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Opinions of Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Columnist: Norvor, Justice Dansu

When are we congratulating Martin Amidu, NDC?

By: Justice Dansu Norvor
Email: justiceshalla@yahoo.com

Once again I have come not to condemn my beloved party, the NDC and not to be misjudged to be the NPP’s Wireku Brobbey but to add my voice to the discerning views being covertly expressed by some of our party stalwarts and footsoldiers on the NDC government’s continuous silence on the great achievements chalked by comrade Martin Amidu.
Many Ghanaians will forever applaud the former Attorney-General for his yeoman job in bringing back to the state and to the people of Ghana more than GHC 50 million of United States dollars that the nation lost in the payment of illegal judgment debts. If one considers the personal sacrifices and challenges Mr. Amidu faced in his fight for national accountability and probity, it would have been appropriate if the Government of Ghana could institute a state honour which could be termed “The Martin Amidu Award for National Accountability” to be awarded to deserving Whistle Blowers and anti-corruption crusaders who will help in our fight against the prevailing massive corruption in government places. Only recently, a report of the Auditor General stated that nearly GHC2 billion cedis had been squandered by public servants in the various ministries, departments and agencies. And, so far, there is no evidence that any of the miscreants involved in those losses are going to be prosecuted. Nor have similar reports from previous Auditor Generals led to any financial recoveries to the people of Ghana. Against this poor history of financial recovery for Ghana of its lost assets, Martin’s achievement stands tall and needs official commendation.
The Finance Minsiter in his Budget statement earlier this year referred to a huge budget deficit of about 12 percent. This means the government spent several billions in 2012 than it earned. This big budget hole is one that the government is struggling hard in 2013 to fill, even at a time when doctors and other have been striking for more money. As the country is faced with a constrained national purse, Martin Amidu’s heroism and selfless sacrifice couldn’t have come at a better time. It is therefore not surprising to hear several praises and commendations from the political divide and from all well-meaning Ghanaians. But as the praise singing continues, one significant absentee from the list of eulogizers is the government itself and even from the very party that made Martin Amidu, the national hero he is today, the NDC. Let us not forget that Martin Amidu was once considered good enough to become the Vice-Presidential candidate to the late John Evans Attah Mills leading to the year 2000 elections and later was considered eminently qualified to serve in the latter’s government as Attorney- General until his sack for disagreements over the same illegal judgment debts payment. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Attorney- General for 12 years under former President Jerry Rawlings. He was also one time, the Presidential Advisor on Legal Affairs, Deputy Secretary of State for the Volta Region, Deputy Secretary of State for Industry, Science & Technology, Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government & Rural Development and a host of others. Martin Amidu therefore is a man of no mean status within the governing NDC and it is this that we as a party ought to gain some positives for his patriotic endowment. I have listened to reactions from Deputy Minister Ayine of the Attorney-General’s departments and also from Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and never had there been a congratulatory message conveyed in their commentaries to our national hero--the once rejected stone. Rather, what we see is the clamoring to eat into Mr. Amidu’s “gargantuan glory”. If it is not that “I have been vindicated” then it is a loud cry that “We gave the support”.
But interestingly, I am dumbfounded at the silence of government apparatchiks who one expects to congratulate Mr. Amidu on behalf of Ghanaians. Just a few days ago, Ghanaians were informed by the Deputy Information Minister, Mutarla Mohammed of the crackdown of those embezzling state coffers at the ports during which a Deputy Director of National Security was apprehended. If this crackdown is to save the country some losses on the national purse, why then we as government, or even as a ruling NDC party do not want to appreciate the yeoman job of the former Attorney- General and Minister of Justice in retrieving this huge sums for the state? Don’t we realize the whole Ghana can notice our silence? Or do we want to give the unfortunate impression that we are unhappy that Mr Amidu has recovered money for all Ghanaians? We were all in this our beloved country when only last year the Japanese government donated earth moving equipments and trucks costing a reported seven million US dollars (US$ 7,000,000) to the National Disaster Management Organization. The commendations from government took a national dimension to the extent of a commissioning program attended by the then Vice- President, now President John Dramani Mahama.
Why then is government not celebrating the landmark legal history that our own party bigwig brought to us? Or is it that, the 25million euro to be refunded to government by Waterville Holdings in addition to the $325,472 of Isofoton S.A are so meager to attract the recognition given to the recent loans from the Japanese, the French and the Chinese governments?
At a time when the NADMO boss, Kofi Portuphy is crying for funds to run this critical state agency, one would have considered it appropriate if this payback of these illegal judgment debts be channeled to Disaster Management so as to make the desired impact in the lives of the Ghanaians that Martin Amidu fought for and continue to fight for. Hope you don’t forget Mr. Amidu has another GHc 51million of what he termed “gargantuan crime” still to win for Ghana. As I don’t want to be held in contempt, I rest my case on businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome for the High Court.
If government seems unmoved by this victory, the least said about the NDC as a party that Mr. Amidu stood for on account of our principles of probity, accountability and transparency, the better. Ghanaians are yet to hear any comments from the leadership of the party. If the electoral petition has taken a toll on the General Secretary and the Chairman, why have we not heard from, Comrades Kofi Adams and Kofi Portuphy who are deputies to Asiedu Nketia and Dr. Kwabena Adjei respectively. Or are they taking instruction from the powers that be to remain mute? Has Martin Amidu not proven to Ghanaians and the international community that at least in the NDC, we have check and balances that the tax payer be rest assured that the national purse is not drained under our watch. Has he not also proven that, our core values of probity, accountability and transparency are not mythical but real? Is it not in the NDC’s interest to present itself to Ghanaians as a Party whose leading members can recover money for Ghana, when no NPP person has been able to do as much? How does distancing the NDC from Martin’s achievement help the party as a whole? I salute the founder, Jerry Rawlings for using the platform in Abuja to commend the former Attorney General for his unique and exemplarily fight for Ghana. You (Rawlings) just proved once again, your principles that led you to the revolution- the principle of accountability. And many other national executive members ought to follow Chairman Rawlings, to give credit when it is due and to give honour to whom honour is due. In the first place, if the property owning NPP government under John Agyekum Kuffour were to do the right thing in the national interest, the late Mill’s government wouldn’t have “inadvertently” paid for these gargantuan crimes against the nation.
President Mahama’s government should however be applauded for given the enabling environment for Comrade Amidu to succeed in his case as he never had the chance in the previous government which all culminated in his sacking and the subsequent vilification from within his own party and colleague ministers. For President Mahama to set up a special committee and to appoint a sole commissioner for judgment debts is indeed a great sign for better things to come for Ghana. The President’s resolve to fight corruption in government places is undoubted and I urge Ghanaians to exercise tolerance and confidence in him to wipe out the canker that seemed to be walking freely on the principal streets of Ghana in five piece coat suits.
Ghana has finally come to the crossroad, where confidence in Public Financial Management and control will be very high. The positives that we have gained as a nation, is that, many Martin Amidu’s will soon sprout out, he has opened the corridor for more of his kinds. He has become a mentor to the youth and even some of his colleagues who once prayed for his crucifixion confided in me that, he has won their respect. This will put public servants in red-alert on the use of the nation’s meager resources and I am proud Mr. Amidu has in a way restored the integrity of the NDC and the principles on which the party was founded. The payment of these illegal judgment debts had cast a shadow of public suspicion on the NDC government for sometime now as our unfortunate error was trying to correct the ineptitudes of the previous NPP government of John Kuffour. Many of us in the NDC are finally relieved as the matter is finally laid to rest by one of our own and not our political opponents who have been trying to win cheap political points.
Kudos to you Comrade Martin Amidu and the rest of the party stalwarts who at many points in time expressed discerning views in the collective interest of the party and the nation. Your selfless inputs and stands are helping deepen the social democratic credentials of the NDC. It is verily true that we shall all indeed perish if we were to join the same boat in case it capsizes as evident in the judgment debt case. All we need to do is to pull ourselves together as a party in this prevailing circumstance so as to put our political opponents to shame. Let’s be united as ever before. The Waterville and Isofoton cases have also further strengthened the belief of many leading members that those party gurus who had been discriminated upon and maligned for their outspoken posture to internal party issues be accorded the respect and recognition due them. Our government would be stronger if these people of high repute are given the chance to help President Mahama accomplish the Better Ghana Agenda. Let my dear party for once in many years, accept that parochial interest has eaten too deep into our fabrics and wake-up and put the collective vision of the masses as priority.

