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07.03.2009 Feature Article

The Voice of the People is the Voice of God.

The words of our elders are words of wisdom. The wise man hears and gets wiser. The slave is always a victim of the master's over-zealousness and foolishness. But at times, his views are sought on some very sensitive matters. Neglect his advice and that will spell doom for you. And so the slave too has his day. What will be will be and so, we should let our “Yes” be”Yes” and our “No” be “No”. It is often said that each bubble in a cooking pot of soup fights so hard for supremacy that none listens to the cry of the pot itself; so when the pot burns, all the bubbles perish. It is the way a child opens his hand that a piece of meat is given to him

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The earth says that a corpse is not a new thing to her. Problems are nothing new to mankind but the truth remains that while some are frightened by their problems, others allow their problems to crush them; still there are others who rather than allow their problems to frighten or crush them, would face them squarely and conquer them. Yet still are others who rather than face their problems squarely blame someone else or seek support for their point of view when it is wrong.

The short of this all is that, we cannot postpone to tomorrow what we can do for the youth today.

In steering the affairs of our Ship of State, our Captain must act firmly and must be seen to be doing that. A King, after all, must be ruling and not be reigning. This is the essence of our Presidential System of Government.

President Mills was elected by the good people of Ghana and entrusted with a specific mandate – To ensure that our Ship of State does not founder on the high seas. And how best our Captain is able to handle his primary assignment would depend on how best he is able to harness or tap from the pool of resources available to him at every point in time. Depending on the depth of character and sterling qualities of the Captain, he can either attain success or mar the success of his administration.

Even though Ghana and Nigeria operate similar systems of Government, for both are Presidential in nature, a major difference exists between the two. But even here, the differences exist because of character traits of the leaders and occupants of the positions at a particular point in time. Whereas Ghana's own tends to be liberal, that of Nigeria tends to tilt towards totalitarianism and dictatorship.

Examine the following scenario. The President, Chief Aremu Okikiade Olusegun Obasanjo falls out with his party Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh after the latter had publicly criticized the President on a very sensitive national issue. The President had made known his feelings and intentions towards his Party Chairman. – He Must Resign!

However, after some “friendly overtures” initiated by party elders, the two antagonists smoked the peace pipe by publicly embracing each other over a pot of pepper soup and some balls of pounded yam, the President's favourite. The two even composed and sang a duet during their public show of friendship.

That same night, the President, accompanied by three of his most trusted bodyguards stormed the residence of the Ogbehs and subject occupants of the house to a very gruel some and horrendous experience. The entire household was virtually under siege for nobody could neither enter nor leave. The Chief's own daughter was prevented from entering her father's house.

Armed with a pistol, the President demanded the resignation of the party's chairman in advance. The Chief stood his ground and insisted he would only resign after he had had consultations with the party elders. A battle of wills then ensued. It lasted only for a brief period as the President's orderlies whipped the embattled Chairman into submission by ensuring he towed the line of the Presidency. The President was persuaded to go home but not before leaving two of his personal securities behind to ensure compliance with the Presidential directive. This was done. But the letter of resignation was not on the party's letterhead. Why? Because, it was hurriedly done at home where he did not have access to the party's stationery.

During Nkrumah's time, all party members, especially those holding ministerial/cabinet ministers feared the News Bulletin at One O'clock very much. Why? Because that was the period our Osagyefuo chose to dismiss those who had lost out and favour with him. The President could even relieve you of your appointment on mere suspicion of having said or done something negative about the party or the President's himself. One could be removed from office without prior notice. It was humiliation at its height. But in some instances those who got the sack indeed merited their dismissal for indulging in one form of malfeasance or the other.

I do remember an incident which involved the then Kwame Kwakye, District Commissioner for Oda and a Nigerian who had won C92,000,000.00[Ninety Two Thousand Cedis only. In those days, the fear of DC Kwakye was the beginning of wisdom in and around Oda and its environs where the D.C held sway as Lord and Manor of his Fief.. He was the alpha and omega of his fiefdom. The long and short of it is that, the Nigerian realized his deficiency and so approached the then District Commissioner to open and operate an account on his behalf.

Infact, it was a windfall for the D.C. for that was what he dad been praying for all the time. Anytime a withdrawal was made by the Nigeria who resided at Takorowase, D.C Kwakye would also make a withdrawal. The cat was let out of the Nigerian got to know the amount of money left in his account. The President acted fast very fast. D.C.Kwakwe was arrested prosecuted, convicted and sentenced.

When the late Krobo Edusei, also a Minister in Nkrumah's government got himself a golden bed, the President felt that was the mother of all impudence. He confiscated the bed. Then came Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor who had a golden opportunity to have written their names in gold as anti-corruption crusaders, but strangely and sadly enough, they let gold of such golden opportunity..

What is the purpose of all this long talk? I have written this piece to advice and admonish the powers that be to be pro-active and fair in their decision taking. They should also learn to strike fast and hard when the iron is red and hot.. I have nothing personal against Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni. He is a nice gentleman and a patriotic Ghanaian. But like what Paul wrote to some churches in Greece, “nevertheless, I have these against you. What I have against him is based on personal principles. I often wonder what is wrong with those of us from this part of the globe. We do things with impunity and dare others to do their worst if they don't like out actions. In the developed world, anytime an allegation is made against any Government or Public Servant, he /she either resigns or at worst, steps aside for proper investigation to be conducted. But it is not so in this part of our world.

