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Opinions of Saturday, 26 August 2017

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Surely, Mahama and Mahama will sink NDC deeper and deeper!

I will venture to stress that in order for our democracy to function seamlessly,all political appointments and contracts offers must be based on merits, but not through vague coloration, nepotism and cronyism.

That said, I do not assent to the seemingly specious view that highly qualified family members and friends of the elected president of the country must not and cannot hold positions in government.

Let us face it, even though the presence of nepotism and cronyism in governance set up is never a serious violation, Article 7 of the UN Convention against Corruption is specific on selection by merit.

Apparently, an official who persistently hires a relative (nepotism) or a friend (cronyism), does so, in exchange, not often of a bribe, but of the less tangible benefit of advancing the interests of others connected to the official.

Unfortunately, however, a leader who opts to surround himself/herself with friends and families does so at his/her own peril.

In any case, all the available evidence shows that some friends and family members of people in high positions more often than nottake advantage of the system.

Take, for example, the actions and inactions of some family members of former President John Mahama, in particular, his brother and businessman, Ibrahim Mahama, have arguably been having deleterious effect on the NDC Party.

In recent times, there have been a lot of allegations levelled against Ibrahim Mahama. The most recent of such allegations is the 30 years bauxite mining lease which was issued by the Ghana Mineral Commission to Ibrahim Mahama and his partners on 29th December 2017, just a little over one week for his brother’s government to exit power.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, many discerning Ghanaians fret thy souls with curses and condemnations.

Rightly so, the vast majority of Ghanaians contend that such a venture is nepotistic and must not and cannot be allowed to proceed without challenging its authenticity.

Of course, we have sycophants, or to put it euphemistically, ‘nodding yes’ men and women, who will always choose to defend their masters’ interests over the national interests.

Thus, it is not surprising to see some Ghanaians, ranging from radio presenters, much touted seasoned journalists and party foot soldiers to ordinary admirers of Ibrahim Mahama frantically defending the indefensible.

After all, didn’t the apple-polishers accuse the NPP government when Ibrahim Mahama was invited by the EOCO to answer questions about an alleged import tax evasion?

Indeed, it was the same brassbound apologists who ungraciously grumbled and squalled over the EOCO’s lawful interrogation of Ibrahim Mahama over the unpaid import taxes.

I am afraid, the chorus bandwagon will continue to sing along their usual witch-hunting rendition whenever their “Messiah” comes face to face with the laws of the country.

Yes, the apologists crudely tagged the interrogation as political witch-hunting. Nevertheless, it came to light that the brother of former President Mahama, Ibrahim Mahama, had not paid his import taxes since 2015.

Well, I am afraid the chorus bandwagon should brace themselves for more of such legal interrogations in the coming months.

With all due respect, why should anyone be concerned of witch-hunters, if he/she is not a witch?

In other words, if you are not a thief, why be concerned of the presence of the police?

Not long ago, it was reported that the businessman and the brother of former President John Mahama, Ibrahim Mahama, was being sued by the SSNIT for unpaid workers’ social security contributions.

According to The SSNIT, Ibrahim Mahama’s company, Engineers and Planners, refused to pay SSNIT contributions of employees for the periods February 2015 to July 2015 and June 2016 to October 2016.

The SSNIT argued that the unpaid contributions amounted to about 700,000 cedis, and the substantive amount attracted a penalty of 400,000 cedis, which brought the total indebtedness to SSNIT to about one million Ghana cedis (See: Ibrahim Mahama sued for not paying workers’ SSNIT contributions; cityfmonline.com/starrfmonline.com, 29/04/2017).

Somehow, the suit came days after Ibrahim Mahama was dragged to the Economic Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for interrogations on alleged malfeasance, after which he was ordered to pay some GHC 12 million.

“The EOCO interrogation had to do with allegations that the brother of former President John Mahama, had issued 44 dud cheques to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as payment of duties at the port.

“The cheques were to offset debts incurred by two companies – MBG Limited and Holman Brothers – for the clearance of some heavy duty equipment at the Tema Port in 2015” (cityfmonline.com, 29/04/2017).

Given all the circumstances, therefore, I will contend that only a disputatious character who will disagree that Ibrahim Mahama’s alleged infractions will not affect John Mahama and NDC’s electoral fortunes futuristically.

Already, many discerning Ghanaians are contending that former President Mahama’s government remains the worst ever in Ghana’s history.

Given such a damning outlook and Ibrahim Mahama’s ostensive public disaffection, I bet, NDC will have a mountain to climb in any future election.

Strangely, though, the loyalists of former President Mahama hold a faint hope that they could bring him back and recapture power in 2020.

Well, I am not a soothsayer, and, more so not fit enough to advise NDC’s Party stalwarts on their choice of a suitable flagbearer.

However, judging from the harsh economic conditions Ghanaians experienced during Mahama’s coarse administration, and Ibrahim Mahama’s apparent public enmity, it will take a miracle for discerning Ghanaians to vote NDC and former President Mahama in 2020.