It is in order that Mr Kofi Adams has been reinstated as a Deputy General Secretary of the Party. The Party should also invite back as Vice Chairman, Dr Spio-Garbrah, who resigned in 2012 without contesting any internal elections. More work needs to be done by both the NDC party and the President to win back many former MPs and former Cabinet Ministers who were not re-elected or re-appointed, so as to reduce the bile of bitterness at many levels of the Party. Dr Kwabena Adjei and Mr Asiedu-Nketsia, after doing good work to win two elections for the NDC in 2008 and 2012 should bow out gracefully after 8 years in office and not attempt to hold on to their seats. Good leaders, like President Rawlings and Prof Mills, groom others to take over from them.
There is much hope in Ghana now than ever before. We now have oil, a modest and humble President who is eager to listen- a President by all indication, a divine act of God to lead Ghana to the Promised Land. With the likes of Martin Amidu there as a watchdog, the only missing link is for President Mahama to put together a team of competent Ministers and technocrats who understand the problem of the masses. We still have some competent and highly regarded NDC loyalists out there who have been overlooked and who the foot soldiers are eager to see helping President Mahama as they did in previous governments under the NDC. Their involvement will increase public confidence and trust in our leadership. Let our National Executive Committee sit up and resolve all other outstanding differences with some of our aggrieved party stalwarts who have remained silent and dormant on party activities and convince them to join the national course. As I have emphatically stated in my recent must read article “21 years of NDC, What Next?” http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=277683 or http://news.peacefmonline.com/features/201306/167329.php.
We ought to put our egos to the dustbin and create a synergy that will enhance the effectiveness of our leadership and government. I have heard many regrets from leading party members who taunt the actions and inactions of others that led to some strong personalities in the party being ostracized to the detriment of the party and the nation. Yet they seemed to be reserved in expressing their frustration openly for now in order not to be victimized also. In anyway, our delegates and footsoldiers are watching with eagle eyes how the national executives address these germane concerns before the delegate congress come December 2013.
Finally, I am concluding with my earnest call for government and the national executive of the NDC to extend a word of appreciation to Mr. Martin Amidu for his victory for Ghana. All of Ghana is waiting, and the silence of the government and party are deafening.
Long Live the NDC, the Great Akatamanso
Long Live Jerry Rawlings and John Mahama
Long Live our Homeland Ghana
By: Justice Dansu Norvor
Email: justiceshalla@yahoo.com