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Opinions of Sunday, 2 December 2018

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

On the Run: Sounds like extortion to me

It clearly sounds prohibitive for a party that claims to hew towards the populist ideology of “Social Democracy,” which the General-Secretary of Ghana’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, reportedly recently defined as a political culture in which “they tax the high-class in society to help the vulnerable” to be charging GH? 400,000 as presidential candidacy filing fee (See “Paying Just GHC 400,000 to Lead the Biggest Party in the Country Is Fair – Deputy Secretary” Modernghana.com / Ghanaweb.com 11/30/18). We are told that the figure is actually GH? 420,000. I don’t quite remember such a “charitable” policy informing the Woyome Mega-Heist, the most massive and scandalous rip-off of the Ghanaian taxpayer, to-date, by the “social democratic” leaders of the tandem Mills-Mahama regimes of the National Democratic Congress, although it can be clearly seen why some Mahama cabinet and other executive appointees came to envisage the criminal drawing of double salaries as a legitimate avenue to recoup some of their electioneering campaign losses.

The “Mosquito Philosophy,” so to speak, does not bear scrutiny when one examines the Cash-and-Carry healthcare policy that characterized the Rawlings-led first NDC government of Ghana’s Fourth Republic. You see, the Cash-and-Carry ideology and policy was indisputably informed by “Social Darwinism,” or the dog-eat-dog policy of “Survival of the Fittest,” whereby those who were too poor to pay their health providers upfront were summarily denied healthcare services. There was absolutely no charitable situation whereby the well-heeled and powerful were asked by the NDC’s leaders to cough up more money beyond their own share of premiums to make up for the inability of poor and lower-class Ghanaians who could not readily access the same. In short, General Mosquito needs to come up with a far better explanation regarding why the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Democratic Congress arrived at the decision of charging presidential candidacy aspirants some GH? 400,000 a piece or per candidate. Lamely claiming, typical copycat fashion, that the NPP-NEC charged GH? 500,000 candidacy-filing fees in the leadup to the last Presidential Election would not cut it, because their socially progressive development and social-intervention policies notwithstanding, the leaders of the New Patriotic Party had never laid any pontifical claims to being “social democrats,” unlike the NDC leadership.

It also does not quite stand to reason, other than on the basis of gender discrimination or sexism, for the NDC-NEC to peg the nomination filing fees for all women desirous of contesting in the party’s January 19, 2019, Presidential Primary to pay GH? 200,000 or just half of the filing fee demanded of their male counterparts. Does it mean that the NDC-NEC operatives are convinced of not only the high unlikelihood of a woman clinching the party’s presidential nomination, and thus using such a drastically reduced fee as an oblique form of extortion, or it is simply that women presidential candidates, should any be elected, would be relatively far less prone to the sort of double-salary drawing scandals that sit on top of the heads of the Mahama cabinet and executive appointees?

Indeed, there seems to be some truth to the preceding observation either way. For example, we all know that the double-salary thieves were composed of both males and females, although the overwhelming majority of these thieves are males. But, of course, this may be primarily because there were fewer women cabinet appointees in the Mahama government than their male counterparts. Not to be buttinsky here, but the conjugal split-joust between Mrs. Nana Oye Lithur, the former Mahama-appointed Minister for Gender and Social Protection, and, I am assuming, her ex-husband, Mr. Anthony “Tony” Lithur, brought into quite fascinating light and relief, the fact that when it comes to stealing from the Ghanaian taxpayer, as clearly implied by Mr. Lithur, women could creditably hold their own against their more notorious male counterparts and may, in fact, be even superior kleptocrats.

I am, of course, on the latter score alluding to the very public allegation made by the Mahama lawyer that his estranged or ex-wife may have purchased a mansion somewhere in the Democratic Republic of South Africa that is worth at least $ 500,000 (USD) by dubious means. At any rate, it is crystal clear that a cash-famished opposition NDC party leadership may be hell-bent on devising every crooked means it could fathom or conceive to fill up its electioneering campaign war-chest in the leadup to the December 2020 general election. Now, what the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Supreme Court of Ghana, acting on massive public protest or complaints, of course, need to promptly demand is a declaration of the assets of not only all the presidential-candidacy aspirants of the National Democratic Congress but, in fact, all candidates in both the NDC and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) running for any major elective public office in the land. The culture of leadership accountability could not be more significant and relevant at this present moment.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net