong with our elected and some appointees making public what they have voluntarily declared on the assets and financial liabilities forms lodged with the Auditor General? What is really scaring this ?zero tolerance for corruption? party from amending Article 286 of the constitution?

Almost a year after the political murder of Alhaji Mobilla, the nation is still anxiously waiting on the government to bring the perpetrators of that heinous crime to justice. We are here talking about a murder which allegedly took place while the victim was in military custody. If the government cannot get this investigation right, then God should save us all! Need I mention the brutal murder of the Ya-Na and about 40 of our countrymen? Aren?t these the same group of individuals who raised their ?holy? fingers accusing the PNDC of political murders? Now, do they want to tell us that they have lost all their democratic credentials to the point that they cannot even mount a credible investigation into such brutal murders?

FUEL FOR THOUGHT:

Let?s pause here for a brief moment and ask this government why Articles 57(6) and 128(1) are still part of our constitution when it has the numbers to amend them. Some of us seriously believe that these articles are protective of corrupt practices by the political elite. Also, what is stopping this government from trimming down the number of ministerial positions? Didn?t the president and his advisors promise us fewer ministerial portfolios while in opposition? Why the sudden change of mind?

Should we further remind folks that while the government continues to waste our hard earned resources on their bloated ministries, our hospitals, classrooms and roads are wailing for financial assistance. Please, can somebody talk about misplaced priorities? Shouldn?t we be greatly saddened that the election of the President and his party is turning out to be a terrible mistake in terms of failed dreams and hope for great majority of our people? Can any serious minded Ghanaian doubt the fact that majority of Ghanaians were duped by the NPP?s smooth political doublespeak of ?zero tolerance for corruption??

The NPP?s inability to rein in official corruption in the country (and in fact their complicity in this national disgrace a la their chairman?s confession captured live by a patriot - MR. RAYMOND ARCHER - had led to a growing collapse of confidence and trust in our public officials and this government. And, we all know what that does to any society - an ominous re-enactment of a-June 4 avoidable chaos and brainless violence! It is for this material reason that some of us seriously think that the ruling government has become a very dangerous advocate for democracy by virtue of their egregious and sordid actions and inactions. So we ask: Should we wait till the country collapses on its head before we start calling the NPP leadership to attention as some among them want us to do? Some misguided folks want us to deal with this grave ?corruption thing? without reference to the President and his party as if this problem exists in isolation of everything that is happening under our very noses! And, please do not assail me with this administration?s bogus and incredulous ?prove it? political gimmick because democracy always has a way of finding the truth no matter how hard the ruling cabal tries to hide it!

It defies reason and belief that instead of heeding good counsel and addressing this destabilizing problem of official corruption in a dignified manner, they have sent out some teeth-gnashing zealots to do what they do best - serving us with some infantile excuses enmeshed with reckless and malicious name-calling like ?wimps?, ?clowns?, ?coup-mongers?, ?anti-democrats?without addressing the burning issue of official corruption.

Can anybody make any sense of their vicious attacks on the unflappable Arthur Kennedy for his patriotic stand against his party's treatment of official corruption? No matter what these NPP spin wizards and witches want us to believe, the truth is that the sordid scandals of corruption and incompetence swallowing up this government are seriously hampering and undermining its ability to initiate policies geared toward alleviating the plight of the poor. Isn't it disheartening that a government which came to power with the full support of great majority of our people could in a twinkle of an eye dissipate such invaluable goodwill for personal greed and cheap political gains?

Oh, I nearly forgot: To all those passive NPP folks who refuse to criticize their party for fear of returning the NDC to power, we say they are as guilty as those shameless hacks who continue to defend the indefensible. Posterity will never forgive them! And may the curse of our democracy continue to burn their conscience until they repent and come out in full support of other patriots in saving the soul of our nation from these vicious corruptors. Why on this God?s earth should Rawlingsphobia and anti-NDC be the charm that glue them to the NPP while the poor and politically unconnected suffer untold hardship?

In a show of numbers, let all peace-loving Ghanaians join forces in stopping these grave diggers of our democracy in their unholy tracks by campaigning non-stop against their corrupt practices before they destroy the last vestiges of integrity and trust left in our society! In short, we should rise in defence of the poor and our democracy! .

We will return.

Thank you.

WILLIAM ANTWI (BAFO AKA OYOO BUSANGA)

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