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Press Review | Jan 31, 2005

EDITORIAL: The Vetting - Theatre Or Serious Business?

Ghanaian Chronicle

Many are those who will probably not have a clue as to the essence of the vetting process on account of the worryingly high level of illiteracy. For another category of people, the educated illiterates, this important development may be mere theatricals, judging from comments on radio and in some newspapers.

There were those who expressed anger and dismay at the level of inquiry that questioners like Honourables Alban Bagbin and Kumbuor were putting the nominees through, and indeed questioned the qualification of these honourable men to vet the nominees, even to the point that some were seeking to be so abusive that they created scenes at the vetting of one of the nominees, Dr. Richard Anane.

In the considered opinion of The Chronicle, these two gentlemen have done a great service to Ghana, and given credibility and respectability to the process. The vast majority of those who passed must feel good about themselves.

At the same time, there are those who clearly must not pass, as passing them without proof verifiable by everybody would hurt the credibility of the process.

Bagbin must be particularly applauded, considering his widely publicized 'affair' that was soundly explained away and justified within the cultural context of the people of Nadowli. It was Bagbin himself who went public with the matter when it was being speculated in the press. He did not allow the issue to faze him one bit; neither did the Chairman of the Appointment Committee, Hon.Freddie Blay who had been caught up in the press under worse circumstances of reportedly having children out of wedlock. Fortunately, the right to be heard which has now greatly improved, does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.

There is a reason why this process must go on and the benchmarks raised with each term. At the very least, it should discourage the corrupt from seeking to take office, as the experience of Alhaji Moctar Bamba, as usual, exposed by The Chronicle as unfit for office, was passed through without the due process, eventually embarrassing himself, the nation, and the President who nominated him.

The Chronicle lays claim to a hard-earned reputation to be taken seriously, as over the years, we have bravely stood out as a fiercely independent paper, which makes it its business to investigate and expose corruption even while others vigorously take to doing public relations for public office holders who come under the paper's scrutiny.

We urge the Government to take extra attention to our publications because, imperfect as we may be, the paramount interest is the national good, though we do admit that the national interest may not always be consistent with a Government's interest.

Certain things we cannot accomplish, by any process of government. We cannot legislate intelligence. We cannot legislate morality. We cannot legislate loyalty, for loyalty is a kind of morality.

The Chronicle urges the Executive to withdraw some of the nominees that we know should not pass muster. They have enjoyed four years of power, and the credibility and integrity of the NPP Government should be paramount in making some decisions.

Government is more than the sum of all the interests; it is the paramount interest, the public interest. It must be the efficient, effective agent of a responsible citizenry, not the shelter of the incompetent and the corrupt.

Sheik I.C. Quaye is an elderly man who has had his time and has been through some challenges in his political career. However, taking an oath in full view of the public and being less than truthful on a matter like his curriculum vitae constitutes perjury. Spare him the agony and withdraw him. The Chronicle has clear intelligence on this matter. Documented.

During the vetting of Isaac Edumadze, there were a lot of shaking of heads by the members themselves at the vetting. As we have said earlier, the legislature cannot legislate intelligence; Edumadze deemed the process one big theatre, and characteristically commandeered buses of supporters to come and 'approve' him. How lower can one sink!

There were holes of contradictions in his presentation, and the question of how much taxes he paid on his earnings over the years since he started his commercial transportation business, acquired five farms, eight cars and a 'billion-cedi' country home to justify the assets he had acquired since he came into office in 2001.

He gave an answer, which suggests that he had not even declared any income. The import of that question and his response was even lost on him. The Chronicle is aware that there is at least one petition to CHRAJ that will unravel many things. Withdraw him.

The people of the Central region, which saved the NPP from imminent defeat, are now crying out, 'is this the thanks we get?" The greatest disservice to the region is dropping an A-grade material, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom and rewarding her with Edumadze.

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