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Opinions of Thursday, 29 December 2011

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

NPP the New Tea Party of Ghana : Civil Revolution Is the Only Answer

As the holiday season slowly ebbs, many have endured another painful Christmas and certainly, a grim new year awaits. Yet on the opposite side of the coin, the elite and their criminal friends continue to rob the people of Ghana in ways unimaginable. Ghana has become a sad tale of haves and have-nots. The rich and powerful continue to rob the poor and meek. The current corruption charge against NDC backed Woyome is another clear example, emblematic of the fact that, Ghana is a cesspool of unbridled corruption. This stinking swamp must be drained dust dry. Ghana has a problem and until the problem is solved, if it can be, the fleecing won’t stop.

Ghana’s problem can be summarized as follows: Majority of the current crop of politicians and public officials are crooks. Whether they are pathological crooks or acquired crooks, I cannot tell. Perhaps one can’t help but be a crook in Ghana. Do we have in Ghana, a work culture that is relatively corruption free? Could you put angels in a job in Ghana and expect them to stay angelic? For how long can they resist the temptation to rob? Whatever the situation is, looting while you have the opportunity to, is not a frowned upon idea in Ghana. If you add incompetence to the equation, you end up with incompetent crooks who continue to bleed the country to death. Put an incompetent crook in an environment without accountability, transparency (sunlight) and responsibility and you have the inmates running the zoo. This really is the real picture of what is going on in Ghana. So ask yourself this: Why can’t clean competent people make it to the top in Ghana? What is it about our culture and politics that prevents us from having competent, accountable, transparent and responsible leaders? For how long will the people of Ghana suffer these phony leaders? What is wrong with us? Why do we continue to vote for crooks we know?

A careful examination of the Woyome scandal brings up all the above factors that I have identified. What you have is an attorney general department clogged mainly with incompetent political appointees. The culture of this hub of government is nothing short of mediocrity, lack of accountability, responsibility, transparency, ethics and bald face corruption. Either Iddrisu-Mould knew exactly what she was doing or was totally incompetent. Either way, the president should have acted swiftly to remove her from post and go after all involved in the case. Instead the president is waffling and raising red herrings not benefitting his office or the country. This level of blatant incompetence, leading to such disastrous results, must not be permitted. Where in the name of Jesus is the sense of responsibility and accountability? Did Betty Iddrisu-Mould not know that an amount this size for a claim that is obviously bogus cannot go unnoticed? Did she research the case to discover the settlement that Kufour’s regime hammered out with Waterville? What was she thinking and why did she wink and nod this terrible decision? Why don’t we have parliament holding hearings to uncover what really occurred? What is the use of our parliament if they can’t quickly address such hot button national issues? What kind of constitution do we have? God forgive us!

Now let me address my NPP brothers and sisters. Not too long ago, Kufour and his henchmen were in power robbing the country the same way the NDC is doing now. Like the Tea Party of America, most NPP folks kept quiet while this broad daylight thuggery unfolded. A lot of shady underhanded corrupt acts occurred under Kufour’s government. Where were my NPP friends? Remember Ghana@50? What happened to those luxury cars that were imported into the country? What happened to the contract deliverables that were not carried out? Cocaine did go missing under Kufour just like it is under Mills. Under the Tullow oil deal, Kufour’s cronies formed phony organizations and got paid much more millions than Woyome is trying to do at the moment. Do you want me to continue? I say all this not to create a tit for tat game of corruption. Surely two wrongs does not a right make. I say this to paint a Picasso of an inflamed corruption culture that is eating the soul of mother Ghana alive. No matter what party you put in power, corruption is and will remain a menacing staple in Ghana. This is why we must speak up regardless of party affiliation. It is a national problem not a partisan one! Stay focused my friends and keep your eyes on the prize!

What can we do? What really is the missing ingredient here? It is my humble opinion that unless the people of Ghana wake up from their slumber, nothing will change. Ghana is not a place where change is tolerated or embraced without stern prodding. Unless our so called leaders see signs and wonders, they will never give up their lofty perch and the perks that come with it. It is for this reason that I advocate a civil revolution within the warped constitutional framework. Rip this tree of corruption by its roots. What Ghanaians must understand, is that, democracy does not mean that you vote every four years and fall into hibernation. No mam! No sir! Democracy means that you stay informed and engaged. Democracy does not work on cruise control. If you don’t like what you see, you must organize for change. I have always maintained that what happens between four years is actually much more important than what happens every four years. The real work of the people starts immediately after elections and this is where the people of Ghana continue to fall short. Change must come from within and it must be self-induced as opposed to foreign influence.

The people of Ghana must understand that Atta-Mills and his minions work for them and not the other way round. I hope the constitutional reform commission that has spent close to 7 million dollars already, will give the people of Ghana, the right to recall any publicly elected officer, if they don’t already have it. Alongside the power of recall, all appointed officials should not have a contract exceeding two year terms. This way, the people shall have a right to review performance and act accordingly. Sitting back and expecting ideal results must certainly be a pipe dream, just as doing the same thing and expecting different results represent insanity. You would think that the media could help inform and shape our democracy. Unfortunately, the media is just as corrupt and mainly inept. Yellow and stomach journalism is what majority of our journalists dabble in.

Until the people of Ghana wise up and begin to shake up this bloody system, nothing much will change. The fact is that those who control power are a group of recycled politicians. We must not let party affiliation fool us. When the doors close, most of these politicians are friends and relatives who eat and drink from the same bowl. No matter what party you have in power, it is just a different day but the same old claptrap. What we need now, is a good organization around the youth. An organization that will remove this feckless old guard from power and usher in, a more responsible, accountable, competent and transparent government. Until the Ghanaian spring occurs, nothing much will change. Ghana can only be transformed through a civil revolution within the existing warped constitutional framework, premised on the youth. Who will bell the cat? The time must be now! I am ready! Are you?

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Also known as the double edge sword) Akyere@aol.com I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell. --- Harry Truman