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15.10.2014 Feature Article

The NSS Saga And Ethnic Witch-Hunt: Where Is The NDC Headed?

The NSS Saga And Ethnic Witch-Hunt: Where Is The NDC Headed?
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Few days ago, the board of National Service Scheme issued a directive asking key management of the Scheme at the head office to step aside to allow investigations by the Bureau of National Investigation into perceived corrupt practices. Just two days after the directive, some of these managers were called back to work with the excuse that the BNI investigations exonerated them.

How on earth can an investigation that is just starting exonerate a person when there is no investigation report or when such investigations are still ongoing? On what basis did the board reach the decision to suspend the management and what could have changed in two days to make them change their decision regarding those called back? If we are told the board is not incompetent and not complicit in the perceived corruption, how can we justify their error in sending people home and calling them back the next day, especially when we are talking of the position of finance and operations?

This easy raises questions about the motivations behind the NSS saga and its implications on the future of the NDC. It's worth noting here that I am not in anyway questioning the substance of the alleged corruption. I have gathered sentiments on the issues surrounding the NSS saga to come up with the following theories about why and who is behind the issues and to what effect. All the theories presented herein attest to the fact that the ongoing investigation by the BNI is an ethnico-political witch-hunt.

Government Hurting Itself?
First of all, some people have raised questions about the motivation of a government hurting itself. Its not doubt that what is happening at the NSS is negative publicity for the NDC government. To those sharing this view, there is an ethnic interest in the case. Their reason is that the Ewe fraternity has openly expressed sentiments to the effect that northerners have hijacked the current government. They support their claim with the fact that; a) it was an Ewe that was sacked and replaced by a northerner at the NSS; b) the case that Ablakwa has been at the forefront of the case; c) the head of BNI [Mr. Pious Awelinga] is an Ewe; and d) the fact that BNI is investigating a public agency not as a response to media discovery is unprecedented.

Battle over Party?
The second theory is that the fact that Alhaji Hudu Yahya is contesting the NDC chairmanship means that northerners are trying to completely hijack the party from the Ewes. This claim is linked to the speculation that the deposed NSS boss was seen as the primary financier of the campaign of Hudu Yahaya. As a result, Kuagbenu, Dr. Adjei, Ablakwa and the current BNI boss teamed up to witch-hunt Mr. Alhassan Imoro. Since Kuagbenu had been at the NSS, it was easy for him to pinpoint where the loopholes are to the BNI.

Selective Justice?
Many have also linked the timing of the BNI actions to the politico-ethnic motivations as mentioned above. They are of the view that the alleged rot at the NSS or any state institution in particular, did not start today and certainly will not stop today. Hence, their question is, where was the BNI over the decades that the NSS was in existence? Why now and why the NSS when other public institutions are equally as corrupt as the NSS?

Implications?
The above raises serious questions about the future of the NDC and Ghana's democracy. When Rawlings ruled Ghana for 20 years, it was hard to find a public institution without an Ewe in authority. Ewes could finish teacher-training colleges and go straight to university with study leave without ever serving. People from other parts of the country found it really hard to even qualify for study-leave even after serving beyond the required years. Such was perfect because the deserving people had their way. Today, a perception that northerners are in control is unacceptable. I think its about time we begun to give meaning to our multi-ethnicity as a country and for various ethnic groups to know that its not possible for one group to dominate everything at all times.

The above, if not properly managed can break the NDC and ruin its political future. An Ewe or a Northern NDC cannot win an election in Ghana. We, in the NDC must be guided by the example of the Asante-Akyem fractions in the NPP. We will all be losers if we break our party because one group feels it should be in charge at all times. A word to the wise is BNI.

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