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Opinions of Friday, 23 January 2009

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

When Greed Behold Ex-Presidents and Their Con Men

I read with crippling horror, the news that Kufour, the previous rubber stamp parliament and the infamous Mpainim have once again pulled a fast one on the people of Ghana. Anywhere these two names pop up, nothing good is to be expected. I knew from day one that Kufour was not a force for good but this latest prank, if not shenanigan, really puts the icing on the cake. Here is a man who called Ghanaians lazy but cannot go around and raise money for whatever library he wants to erect. What is ex-president Kufour going to do with all the time he has on his hands? Why should the poor and hardworking taxpayer support Kufour’s library? What will that library house anyway? Plans on how to milk your country dry? How to scheme off the per diem system? What a cynical joke! I bet it won’t be anything worth reading. Isn’t it amazing that Kufour leaves office and cannot sell the unfinished presidential mansion to himself but he issued an order that Jake O. Lamptey should be sold the government house that he lived in as a do nothing minister? If George Bush can be asked to leave the White House on the very day his term ended, why can’t we kick Jake out of state residence for years? And these people have the temerity to talk about rule of law? So this is what they mean by property owning huh? I just finished watching Barrack Obama’s inaugural and I am telling you that we are light years behind. The biggest hurdle we face is this chieftaincy mentality and the sense of entitlement that it tows. Why really must we reward a lazy and clueless coaster like Kufour with any end of service benefits? I mean after all the staggering corruption and robbery that went on?

Why is Kufour so greedy in a sea of arrant want? Does this man have any conscience at all? What really did we get ourselves into with characters like Kufour and Rawlings? George Bush just left office and he did not take a dime with him. Is America not the richest country? Ghana, a poor country that depends on the USA, is bleeding goodies to ex-officials who don’t need or deserve it. Why can’t this man Kufour, just get lost, instead of trying to still tap into our limited resources at a time when doctors cannot be paid well enough to stay and our worm infested kids study under flagging trees? Even if the constitution guarantees all this largesse, why can’t Kufour and JJ both refuse to hug all the goodies just so that our country will have a little more to help the needy? This idea of giving more to the most privileged, in a backdrop of poverty induced deaths and searing hardships must come to a screeching halt. To dull our anger, Rawlings has been swept into the vortex of this latest web of benefits galore despite the booty that he took with him. Sometimes, I am miffed at how people who squawk about injustice and stark need, can become so rapacious in outlook. Corrupt Mpianim and Kufour think they can outsmart us with such mischief. Are we building a monarchy or meritocratic democracy? My friends, you now see before you, the sickening mentality of these royals look alike that I have been working assiduously to expose. These people have no care and seek to feast with all ten fingers.

Well, let me start by telling Hannah Tetteh, the NDC mouthpiece that, we don’t care whether parliament passed this or not. We don’t want any disabling excuses from the NDC. What parliament does, parliament can undo. The NDC majority must immediately repeal this tripe or have trouble on their hands. This decadence must not go forward. If parliament passed it, parliament can undo it and we want this undone immediately or else, there will be hell to pay. The NDC risk being booted out of office if it continues to sit idly with its parliamentary majority. We do not want to go back to the NPP era of helplessness. Ghanaians will not tolerate a cyclical government of cheats. And if Atta Mills is mouth watering over this latest carrot, I have news for him. We need swift action and the NDC better deliver or face the sweeping and far reaching wrath of the suffering voters. Kufour does not deserve even a single car from us and I pray for that day when we can objectively evaluate a president and reward him or her accordingly. We cannot afford to diaper these crooks for life. A failed president like Kufour must never get such decadent treasures from the people. Some nerve these people have to suggest that state property should revert to their relatives if they die. What kind of prattle is that? What really do we owe their relatives? What will my or your relative get when you or I die?

