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Opinions of Monday, 11 January 2010

Columnist: Ashiagbor, Kwaku Kele

The Ghanaian Condition (Part 4)

The saga of Ex-Gratia Payments to former Heads of State,Parliamentarians,Ex-Speaker of Parliament and other State Officials has raised its head again. Mr.Kwesi Pratt Jnr in an article posted on Ghanaweb of Friday the 8th of January strongly suggested that this Ex-Gratia payments should be discontinued with immediate effect.

Kwesi, I could not agree with you more.In my first article on this very topic posted on Ghanaweb on April 5th 2009 I also expressed similar sentiment. With all due respect,the drafters of the 1992 Constitution especially that of Article 71 might have slept on the job. If not how on earth can any reasonable person suggest giving so much to one individual at the expense of the total mass of Ghanaians whose sweat and labour will be used in paying these individuals. Are some Ghanaians more deserving than others?

A case in point is the notorious Chinnery Hesse Committee set up by the clever Ex-President Kufour and the attendant recommendations of this Committee.The recommendations are as such the notorious Al Capone and his gangsters could not have done a better job. In a nutshell Ghanaians are being treated as people with sub-human brains who will passively accept anything just because President Kufour’s Committee has said so because that is what Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution said.Well,this particular Ghanaian will not accept it.

We were all in this country when Mr. Harruna Esseku stated categorically that they used to collect BRIBES FROM CONTRACTORS and that he personally will take those monies in the boot of a car and deliver them to President Kufour at the castle. As of today President Kufour has not come out to deny it. Not only that, President Kufour has cleverly devised a schme of pocketing so much state funds by embarking on numerous overseas trips and pocketing thousands of dollars per each trip.

We are glad that sooner or later the Freedom of Information Bill will be passed by Parliament and we shall all know how much ex-President Kufour pocketed by this clever devise. Conrtast this with the current President Atta Mills who doe not take a Penny as per-diem when outside the country and you will truly know who is a true patriot or citizen of this country. The other bizarre aspect is that after every 4 years our Parliamentarians are to be given GHc80,000 as an ex-gratia. Mr Pratt vividly buttressed his case with the example of Hon E.T Mensah who has been in Parliament since 1992 and has been receiving ex-gratia every four years. The question Iam asking is that as a nation are we so stupid to allow this State Looting to continue ad infinitum? If that is the case then we all need our heads examined.This can only happen in Ghana.

Let us ask ourselves this simple question? How much does the teacher,nurse ,policeman,civil servant and other workers take home at the end of their service? I said it elsewhere in my second article and Iam saying here again: President Mills,please be bold and ACT DECISIVELY. Ghanaians will not forgive you if you Fail on this score. No Ghanaian is more deserving than the other ,what is good for the goose is equally good for the gender.

The second issue you should look seriously and tell Ghanaians the WHOLE TRUTH is that of the VODAPHONE SAGA.The rumours flying are doing your Government no good at all. Remember one day the truth will come out as there is no secret under the sun. Posterity will not forgive or look kindly on your presidency if you do not tackle these issues head on.

I sincerely hope that commentaries on this article will be devoid of the usual name calling and partisan vitriolic attacks but based soley on the issues raised.

Kwaku.Kele.Ashiagbor