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Opinions of Friday, 1 October 2010

Columnist: Ajei-Gyamfi, Godwin

Political Angels And Demons………….

There is no denying that some politicians when seeking office are angles because they promise heaven and earth and when they acquire power they become demons because they become corrupt. Equally there is no denying the fact that corruption is one of the “devils” that have contributed to the woes of our dear country. We have over the years failed as a nation to confront this canker which has eating deeply into the fabric of our society with all the seriousness that it deserves.

The most ironic of all is the knowledge that those who over the years have been accusing others of being corrupt are more often than not the worst corrupt. In most cases we tend to forget that when we point a finger at someone or a group of individuals, the remaining ones point at us. In our political history and development, we have witnessed changes in the political direction of Ghana, through both legitimate- and criminal (Coup d’état) ways, but the issue of corruption appears not to be addressed. Our leaders appear not to relent in their selfish desire of becoming rich through corrupt practices at the expense of the development of the country.

Most of these politicians begin their political careers as down-and-out but end up being in money. These politicians see politics as moneys on old ropes. For my money, these corrupt officials are losers, and for us to reduce this societal evil in our country to its barest minimum, those who are found to have taken undue advantage of our economy in order to be in money should be severely dealt with.

With the exception of the diabolical overthrow of our first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, which was orchestrated by the CIA, the cardinal reason that has been given by these selfish individuals for staging the other coup d’états, especially the 1979 and 1981 ones was corruption. And it is difficult to accept this reason because they are themselves guilty of the same crime they said served as the trigger for interfering in the political process of the country. If we are still poor, if we are still unable to develop our human resources, if we are still unable to add value to our natural resources in this day and age, then we should hold accountable those group of people who usurped political power under the guise of eliminating corruption in the system with the hidden motive of enriching themselves through corrupt practices.

Although a lot of people in the Ghana gave their blessing to the 1979 coup staged by former President Rawlings, I don’t. This is because it was completely unnecessary and out of place since plans were far advanced to return the country to constitutional rule. There are even some individuals, who profess to be democrats, but shamelessly and arrogantly defend and celebrate the overthrow of the Limann administration, a constitutionally elected government. Even though he was overthrown for allegedly presiding over corruption, not even a single case of corruption was found against him after his exit. But there is plethora of evidence of corruption against those who hanged and jailed people for being corrupt, most of whom were not corrupt, anyway.

We are still living in poverty because a bunch of selfish and greedy individuals took the law into their own hands and ruled according to their whims and caprices. Tell me, which military and dictatorial regime in the world has succeeded in improving their economies? The point I am drive home is that the reason that these unscrupulous individuals gave to stage the coups- corruption, was neither here nor there since it even increased to unprecedented highs under their watch. It means that all those who were sent to the gallows or incarcerated for their involvement in corrupt practices shouldn’t have suffered that fate because their accusers are even the worst offenders. They live in glass houses and yet throw stones. This is the very height of hypocrisy in the NDC because these corruption crusaders are the ones who have presided over revealing and telling corruption when they were given the mandate to chart the course of the development of the country in all its facets. They failed woefully when they had the opportunity to instil and promote discipline in the country by dealing with individuals who were found to have abused their offices by established state institutions that have the powers of investigating and recommending the prosecution of corrupt officials.

A classical example is when former President Rawlings, who staged both the 1979 and 1981 coups on the wings of corruption was confronted with an acid test in the mid 1990s when prominent ministers in his administration- Ibrahim Adams and co were found to be corrupt by the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). He was shocking, wasn’t he? He issued a white paper to clear them. What a pity! Under his watch, uncountable allegations of corruption were levelled against some of his ministers, but strangely and sadly, he allowed them to go scot free. President Rawlings failed woefully in dealing with corrupt officials in his party, but still has the audacity of accusing the former government of being the most corrupt in the country. As much as I believe that it will be naïve to insinuate that the former administration was a constellation of angels, it will be equally wrong and unintelligible for ex-president Rawlings to suggest that members of his party are angels. They surely are not and he should know better.

Only seven months into the administration of his party, the reported cases of corruption in the government have questioned his credibility and that of the government as regards their moral standings when it comes to issues of corruption in the country. Was it not shocking that the former sports minister, Alhaji Muntaka, of all the mountain of evidence of corruption that was levelled against him went scot-free?

In my candid opinion, I think ex-president Rawlings, although is entitled to express his views on issues, doesn’t have the moral rightness to accuse people of being corrupt since he failed on all counts to deal with corruption during his 19 years reign.

The prosecution by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the United Kingdom of Mabey & Johnson limited which involved bribing some of his “angelic” ministers in order to win contracts between 01/01/1994 and 18/08/1999 has caught former president Rawlings and the current president, John Evens Mills ( NDC) pants down. It is indeed very embarrassing and distasteful, especially when a former President who preaches virtues has been found to have presided over bribery and corruption. This involved accepting gifts or consideration, namely sums of money for giving out contracts known as the “Priority Bridge Programme 1 and 2” and the “Feeder Roads Projects”.

I will add that president, John Evens Mills made anticorruption a focal issue in his bid to win the presidency.
I wonder if they will attend the UK to clear their name as they were part of the government in the above dates.


The rational for putting pen to paper is that we have to put our moneys where our mouths are. We should understand that the fight against corruption is not only a socio-political issue, but also a moral issue and our duty.

The above case and other cited instances which will take pages and pages to recite, demonstrates that for the NDC, fighting corruption is a mere rhetoric.
It is a pandemic which has to be confronted head-on before it finally causes an irreparable damage to our beloved Ghana.
All the stakeholders in the country- civil society, governmental and public institutions, religious organizations, and even politicians should do more by fighting this “disease”. We should understand that it is easier done than said, and not the reverse.

Let us fight this canker than disturbing our ears and those of others with empty and unproductive talks. But then, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones! God bless our new founded wealth, the black gold.

Godwin Ajei-Gyamfi
UK & IRELAND DEPUTY
YOUTH ORGANIZER