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11.05.2009 Editorial

Help keep the sanctity of the Presidency, Mr. President

By The Ghanaian Journal
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President John Atta Mills and other members of his entourage that travelled to the United Kingdom for an official visit are said to have submitted themselves to the routine checks at the Kotoka International Airport before their departure to London last week. The Presidential team therefore avoided the VIP or the V VIP passage at the airport.

The checks, according to government was at the instance of the President, who in the wake of the many reported drug cases in the country, wanted members of government, including himself to be subjected to the same level of security checks that are often conducted on passengers at the country's airport.

This is against the background that some of the drug cases recorded in the country are related to some top government officials of both the 1st administration of the NDC and the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration.

The President's gesture, according to officials, was another way of alerting Ghanaians, that the President is running perhaps the best transparent government ever in the annals of the county's political history and also an indication that members of his government will always be at the forefront in the fight against many ills that are bedeviling our society.

The President has since the assumption of office, minced no words about his determination to deal with the drug menace in the country and therefore finds his Airport order as a litmus test for him and other members of his entourage.

No matter how well intended the exercise might be, we still think the President is far overstretching the laudable idea of fighting corruption and other forms of maladministration to the level of absurdity, populism thus making that noble mission assuming a laughable gesture of a big joke.

There is dignity in the Presidency and this is what the President ought to struggle to uphold. That dignity demands that all members of government carry themselves in that regard. That means the President in appointing his government must first do a thorough check up on his ministers and other State functionaries.

That explains why after nomination, the Ministers-designate go through proper vetting to ascertain their sincerity, honesty and integrity. Perhaps that was the more reason why some opposition MPs raised serious concerns about the conduct and disposition of some nominees of the President who appeared before the Parliamentary Appointment Committee.

In the end the government party of which the President is the leader did not pay heed to the objection raised by the minority on what they termed as the misconduct of some of the nominees and therefore did not deem it fit to approve their nominations.

But the President's majority party as usual, thought the minority position was nothing but another show of absurdity and pure partisanship. In the end they managed to get the nominees through with their sheer majority size.

This paper is not the least suggesting that government people are saints. After all there have been cases where some members of the fist NDC administration and the immediate past NPP government were involved in drug cases.

However, it was proven that those involved were drug dealers before they came into government and therefore did not need governmental immunity at the airport to practice their trade. Therefore if any of the President's men was into drugs, there was no way he/she could arm him/herself with the drug while travelling with the President.

If the President is so concerned about the drug menace and therefore wanted to use his own people as example, he should have let the Security and the State Protocol done a thorough check on their luggage which was stowed away to the airport after which they embarked on the journey.

In such travels, we are aware that the luggage of the President and his entourage are stowed away before the owners themselves get to the airport. And nobody in his rightful sense will put drugs on his pocket or any part of his body when he/she is aware that they will not be covered by the immunity of travelling as a VIP or V VIP.

There had been instances where drug suspects had been nabbed at the airports, but the fact that the most recent cocaine haul were discovered on the sea and other borders clearly show that the peddlers are adopting more sophisticated approach in the business. And that should be the concern of the President. The need to adopt more sophisticated methods to deal with the menace and not that populists gesture to score very cheap political points.

And for the information of the President, drug barons hardly carry drugs on them. They have carriers who do the business on their behalf. The chain is such long that often the carriers often do not know who exactly who they are doing the business for. And so with their status as Ministers of State, none of the President's men or women, if they are drug dealers, who by their current position might have been drug barons, will carry the stuff on themselves.

The incarcerated NPP MP, Amoateng was neither busted at the Kotoka International Airport or nor the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, USA, because as top drug dealer, he had people who do the carrying on his behalf. He was apprehended because the US government had been trailing him for years and on that fateful day, the American security got hint that the consignment suspected to be cocaine brought from Asia to America has Amoateng as one of the barons behind it.

President Mills should therefore spare us the comical approach to the drug issue and empower the security with enough logistics and gadget to be able to track and trace suspected barons in the country. If he really wants to fight the menace, there are indeed ways to do that. Doing the populist gimmick will not work and so Mr. President, we say please, let's keep the sanctity of the Ghanaian Presidency!

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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