Feature Article of Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

NPP On Cocaine: Obetsebi-Lamptey Is Pathetic!

Feature Article by Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

'Ghana's election campaign could be tarnished by money from West African
drug trafficking, an official has said. Kwesi Aning, head of research at the
Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, said the "very
fabric" of Ghanaian society was under threat.

- BBC. 'Drugmoney 'tainting Ghana poll', 28 October 2008 18:46 GMT

In a news story which first appeared on Joy Online and reported in the
General News of Monday, 27 June 2011, on Ghanaweb, Nameand shame politicians
who use narcotic money - Dr. Aning, Dr. Aning, who is the Director of
Research at the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Centre says, the call by the
Director of NACOB, Mr. Akrasi Sarpong, who in an interview told Joy FM's
Sammy Darko said that "if any politician dares us (NACOB) and uses narcotics
money for politics, that person will be sorry. Whether you are an NDC or NPP
or CPP or whatever, you will be sorry," is timely.

Dr. Aning appeared to be confirming what Mr. Akrasi Sarpong said. He was
reported as saying "There is a long lasting relationship between narcotic
money and the funding of political party activities in Ghana."

Dr. Aning said “Narcotics, whether it is Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin,
Ephedrine, Methamphetamine or [others] is beginning to pose both a political
and security threat to this country. We are now internationally known not
only as a traffic country or a transit country but as a country where the
impact of these narcotics are beginning to have a cumulative negative

A narco-state is a clear nightmare. Apart from the direct devastations by
the drug on families, they come in with guns. Mexico is as dangerous as
Afghanistan, even though the war there is different. It is a war of drug
cartels. There is not a single Ghanaian who will not be negatively impacted
by a full-blown narco-state. That is why this is more than enough to deny
the NPP at the ballot en masse.It behoves on each responsible citizen to
compel all political parties to tow the line.

First, it will drive away good business. This simply means more and more
mouths to feed and less and less food to put into those mouths. As our
population increases, job opportunities would be decreasing, only to be
replaced by criminality. Furthermore, this would also mean that Ghanaians
would no longer be able to travel freely. The few who manage to get visas
shall be subjected to some of the most humiliating searches, such as peeps
into the anus by Customs officials, at international airports, simply
because they are carrying Ghanaian passports! This is what happens to
citizens of countries which are designated as transit points for illicit
drugs. Who wants this to happen to our country?

And the threat is growing. According to Dr. Aning, "the trade is growing as
it has been discovered that between eight and fifteen percent of the
narcotics entering main land Europe come through Ghana." Clearly, something
correct needs to be done, and every peace-loving Ghanaian must support the
initiatives to get on top on the fight by drug barons to steal our
sovereignty and peace from us.

I was therefore extremely surprised that instead of lending the necessary
moral support and the boost that is needed to make Ghana clean, the Chairman
of the NPP is the only leader of a political party in Ghana not to take
kindly to the words of the NACOB capo. What even makes this extremely
strange and unnecessary was the fact that the NACOB boss was absolutely
non-partisan in his warning: he mentioned all the political parties:

"if any politician dares us (NACOB) and uses narcotics money for politics,
that person will be sorry. Whether you are an NDC or NPP or CPP or whatever,
you will be sorry!" He did not mention any goat. All he said was that "his
outfit has information that some politicians are heavily funded by drug
barons adding that NACOB will deal with any politician caught to be using
proceeds from the illicit trade notwithstanding the party that the person
belongs to."

Of course, he added that "as the 2012 general elections approaches, NACOB
will be very vigilant and monitor the situation carefully to bring to book
any culprit found."

Why should any one who has nothing to do with drugs have an issue with this?
Instead of welcoming and declaring his support, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey,
reacting to the comments by the NACOB Boss on the Citi Eyewitness News, on
Monday June 27, ordered Mr Akrasi Sarpong to "provide evidence to his claims
and avoid speaking loosely."

Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey complained:
“This is why people who are put in positions like this should not speak
loosely, if things that you say, without providing any supporting evidence
has the capacity to taint a person or a group of persons then you should
avoid making certain comments at all."

This is in spite of the glaring fact that "no stolen goat has so far been
mentioned" A fact which normally should make all "goats" comfortable, seems
to irk some:

"If you really have any evidence that political parties are being financed
by illicit drug whether from barons or not from barons then come out with
evidence. But to come out to say generally that you are not going to allow
political parities to be funded by drug money then straight away you are
turning round to say that this is happening." Obetsebi-Lamptey is reported
to have stated.

Indeed, the information concerning the names of the goats that the chairman
of the NPP, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey is publicly seeking from the NACOB
boss, is the kind of information that any drug-pusher would pay huge sums of
money to obtain: questions like, “what kind of leads do they have on me”? I
was therefore amused to read Obetsebi Lamptey asking the NACOB boss to name
politicians on the NACOB's list.

I was equally satisfied with the response from the NACOB boss to the NPP
Chairman's call for the name of suspected politicians to be released, see:
General News of Tuesday, 28 June 2011, NACOBboss refuses to name politicians
on narcotic money list:

"The Executive Secretary of the Narcotic Control Board, Yaw Akrasi Sarpong
has said he cannot be forced to disclose identities of suspected drug
dealers on his watch list.

Defending his reason to issue the warning, Mr Sarpong said there are various
ways to fight crime and the people who are involved need to know that they
are being watched so that they can stay away from it."

Which makes complete nonsense of Obetsebi-Lamptey's rantings:

“If it is happening and you are in charge to make sure that it doesn't
happen then you should make sure that it doesn't happen and not to generally
castigate people in that light”.

