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Press Review | Dec 15, 2004

EDITORIAL: The Buck Stops with You, Mr. President

Lens

That Ghanaians have chosen a leader who feels comfortable passing the buck of responsibility unto others was made clear when the President-elect, who is also the sitting President sought to blame the Police for not pursuing allegations of corruption, fraud, perjury and bribery that have been labelled against the then Deputy Minister at the Ministry that has the President himself as the substantive Minister.

In a series of exposé, the Chronicle published credible allegations, backed with apparently solid evidence, of acts of corrupt practices, fraudulent dealings, and perjury, among other misdeeds, against Alhaji Muktar Bamba, the then Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs, and also Deputy Chief Of Staff.

In the wake of the allegations, Muktar Bamba quietly resigned his positions as the Deputy Minister and Deputy Chief. Nothing was heard of that case again from officialdom until public outcry forced the Attorney General, the Honourable Papa Owusu Ankomah to state that all the allegations levelled against Bamba were merely "acts of indiscretion" and that Bamba would not be prosecuted.

The Attorney General's pronouncements on the Bamba affair, which has become known in the media as the "Bambagate", failed to allay public agitation over the matter as most people believe that Bamba was being shielded from prosecution.

Indeed, close confidantes of Bamba say he has intimated to that there is absolutely no way the Kufuor regime could prosecute him, unless they want to risk having him expose all the sordid details of underhand dealings that he is aware of and the involvement of highly placed personalities in these deals. The Attorney General's pronouncement appears to have confirmed Bamba's confident prediction that he would never be prosecuted by the NPP.

However, in an interesting twist, Mr. Kufuor, the President of the Republic of Ghana, in an interview with Joy 99.7FM after his acceptance speech, sought to blame the Police for inaction on the Bamba case.

Mr. Kufuor said as far as he was concerned once Bamba has resigned from office the matter now rests with the Police.

The President's statement raises the question as to who really is in charge of Ghana. Is the President aware of the position of his own government as forcefully advocated by his appointed Attorney General? If so why was he trying to make it look like it is the Police that have failed to act? Could it be that the President is aware that the position adopted by his government vis-à-vis the Bamba case is immoral and unconscionable?

Then again, it would not be surprising at all if the President is unaware of the position of his own government, it fits into the pattern. After all this is a government whose Finance Minister signs a document without so much as glancing through it let alone read and understand it; this is a government whose Deputy Minister for Education publicly states that she did not know her own government's policy on education, why should it be surprising if the leader of that government does not know the position of his own government on a given subject.

Our real beef is with Mr. Kufuor's attempt to pass the buck of responsibility. We would like to draw Mr. Kufuor's attention to the fact that he is the President of the Republic so the buck ends with him. It does not lie in his mouth to push the blame on the police. That betrays a certain incompetence. As the leader of the country when was the last time he asked the Police for a situation report or progress report on the matter? What was the situation report or progress report the police gave him on the matter?

It was a former President of the United States, Harry S Truman, who, while he was President, had a small tablet with the inscription "The Buck Stpos Here" on his table. Mr. Kufuor might want to "sometimes always pinch himself to remind" him that the buck stops with him.

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