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13.06.2019 Feature Article

Was It a Joke When Mahama Arrested Sylvester Mensah?

Was It a Joke When Mahama Arrested Sylvester Mensah?
LISTEN JUN 13, 2019

Former President John Dramani Mahama has been widely quoted by the media to have once said that Ghanaians, generally speaking, have very short memories; and that most Ghanaian voters are highly unlikely to remember the sins of commissions and omissions of their leaders and politicians between one election season and another. In the wake of the recent arrest by operatives of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) of the National Chairman of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Mr. Sylvester Mensah, who was once arrested and put under house arrest as Director of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), on the orders of then President Mahama, in the leadup to the 2016 general election, now claims that the arrest of Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo by operatives of the CID is the joke of the century (See “Ofosu-Ampofo’s Arrest Is a Joke – Sly Mensah” 6/12/19).

In the case of Mr. Mensah’s arrest on charges of embezzlement of funds meant for the administration of the John Agyekum-Kufuor-established National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the former’s bank accounts were frozen and his passports immediately confiscated. The target of Mr. Mahama’s arrest order would later be released from house arrest and be cleared of all charges. In the meantime, Mr. Mensah’s image and reputation had been so severely damaged that he may never realize his ambition of ever becoming his party’s presidential candidate and sometime in the near future gun for the most powerful elective position in the land. Maybe if he was not so pathologically afflicted with the sort of short memory that his former boss is alleged to have attributed to the overwhelming majority of Ghanaian citizens, the former NHIA’s Director would have fully appreciated the fact that President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has dealt far more leniently and democratically with the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, who stands accused of subversive activities and the endangerment of Ghana’s national security, involving the kidnapping of some young Ghanaian female high school pupils and the suspicious torching of some marketplaces around the country, than then President Mahama dealt with Sylvester Mensah.

It would later turn out that Mr. Mensah had done absolutely nothing wrong but had, nevertheless, been sacked from his job and put under house arrest because the former Head of the NHIA had allegedly flatly refused to divert funds earmarked for the administration of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) into the 2016 John Mahama Presidential Campaign. Indeed, the now-Candidate John Dramani Mahama may very well have been referring to Mr. Sylvester Mensah, when he made that temporally scandalous comment regarding the nihilistically short memory capacity of Ghanaian citizens and the electorate.

If, indeed, he knows who the real kidnappers of the Takoradi schoolgirls are, besides strong police evidence pointing to Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo, then Mr. Mensah has a bounden obligation to promptly pass such critical information on to operatives of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service; otherwise he could very well be found guilty of the abetment and condonement of a crime and the obstruction of justice. At any rate, the abject hypocrisy of Mr. Mensah clearly does not make the failed presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress a credible critic of the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party, in the matter of the arrest of the National Chairman of the NDC for the latter’s alleged masterminding of several subversive and criminal activities around the country.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 12, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]

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