And more so, when cast against a background where other experts have even
been more categorical in the past:

"Some of these guys were my mates in school and they were not too
successful, and they've been in politics for less than 10 years," Dr. Aning
told the BBC in an interview on 28 October 08, "You don't make that kind of
money in 10 years."

He said he was talking about people "running for parliament, who are
ministers, wanting to run for president". This was in 2008.

"It's not only about politics or politicians, it's about the police service,
it's about customs, it's about immigration, it's about the judiciary, it's
about our traditional institutions," he said.

"What I'm saying is that the very fabric of Ghanaian society is under

"Ghana's politicians say they are determined to fight drug trafficking, but
many question whether the political will exists in a society where
corruption is a major problem," BBC West Africa correspondent Will Ross
reported in 2008, when the NPP was in power.

What Obetsebi-Lamptey's reaction tells me is that there is no longer even
such a determination in the leadership of the NPP, if any ever existed, and
Obetsebi-Lamptey's reaction must be seen in terms of the level of the
political will to fight the crime.

Mr Aning also said in the BBC story that "political rhetoric needed to be
followed by action, suggesting there should be more sniffer dogs and better
exchanges of intelligence."

From the hostile reaction of Jake to the very topic, we can not even talk
about a "political rhetoric" to rid Ghana of narcotics, let alone to "follow
it with action". It is simply no longer on the agenda of the NPP. What will
happen now, since even at the time they were only at the level of "political
rhetoric", they were actively assisting drug smugglers to evade the law? My
real fear is what is going to happen should these people return to power!

We should not too soon forget the fact that Addo Kufour, the president's
brother and then Minister of the Interior, run away from the then BBC's West
African correspondent, Mr. Will Ross, because he was not prepared to answer
questions about how he was fighting the drugs trade, after the arrest and
subsequent release without charge or trial of five women of the Executive
Committee of the Women's Wing of the Dzorwulu NPP were busted at the Kotoka
airport whilst attempting to board an airline bound to the United States
with large quantities of heroin.

This was the last straw that broke the camel's back, and Ghana's credibility
in the fight against narco-trafficking, under the NPP Administration, came
to its lowest point. It was a shame to readon BBC: "Ghana's interior
ministry has so far declined to grant an interview on drug trafficking"!
Indeed, if Obetsebi-Lamptey had not asked the NACOB boss to mention the
goats, we would have missed the best part of the story. After declaring that
he is keeping the names closely to his chest, Mr. Akrasi Sarpong further
expressed disappointment in the manner in which the case involving the
missing parcels of cocaine was handled in the past.

“In the past the police did a beautiful work. That work that was done by the
police was not backed by the hierarchy of the police. It was done by
officers who were down the line. Look we know what happened,” he said.

Security analyst, Dr. Kwesi Aning concurs:
"There is a long lasting relationship between narcotic money and the funding
of political party activities in Ghana."

Our reputation as a narco-state would have been firmly established had the
NPP won the 2008 Parliamentary and especially, the Presidential elections.
Barely after two years of coming into power of President Mills, the tides
changed. I was very relieved to read the General News of Thursday, 4
February 2010, U.S.Hails Ghana's Track Record, The story read:

"The United States government has commented Ghana for the progress it has
made in the fight against drug trafficking, saying the gains are impressive.

Johnnie Carson, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, at a
meeting with President Mills at the Castle, Osu yesterday said the
cooperation between Ghana and the US and other partners in the fight against
drug trafficking and other cross-border crimes was yielding impressive

My reaction to the news on ghanaweb.com speaks for itself:

“Author: Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.
Date: 2010-02-04 09:43:42

Hi NANA Ø !!.
One reason why I worked day and night to ensure the defeat of the NPP at the
last polls was the danger they posed in the development of a narco state
with all the attendant problems of violent crimes and the inconvenience of
having our private parts including anus carefully screened at all
international airports each time you travel overseas, all because of these
greedy bastards! We were quite close to it! It was such a pity to see Addo
Kufour, the president's brother and then Minister of the Interior, running
away from the BBC's West African correspondent Mr. Will Ross because he was
not prepared to answer questions about the arrest and subsequent release
without charge or trial of five women of the Executive Committee of the
Women's Wing of the Dzorwulu NPP were busted at the Kotoka airport whilst
attempting to board an airline bound to the United States with large
quantities of heroin. Rumours have it that it took the timely and personal
intervention of the President's wife, Madam Theresa Kufour to get these drug
barons off the hook! Oh Ghana! Even our First Lady became complicit in the
narcotics business!

This reports coming from the USA makes me heave a big sigh of relief! I am
happy I supported the NDC against the NPP! And it gives me so much pleasure
as this piece of news encourages me to do so again come 2012!

We shall not sit down and allow the illicit business of a greedy and
unconscionable few to put at risk a dignified flight through international
airports without curious anti-drug enforcement officials peeping through
your anus simply because you are carrying a Ghanaian passport!

Thank you very much President Mills! You are a President worthy of respect!

Have a nice day Nana O!!.”
The problem is not simply one of dry bones being mentioned in a proverb, and
old people feeling unease; it is also about how this unease is expressed.
Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey got the most nonsensical set of words ever to be
uttered by any politician in the NPP expressing such perfectly
understandable unease! And this “style” of leadership looks certain to
continue. A famous Roman general once said “I more fear a stupid ally than I
fear a clever enemy”. How right he was! With problems of cocaine abuse of
his own to deal with, and hanging like a dark cloud over the party's
flag-bearer's head, Akufo-Addo must be savouring the simplicity of the truth
of the Roman general's rather candid observation.

Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!!
Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.
Blog: /nanaakyeamensah.blogspot.com/
Twitter: /twitter.com/TheOdikro
There are hypertext links to some of the news stories referred to in the
article, which may not appear in this publication, interested readers who
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