He did well at the parliamentary committee investigating him. He had prepared adequately and had smart answers to the questions asked him. The allegations of impropriety, conflicts of interest, etc. against him have remained so: allegations and rumours. No court has found him guilty of any wrong doing now or in the past.
The global conditions that hit us are not his doing. He did everything right to prepare us for the shocks. Someone else in his position may have done worse and we may have found ourselves in an even deeper mess than we are now.
So, let us say, for the sake of argument that Ken Ofori-Atta (whose late father taught me, and a generation of Ghanaians, FUE Economics at Legon in the mid-70s) is as blameless as the spotless white dresses he wears. Even so, there are still strong reasons for him to resign as Finance Minister. He must do so as a matter of principle. It is also a matter of honour – a gentleman’s honour.
There are times in the affairs of every nation when high officials resign their posts not because they have done anything particularly bad but because circumstances beyond their control conspire to deal them a very bad hand. Such a time has come for Ken.
The nation is in distress. Everyone is feeling the pangs of the hard economic situation. There is justified anger against a government that was met with a lot of goodwill when it first took office six years ago. The people want a fall guy. And the right person is Ken Ofori-Atta. He should take the blame for the sorry state of the economy whether he was responsible for it or not.
It cannot be Ken Ofori-Atta’s cousin, the President, who should resign. Article 69 of the 1992 Constitution makes it difficult to remove the President from office. Any attempt to impeach his cousin the President will not pass the first hurdle which is the Supreme Court that his cousin the President has packed with his appointees. Ghanaians can wait out the two remaining years of his cousin the President’s term. But Ken Ofori-Atta must go now.
Unless he is a very stubborn man and not a gentleman!
Some of us suspect that Ken Ofori-Atta, an honourable and religious man, knows the honourable thing to do. He may have discussed the matter at length with his cousin the President and offered to resign. But his cousin the President asked him to storm it out and promised to support him. But if Ken is, indeed, an honourable man, he must put pressure on his cousin the President to let him go. He should tell him to remove this cup from him.
There is no reason for him to want to stay on. There’s nothing he can want to prove within two years to justify his staying on. The budget he presented cannot redeem him. Our economic problems will not be solved by abolishing hampers. Insisting on staying on can be viewed with suspicion. People may begin to believe that he has some sinister motives for staying on. And we know he is an honourable man who wears white all the time.
There is no need for Ken Ofori-Atta to insist on staying on to conclude the ongoing IMF negotiations. Such negotiations are carried on by a team of experts. The team can continue where he left off or take the opportunity to chart another path.
If he resigns, the nation will thank him for his invaluable services to the nation. He may even get some public sympathy and forgiveness. Ghanaians are a very forgiving people. Didn’t we forgive Asamoah Gyan even if we have not forgotten how he broke our hearts?
The chiefs of his tribe who came to Parliament House to give him support during the grilling may be disappointed over his resignation. But they will get over it. Yes, they will. We are all Ghanaians.
Then his cousin the President will inform the nation in another one of his numerous “Fellow Ghanaians” addresses and tell us that he was compelled to accept the resignation of his cousin the Finance Minister who insisted on it. He does not need to inform the nation through another directive signed by his secretary, Nana Asante Bediato, who also happens to be another one of his cousins.
You see, the three of them are first cousins (“brothers” in our African tradition) who are bound to hold out for each other. And all of us will understand that because we are all Ghanaians...
Kofi Amenyo ([email protected])