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08.03.2009 Feature Article

Insincerity or Sympathies for Ghana's foreign minister

I read with a lot of interest a beautifully crafted feature titled 'Why Mumuni has my Sympathies'. The article was written by the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, a right wing think tank in GHANA. The feature was about Ghana's Foreign Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, who is under a barrage of criticism to step down following accusations of alleged misappropriation of public funds during his tenure as Minister of Employment and Social Welfare under Jerry Rawlings in the late 90s.

Gabby Otchere Darko's argument in his feature was that – yes an alleged $3 billion USD may have gone missing, but don't blame it on the newly sworn in Foreign Minister. The author alleges that the honourable minister may have been used by his superiors to siphon the funds for the ruling party's campaign for power in the year 2000. Gabby reminded us of a forensic finding against Mumuni 5years ago when John Kufour (Ghana's immediate ex president) was in charge as head of state.

According to Gabby, there are claims that Alhaji Mumuni had the sympathies of Mr. Kufour, hence the reason why he was not prosecuted. Now that is very exciting. I remember very clearly how Mr. Kufour in a BBC interview said he took action anytime he had a whiff of corruption. The ex president came to power promising a zero Tolerance for Corruption and justified the sentencing of former government ministers as 'fulfilment of revelation'.

Gabby is an experienced journalist, a lawyer and an insider in the former regime. I have a lot of admiration and respect for Gabby's work as a journalist. I think he is meticulous and largely fair. He understands the art of media management and must be fully aware of the implications of repeating an allegation that suggests the former president condoned corruption (even if attributed, he has given the ruling party another ammunition to use against his own party). If indeed what Gabby suggests is anything to go by, then it is a big indictment on the former president. His Excellency John Kufour would have to absolve himself of the accusation explain to Ghanaians why there was a cover up if the case ends up in court and Mumuni is found guilty of wilfully causing financial lost to the state.

Again, this allegation of a cover up gives credence to accusations that members of the Ewe ethnic group have been largely targeted by the Kufour regime for prosecution on corruption charges. Why would the former president allegedly sympathise with Mumuni and not Tsatsu Tsika, Dan Abodakpe or Victor Salome all of whom are of Ewe extraction and serve under Jerry Rawlings? How many cases of alleged corruption have been swept under the carpet by the previous regime, who knows what and why the cover up? Have kickbacks been given with the view to stymie investigations into corruption allegations? And who got what? These are genuine questions that the former president must answer.

What I also find rather exciting about Gabby's feature is his conclusions. He concludes that if Alhaji Mumuni survived the calls by his detractors to resign, he would become the man to watch as successor to Prof. Mills. And Gabby's reason – Mumuni “is seen by many political analysts as possessing more political substance and gravitas than Vice President John Mahama: deeper in intellect and probably a greater unifying force within the NDC than Betty Mould, John Mahama or Spio-Garbrah.”

There are a couple of things I gleaned from the article. The author's beautifully couched feature is a smokescreen to drive a wedge into the ruling party's unity. There's no question about Mumuni's intellectual prowess. He's politically astute and one of the finest lawyers in Ghana. Mumuni is very capable of leading our nation as head of state. He was the running mate to Professor Mills in the 2004 elections and has served as a ranking Member of Parliament on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. He is one of the many best qualified members of the ruling party to succeed Professor Mills. I have no problem whatsoever with him leading the party as long as he is not tainted. As a matter of fact I would be most excited if he became president. It is a normal thing to want to see someone you can relate to become your country's leader. Many Africans rallied, prayed and chanted for Obama to win not necessarily because they believed in his agenda for change but simply because he's of African descent. People like the 106 year old Ann Nixon Cooper (she was mentioned in Obama's victory speech) voted because Obama is Coloured. Even George W. Bush's minion and former US Secretary of State, Dr Condoleezza Rice, said she “felt exceptionally proud” as an African-American that the US elected its first Black President. It is human instinct. I would feel very proud as a native of Kunbungu if Mumuni became president as we hail from the same place.

But I find Gabby's reasons for concluding that Mumuni would be the man to beat after Professor Mills as very disingenuous. Gabby compares Mumuni to his colleagues and perhaps derogates their influence and ability to be flag bearers and maybe leaders. He adds that Mumuni is Professor Mills' choice as successor and that the agile Law Professor has appointed Mumuni as Foreign Minister in order to neutralise the Vice President's chances to succeed John Mills.

That is most unfair a part of the grand scheme by the institution Gabby heads, to create confusion in the ruling party, bang heads together and plant in the minds of sympathizers that Mumuni is 'better' than his colleagues including the vice President, John Mahama. The beneficiary of any infighting in the governing National Democratic Congress is the opposition New Patriotic Party and its sidekick – The Danquah Institute. I hope well meaning members of the party would see through Gabby's craft and scheming. Anything free advice by the Danquah Institute should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Ras Mubarak
(Ras Mubarak is a member of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, British of Association of Journalists, Law Student and former reggae host onUniiq FM and Ghana Television, GBC).

Ras Mubarak
Ras Mubarak , © 2009

This author has authored 84 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: RasMubarak

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