President John Dramani Mahama has been accused of abusing his office through the recruitment of personnel into security agencies like the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana National Fire Service along political lines as well as using state functions for political advantage.
The latest accusation, from an associate professor of political science at the University of Ghana, Emmanuel Debrah, comes in the wake of a recent report by anti-graft body Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) that revealed high levels of vote buying by the governing party and abuse of incumbency by Mr Mahama.
According to Professor Debrah, who was speaking in an interview with Class News’ Atiewin Mbillah Lawson, Mr Mahama’s inauguration of projects can be seen as a conduit to influence voting decisions of the electorate as he campaigns for re-election.
“The president has not been able to distinguish between his political activities and state activities, and, so, if the president rides in a state vehicle to campaign – and that is what he is doing – he doesn’t tell us that he is going to inaugurate [a project] in a community and will not use that opportunity to campaign. That is where we talk of abuse of his office because he is the incumbent who is campaigning and taking advantage of state resources,” Professor Debrah stated.
Reacting to the suggestion that Mr Mahama may only be combining his duties as president and flag bearer, Professor Debrah said: “Elsewhere, there is a clear distinction, so if you use state vehicles for your campaign, pay for it. So, you will only go and inaugurate so that at another time when you are campaigning, the system will ensure that you wouldn’t go to the campaign ground using the state vehicle without accounting for that.”
“How do you ensure that the opposition candidate also benefits from that?” he asked, adding: “The opposition candidates have been part of the resources that the government is using to run but yet they are cut off in having access to those things.”
On the abuse of incumbency through job recruitments, Professor Debrah noted: “If you close employment to certain sectors and you open it up somehow in certain sectors where you gain advantage, that is the conclusion we are going to make. It appears to everybody that those who are recruited come from recommendations from A, B and C and there is no way of saying that was an objective recruitment. … For a pretty long time, the university has not been allowed to recruit but about a month ago we were given a quota. Why will the government stay on all this while and ignore the call to allow the universities to recruit new faculties and then it is only at this time that the opportunity was given in a limited scale. If we see this happening at this time and you are a political analyst, you will always have a conclusion to make.”
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