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14.06.2005 Feature Article

Is the Kuffour Administration driving the NPP into oblivion?

Is the Kuffour Administration driving the NPP into oblivion?
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As a republican (US), I'm a firm believer in the unspoken word of US republican politics, the so-called eleventh commandment, “thou shall not speak ill of a fellow republican”. Today, I'm breaking this unspoken vow to lambaste the Kuffour administration. NPP Credentials I consider myself an ardent disciple of Dr. Busia. I've been through all the political factionalism in Ghana. I was born into a CPP family. I went to Legon as a firebrand socialist radical and graduated as an ardent follower of Dr. Busia. My transformation will be in line with Bernard Shaw's favorite quote made famous by the late CIA Director William Casey “a man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart and a man who is a socialist at age 40 has no head”. I passed this test with distinction because I quit being a socialist in my twenties. I write this article as a founding member of the NPP. Second Term Since President Kufour won his second term, I've learned to dissemble my anguish and sit quietly on the sidelines as long as I could, hoping that the President would spearhead a mid-term correction and nib in the bud the nefarious activities of some of his henchmen that had pervaded his first term. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I've noted with dismay, the increasingly dangerous mess some members of the administration are creating in Ghana. The issue at stake is the survival of democracy in Ghana and the future of the NPP. The consequences of Ghana losing its balance and falling victim to social disorder could be unpleasant for the sub-region. With the turmoil on both sides of its borders in Togo and Ivory Coast, the ramifications of any civil upheaval in Ghana will be too gruesome to fathom. Is a civil upheaval imminent in Ghana? If you believe the subliminal pro-coup canards incessantly issued via the media by Rawlings and his crony Victor Smith, to instigate rebellion in the military, then a coup was imminent. The danger is, a misguided soldier sitting in the barracks somewhere would swallow the disinformation hook, line and sinker and attempt to upset the current constitutional dispensation.

Political Corruption Anybody with love for the motherland should note with concern, media stories of political corruption eating gravely into the fabric of the Ghanaian body politic in the face of the President's pledge of zero tolerance for avarice. The media, even including the sensation seeking tabloids have a done a great job in unearthing the so-called scandalous deals of some government officials. Political corruption, the misuse of political office for private gain is a universal problem. However, it seems that African governments no matter how good-intentioned seem to be particularly susceptible in practice to political corruption. My fear is that, if nothing is done now to stem the tide of perceived corruption in the administration, the president's camarilla of power-hungry, asset-grabbing cronies and hangers-on will transform Ghana into a gigantic banana republic corrupted from the top to the bottom by a rotten clique of miscreants. From cabinet members (Anane) to regional ministers (Edumadze) to family members (Chief Kufour), the semblance of impropriety in the dealings of the aforementioned men, all show a pattern-that the President lacks the will to control corruption in his administration. Politics is all about perception. It's how the good people of Ghana perceive the NPP administration that counts. From the look of things, the perception in Ghana is that the NPP administration is corrupt and even worse than the NDC. Official Response to Media Reports Is the President blowing the chance for a future NPP administration? I hope not. If the allegations that are continually being peddled in the media are accurate, the NPP administration would have surpassed all previous administrations in culpability for graft and avarice. On the other hand, if these allegations are untrue, then the President's Press Office is the most inefficient and inept government organ the Castle has seen in many years. If these allegations are untrue, then I would say journalism in Ghana has indeed gone to the dogs. The late Prof. Paul Ansah will be squirming in his grave. From the substance-deficient Palaver, with its sensation grabbing headlines characteristic of yellow journalism to the tabloid-grade Lens, it would seem that Ghanaian journalism has hit a low ebb. The President's spokesperson has done the President a great disservice. It is not enough for the President's spokesperson to say that despite the indignant protestations of the opposition to the contrary, there is nothing unethical, shady or otherwise untoward about the dealings of the President's son and other leading administration officials accused by the press of political corruption. From its handling of the subliminal pro-coup canards espoused by Rawlings and his aide Victor Smith and relentlessly released via the media to instigate rebellion in the military, to the incessant allegations of corruption in the government by the pro-NDC media, the President's PR team epitomizes the highest form of bureaucratic inertia. I couldn't agree more with M.S. Dworkin that this well meaning ineptitude has indeed risen to the level of empyreal absurdity. The President needs a new PR Team. The President's Son We cannot be sweeping the most recent scandalous allegation concerning the President's son under the rug. I challenge the President to invoke his pledge of transparency and zero tolerance and set up a bipartisan commission to probe the activities of his son. Barring that, Parliament should have subpoena powers to conduct a forensic audit of this hotel project. Enquiring minds want to know what the President knows about the project and when did he know it. How much did Chief personally contribute to the project and what is the source of his fortune? If he earned his money overseas, do the banks show any record of transfer of the funds into the country? Did the President give any family money to the son? What exactly is the role of Chief in this deal? What clinched the deal? Was it clinched because of his management experience, or financial contribution or just right political pedigree? These are valid questions that Ghanaians want answered. The President needs to assure a cynical nation that the sources of his son's finances for this project are not tainted or vitiated with corruption or other illegality. Ghana can ill afford a President whose son in the years immediately preceding his presidency, has lived an otherwise life of parasitic idleness; funded, provided for, looked after and cosseted by a doting father, only to emerge as an astute businessman able to harness questionable capital to finance this hotel project.

In conclusion, if the government intends to win back the public confidence, it must enact political reforms to server any dubious ties to tainted money, show transparency in governance and inculcate honesty and decency in government officials, otherwise in 2008, we will be writing the eulogy of the NPP- and we will be lamenting what a wasted opportunity. Baffour Ennin (Washington DC) Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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