Presidents Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Leopold Senghor of Senegal are a few of such Africans who resigned on their own volition. In Zimbabwe, the old Trojan horse, Robert Mugabe, after harassing, intimidation and in some cases hounding his political opponents like Edson Sithole, Reverend Ndabaninge Sithole and Joshua Nkomo and others into exile is still clinging on to power with the help of his ethnic people in the military knowing very well that he has overstayed his welcome and that he had no moral authority to govern after years of inefficiency, ineptitude, implanting bad, obnoxious and bad and unpopular policies.

The Mills administration is facing one of the strongest challenges in its life and the success or failure of the administration depends on how best he and the NDC are able to handle the situation. It will also depend to a larger extent, how public opinion influences it into taking some firm decision, no matter how unpleasant such decisions might be.

The Auditor General had commissioned a private audit company to audit the Foreign Minister and Regional Integration at the time he held sway at the Ministry of Social Welfare. The audit report indicted and implicated him during the period for causing the transfer of Eight Billion Cedis into the accounts of National Vocational Training Institute without parliamentary approval contrary to Financial Administration Regulations.

What is bad is bad and what is wrong is wrong, no matter who is involved. As a Foreign Minister, his credentials must be such that there will be no question mark on him. Birds of the same feathers, the saying goes, congregate together. With such damning forensic audit report hanging on his head, are the countries that he goes not going to think all Ghanaians are “Crooks”. After all, “Caesar's wife must be above suspicion”. As long as the damning report hangs over his neck his continuous clinging on to threat portfolio will bring the Ministry into disrepute. And as long as the damning forensic audit report remains, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni's character and credibility will remain issues for a long time to come.

Alhaji Mumuni had ample time to have set in motion the process to clear his good name. Thus, it has become an albatross hanging on his neck. And since this albatross like the AIDS Virus is infectious, I appeal to the Mills Government not to allow itself to be bogged by the Mumuni controversy which will eventually be a recipe to also acquire the virus. It is too early in the administration to be bogged down by this life threatening virus.. Under the circumstances, the only logical thing to do is to resign the appointment forthwith and take steps to clear his name. Anything short of that will spell doom and disaster for the administration.

Alhaji Mumuni should not hide under the cloak of one technicality or the other in the system. The simple truth is that he has been indicted by the Auditor General. Is that not the case? If it is what are we quarrelling about? As things stand now, his continuous clinging onto his office would thwart further investigation into the issues. There is the possibility of using his office and state apparatus to further his personal interest in the matter.

When Richard Anane faced a similar problem, most of us felt at that time that he should resign and take relevant steps to clear his name which he did. Even though, we were not happy over the fact that the then president kept the Transportation Ministry for two years without a substantive minister, the good thing about the whole thing was that he did indeed listened to sound and practical advice and threw in the towel at the time he did. He breezed the trail and set an example for others to follow. That was a mark of great courage. Alhaji should follow suit and resign. He should not play the role of the Emperor Hero who chose to wine and dine whilst Rome was on fire.

I do not want to go into the merits and demerits of the controversial decisions he took in contravention of the constitution of the country. But the fact still remains that he has been implicated in a forensic audit report.

Let the Presidency not shield him. Let not the party shield him. As already stated, it is too early for the administration to be dogged by one controversy or the other. There are equally and other more credible members of the NDC to take up such position if Alhaji Mumuni steps down today. The Presidency and the NDC should not attempt to defend the indefensible.

sAnane has breezed the trail. Let Mumuni follow. Let not Mills act the way Kufuor and the NPP went. When public opinion was against some of the controversial decisions and actions taken, the party used its numerical strength in Parliament to ride roughshod over genuine feelings and fears of others, Do not sell Ghana Telecoms. No we will. Do not introduce ROPAB. Who are you to tell us not to? Appoint a different person apart from Anane to man the Transportation Ministry. Oh no, he is the only person who can discharge the duties efficiently and effectively! It was as if we were telling the rest of us and them that, “Oh yes, we will do it. We have done it. What will you do?” It was all these “simple” things which have precipitated our rejection by the good people of Ghana.

And so, here am I, a staunch supporter and activist of the New Patriotic Party offering this simple advice free of charge to the elected President of the country, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, and the man at the centre of controversy, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni.

Please, Alhaji, resign your ministerial portfolio forthwith. If it is the will of Allah that you become or remain a Minister, no earthly power will prevent you from achieving that ambition. But fro now, do take a bow and leave the stage. Failure to do so within a reasonable length of time should warrant the Presidency to whip the “darling boy” into submission.

It is often said that a parcel is like a wife, while the chord used to tie the parcel is like a husband. If the cord breaks, the parcel falls into pieces. If the President fails, the citizens' fall into pieces and the shame of our sense of failure will undo all of us. So I am calling on the President to do the right thing. Let him not take the advice of Jigede in King Emene that it is the castrated man who shudders at the sight of a woman. Let Mumuni behave like an upstart whose umbilical cord is not yet cut but wants to eat meat before he grows teeth.

Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni should resign or be fired! There are no two ways about it.

Daniel Danquah Damptey
[email protected] 0243715297.

Daniel Damptey Danquah
Daniel Damptey Danquah, © 2009

This author has authored 286 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: DanielDampteyDanquah

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