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Opinions of Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Columnist: Kabu Nartey

Patriotic Epistles with Kabu Nartey: Is the president facing public trial or triumph?

President Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

A journalist and her crew bumped into me last week whilst sampling public views on the president’s fights against corruption. President Akufo Addo had earned many teasing nicknames like ‘Mr. Lomotey ‘, ‘King Promise’ and more recently ‘Clearing Agent’, allegedly engineering the exoneration of all his appointees who have come under corruption scandals after investigations. He has bragged a couple of times during public addresses that all his appointees who were accused of corruption have been cleared of all these misconducts by the appropriate bodies, but he added he has not been the clearing agent behind the veil

I opined : “if the president believes he is altruistically fighting corruption ( which has a probable truth ) but the public is saying otherwise ; the lesson therein for the president and the government is that perhaps, the people on whose behalf you are fighting corruption , are not seeing it. It therefore raises the issue of transparency and the public’s good will”

It could be likened on a familial level: Father says he has no money for the children’s school fees but he is always spotted at the blue kiosk. It may be true he doesn’t have money and has been forced to booze his problems off, but the suspicion and crucifixion by his children and his wife would justifiably continue so far as they are not allowed to see the depth of his pocket.

From the above, the children are right and so is the father. They both live in their worlds believing they are justified. But who loses more? Certainly, the father! How he gets food onto the table and maintain discipline at home is none’s major headache, he earns the praise for it and so does he carry the cross in the absence of these.

The president is the leader of the almost 29 million active spectators of the nation. The spectators are encouraged to actively participate in criticizing government. Fortunately, or unfortunately, these spectators are made up of opposition, the indifferent neutrals, sympathizers as well as the faithful of the ruling party. The oppositions are unavoidable.

The indifferent citizens are the floaters and the election winners while the sympathizers and faithfuls are as relevant as having a mother, a father and a die-hard fan of a party. Though all these categories of people are of importance to the survival of the president’s second term, one of these categories is an oxygen for the party’s continued rule, to say least – the fatigued floaters. They may either vote the president out if such damning tags continue. Once upon a time, Mahama could not survive such frames.

There is therefore every reason for the president to be concerned. His actions may only be visible to the people close to him. It is cowardice to think that the growing damming perception by the public about the current regime is a doing of a very organized opposition party. In truth, [m]any citizen on the street expressed this disappointment of the Akufo Addo government especially on some major scandals and how some of them have been handled thus far. Perhaps Ghanaians were presented with an option which may have little or absolutely no case of corruption.

I have also chanced on the video of a citizen which has gone viral shouting some of the funny names given the president while he inspected a police regiment, perhaps in a way to remind him of some of his campaign promises. Do you not think it is overly simplistic to think the ordinary citizen singing and shouting these disappointment tunes has not benefited from the free SHS policy which has become a major brag for many faithfuls of the ruling government? Do you also think she couldn’t have called out the One District One Dam policy as a failed promise? Why didn’t she call out the other twin policies - one district one million cedis and one factory? Clearly, the electorate is growing wiser and wiser ahead of every election especially when they see the level of development you promised them four years ago.

One may ask what about the afro-barometer report by the 2019 Global Corruption Barometer in July which rated the president 60 percent ahead of the former counterpart John Mahama who was scored 25 percent during his time? Well, I believe that is irony two months ago. These are the same Ghanaians who responded to this survey months ago. But not even this report has changed the recent growing perception about the president.

I can only hope those around the president are giving him heads up on the reality on the grounds. I am sure just like any second term candidate would wish, a year to elections should be a period of praises and not funny nicknames that reminds one of the scandals and hiccups in his reign.