My friends, what really is the rationale behind these elaborate benefits? I don’t believe for a moment that if we don’t give ex-presidents such sweet deals, they will not leave office. In Ghana, presidents are paid and they don’t pay taxes. We cloth and feed them while in office and so, why should they become liabilities festooned to the public treasury when out of office? Why can’t these public charges go and work like Bill Clinton and President Carter? Don’t ex-presidents in Ghana get pension? Are we saying that we are not capable of pushing out a president without pacifying him or her with such lard? George Bush, the president of a super power and rich country, just left office and bought his own house. He did not take a state car with him nor is he demanding all the decadence that the elite continue to pile on. What galled me the most is this clause that requires that we hand over state properties to their relatives once they die. How greedy can these people be? Why can’t their families go out and work like any other Ghanaian? Have they not made enough? What really motivates Kufour’s greed? What really do we owe any family? Under no circumstance should government property pass on to anyone’s relatives! Folks, I told you Kufour and his folks think that Ghana is a monarchy! They are doing everything they can to kill meritocracy. Think for a moment, if a president knows these goodies await him or her, what really is the motivation to do well? If every civil servant can acquire government property and pass it on to his or her family, what will become of country Ghana? Think for a moment about the maintenance cost of what they are asking for. No wonder Victor Smith made them cringe!! While I don’t condone the use of military hoodlums to settle scores, I think Uncle Victor knew exactly the kind of people we are dealing with. Stop them now!

My friends, the media and parliament has failed us big time. We can’t count on these people and institutions to inform us. What really were these parliamentarians thinking when they endorsed this tripe? I am especially pissed at the opposition that saw this and failed to alert us. That is, if they actually saw it. How come the media never sniffed this malodorous scent? To avoid such surreptitious activities, we must pass a law that require that government post in a gazette, all impending bills ahead of time. To sneak such filth on us is despicable and irresponsible. These people are wicked, callous and absolutely insensitive to the needs of our suffering poor. Why should any taxpayer cough up money for Kufour’s travels after all the traveling he did in office? Why does Kufour need 6 cars? How many cars can Kufour drive at a time? How many houses does he need besides the numerous that he is alleged to secretly own? This man is so greedy that despite his own alleged slew of houses, he wants more? What really drives a greedy and callous human being like Kufour? What a flaming shame!

Now to the NDC folks who are glad to expose Kufour’s madness. This crap started with Rawlings! When JJ did something similar, none of you condemned the filth. Now that Kufour is perfecting it, you have the nerve to point fingers. We can and must not condone filth when it is our man and then call for action when the other side does it. The bottom line is that Ghana suffers in the end. We must train our thinking to what benefits Ghana. This blame game and finger pointing only helps the thieving bandits! Look, either way, African leaders will steal and never leave office poor. No amount of after office promises will stop them from fleecing their people. This is why we should not give them a dime when they leave office. Let them fend for themselves just like you and I will have to do when we retire. I call on Rawlings to forfeit all the government property he has been hugging for these years. No matter how small it is. My rationale is that JJ has enough without the goodies. Give it up JJ!! He, JJ, came to office with nothing and now lives in the lap of luxury. Why does he really need any more from us? Why should the taxpayer pay for his travels or other luxuries? Is this the holy worrier that we were led to believe in? Rawlings will endear himself to Ghanaians if he gives up what he took and denounces the latest attempt to include him in this filth. I am confident JJ will not fall for this prank by the greedy Kufour.

Ex-president Kufour, stop being lazy! Go around, just like Clinton, Carter and Bush, and raise your own money to fund whatever library you think you deserve. Go take a loan from the Indians to build your library since that is what you did for the presidential mansion. Frankly, I don’t think you have any legacy worth building a library for but I could be wrong. I suggest that Mr. ex-president goes away quietly and leave us in peace. For 8 years we suffered your misrule and now it is time to permanently get rid of you and your leech-like activities. Go do some real work for a change. We have a lot of work to do with limited resources. The poor and needy still need urgent help. We must not waste anymore time and resources on Kufour! Ghana, we are being told, is broke after you left office Kufour. Now we know why you folks quickly sold Ghana Telecom. And this bit about Ghana being broke is not propaganda from the NDC, but true news from the very World Bank that Kufour used to quote very often and ask for assistance. What more do you need Kufour?

My friends, I have said over and over again, we need to either amend the constitution critically or rewrite it totally. And if we ever get to this piece of business, we better place serious checks on these con men. I would like to suggest that we subject approval of such benefits to a referendum. We must resist the urge to turn this democratic experiment into a rancid drama of greed, power and political royalty endowed with the divine right of inheritance. If we don’t act now to stop this filth, we will create an irrevocable culture of privilege and aristocracy. That will seriously blight our democracy permanently. We must resist this urge now. The poor taxpayer must not be saddled with another burden. Politics should be about service not material gain and freeloading. Enough!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman

(Also known as the double edge sword)

I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell.