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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Columnist: Dr. E.M. Sowah

Political open defecation

It is obviously not right to defecate on our beaches, but for those who do it, it is convenient. It is not right to sell on the pavement but convenient for those who do it. It is not right to dump refuse in the gutter but convenient for those who do so.

A few days ago it was alleged in the media that under the Mahama administration, more than 90% of road contracts were awarded through restricted tendering. If indeed it did happen then it is an example of an act that is convenient but not right. It was a governmental ‘defecation’ on the beach.

We are currently struggling to come to terms with the collapse of two indigenous banks, namely UT Bank and Capital Bank. There were obviously several actions that were taken by those in authority which contributed to the collapse. Granting a loan to a crony without collateral or compelling bank officials to break the rules in your favour or on your instructions because you are a major shareholder are convenient but not right.

All these actions which are not right are not right because they have consequences in the long run. Moreover, once they are committed, the perpetrator no longer has control over the repercussions. Their convenience however, lies in the fact that that their consequences do not manifest immediately. When we hear that people actually dump refuse into gutters and defecate openly, it beats our imagination as we wonder how they fail to grasp how wrong it is to do so and how myopic they are, not to see the negative repercussions of their actions.

It would not be far from wrong to say that the majority of those who voted this government into power are not card-bearing members of the NPP. They were floating voters. They voted for the NPP because they listened, read and did analyses, and decided that the NPP deserved their vote. Need I remind the NPP that these floating voters are still engaged in these activities which made them vote for the NPP? The NPP as a party conveys the impression that they have knowledge and the ability to do the right things. For this reason Ghanaians tend to expect more from an NPP government than they expect from the NDC one (I stand for correction), and this for me represents a big challenge to this government. Ghanaians would not tolerate the NPP’s shortcomings, and this government should be reminded of the 2008 elections. Ghanaians who voted for this government (not those who did not) did so with the expectation that they would do better.

One of the areas of expectancy has to do with nepotism. The perception of this abhorrent practice was massively widespread under the previous administration. Our development as a nation is hinged on succeeding governments refraining from practices that contributed to loss of power of governments that preceded them. In this vein, it is heartwarming for many Ghanaians to see the NPP government making the effort to sanitize procurement practices in the public sector as an improvement on what happened in the previous administration. This represents progress; and such actions must be replicated in every sphere of governance if this government is to justify the trust reposed in them by the voting public.

Any actions on the part of this government that can rightly be labelled as governmental ‘open defecation’, no matter how convenient they deem it, cannot be right and would have serious negative repercussions for the NPP. The recent allegations in the media that the Senior Minister under the current government has two of his sons emerging in management positions in SSNIT and NCA have come to shake the faith of many in the credibility of the NPP government. I am sure that like me, many of such people are praying that it is not true; that these individuals merited the appointments and obtained them not by ‘sole sourcing’ or ‘restricted tendering’ but by ‘open competitive tendering’. If they got these appointments fairly, then it is in the interest of the Senior Minister and the NPP government to come out and do the needful in terms of clearing the air, because their silence will definitely have repercussions among Ghanaians and within the party. All those who helped the party to power have relatives who qualify for jobs and would justifiably expect that they also get similar favours, otherwise the ‘adidigya’ stage which prevailed in the NDC under Mahama would have been set to the hurt of the NPP. There is a loud cry for jobs which this government in campaigning promised, so any perception that lucrative jobs are being farmed out to the high and mighty in the party could be very damaging.

Let this government be reminded that no amount of explaining, rationalizing or equalization can make any governmental goof right. It would be advisable for NPP communicators to work within their government and party to help correct or prevent wrongs in their ranks that would make their work as communicators difficult, than to end up sitting on air making strenuous efforts to defend the indefensible actions from their stables.

There are grave electoral consequences to defending the indefensible. It may be convenient so to do but it simply is not right. The NDC debacle in election 2016 should be a lesson to all who claim to love the NPP and Ghana. Floating voters are watching.