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11.02.2009 Feature Article

The Saga of Asaga: Has he been made a political scapegoat?

The Saga of Asaga: Has he been made a political scapegoat?

By far I think Hon. Moses Asaga has distinguished himself as one of the faithful foot soldiers of the NDC over the years. In recent years Moses Asaga marshalled support for the cause of President Atta-Mills when some members of the then opposition NDC questioned his ability to lead the party to victory in the just ended election. He has constantly been a strong voice for the NDC in opposition as a shadow finance spokesperson. A couple of years ago, he challenged the budget and called it the 'wahala' budget which eventually gave birth to a series of 'wahala' campaigns by the Committee for Joint Action (CJA).

For me Kweku Objective, viewing Moses Asaga's political philosophy through the lens of objectivity, I see Mr. Asaga as a moderate and somewhat objective politician. He gave credit to the NPP where he thought credit was due and constructively criticised them when they needed to be criticised and brought to order.

Last Friday news of Asaga's involvement in the signing off the payment of ex-gratia awards for ex-presidents and other state functionaries broke out in Ghana. This news is quiet interesting because so far it is reported that at least six former and current Members of Parliament (MPs) have already received their ex-gratia payments. We still can't seem to know which people have already cashed in but they are still in and around. I remember my secondary school days, when there was demonstrations regarding dinning hall food, some students would sneak out, go and satisfy their bellies with the same food they are protesting over and then re-join the demonstrators with shouts of yendi ooo, yendi!(we will not eat) There is so much political hypocrisy in Ghana today. At present some speculations even have it that Presidential spokesperson Hon. Ayariga has even collected but that has to been verified. This was the same person who apparently was alleged to have given the green light to Asaga to go on the signing spree.

I am not condoning what Mr. Asaga has done because he should have consulted the other members of the Sub-committee on Finance and the President before signing for the approval of payments. But other reports indicate he might have signed off the documents even before the issue came into the public domain.

My question is would Moses Asaga's saga be rumbling on today if the Chinery-Hesse report had not raised eyebrows in the nation? Is he been made a sacrificial political scapegoat for what a sizable number of current and former state functionaries are or would be enjoying? It is very unfortunate that a man with the wealth of experience and political pedigree has to fall prey to this political game. This reminds me of what happened to Mallam Issa in the early days of the President Kufour administration.

I recommend a proper investigation be carried out into this issue. If it is found that Mr. Asaga failed to follow proper procedure by signing off and approving the payment, then not only should he be withdrawn but proper action should be taken. On the other hand if he signed off the document before the presidential intervention, then his nomination should be restored.

May be the Asaga saga is a typical case of many lobbyists chasing fewer political appointments thus one has to be very tactical in playing this game of political scarcity else the would be substituted by elimination. I mean your post would be given to another person given the least margin of error. At least let's us commend President Atta Mills for the swift manner in which he has made an example of one of his own. This is a strong statement of intent to any corrupt people in and out of government that they won't have it easy. I hope this continues unabated.

Some have already collected the cash and walked off quietly whilst Asaga's saga rumbles on. For friends of Asaga, the saga of Asaga will make them 'basaa (worried).
Whether he has collected his portion am not sure but at least he should have also been a bit sensitive with the plight of Ghanaians and treaded cautiously and he wouldn't have been asking His Excellency President Mills to tamper mercy with justice.

This is a lesson for all. A word to the wise is enough! Thank you.

By: Kweku Afful, a.k.a Dr. Objective. [Email: [email protected]]
(This writer is always asking intuitive questions that will aid national development. My objective is to see a 'corruption free' Ghana where people are given equal opportunities to excel irrespective of their tribe, colour, creed, religion, gender or age. Join Kweku Objective on this crusade) God Bless you!

Kweku Afful
Kweku Afful, © 2009

This author has authored 32 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwekuAfful

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