Stop the campaign of calumny against Chief of Staff

Sun, 10 Nov 2013 Source: Volta Region Young Turks Federation

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Stop the campaign of calumny against Chief of Staff Prosper Douglas Bani

Voltarian Coalition cries out!!!!!!!!

For the past few weeks we have noticed the relentless media attack on Mr. Prosper Douglas Bani, president Mahama’s Chief of Staff. While media attacks on political functionaries are nothing unusual since it is part of the unofficial job description, it gives cause for concern when it appears coordinated as well as hunting in pairs and an orchestration.

One newspaper guilty of this imbroglio is the Al Hajj newspaper edited by one Alhaji Bature. Initially its savage attacks, we ignored to our peril by saying it was an aberration but became alarmed when other media outlets joined the lynch mob mentality. We of the Volta Region Young Turks Federation (hereinafter called the “Volta Collective” have decided to respond because this umbrage reached a crescendo with Peace FM online joining the hunting pack. In fact the comment by an NPP MP could have been ignored if it could form a part of sophistry. The question is who benefits if Voltarians decide to either not go to the polls or become apathetic because for the second time in a row, a ruling government they have massively voted for, has once again relegated them to the shadows. The perennial attack on Chief of Staff Prosper Bani may be orchestrated so that he may either be removed as Chief of Staff or transferred to another section of the Presidency. Unconfirmed reports reaching the Collective indicate that the Al Hajj newspaper is gunning for somebody who obviously thinks he deserves to be there but has not been offered the opportunity. Truth be told that it is not a secret and everyone in the corridors of power are well aware of this fact. However, that does not mean the Al Hajj newspaper should continue to assassinate an innocent person’s character in its bid to lobby for somebody. It is Almighty God who puts people in positions and if you are fighting for something just keep on praying to the HIM so that you get your blessings and get the positions you want. Most Ghanaians worth their salt in politics were aware of the par excellence lobbying by this individual and his political God fathers for the position immediately after President Mahama’s victory. President Mahama to his credit by passed him and gave the coveted nod to his longtime friend, Prosper Douglas Bani. There were hues and cries within the NDC circles.

We of the Volta Collective are more than concerned because the Al Hajj tabloid’s relentless attack on 2 Voltarians in the President Mahama administration. The same publication attacked Lt-Col Larry Gbevlo- Lartey (rtd) on more than one occasion suggesting that the security capo would soon be sacked. Alhaji Bature should research and find out why the President should choose his Chief of Staff and Security capo from the Volta Region.

Thus we read with amusement the comment by NPP MP that Mr. Bani had failed simply because he the Chief of Staff did not do his babysitting job…solving a simple disagreement between a Minister and her subordinates. Is that in the job description of a Chief of Staff?

Just in case we as a country should not lose sight of the following:

1. It is the prerogative of the President to choose whomever he wants as his Chief of Staff and nobody dictates to him on that score

2. The Chief of Staff is the administrative head at the presidency. There is no iota of truth that he will block the presidents Vice from seeing him. How can he work to move the President’s agenda if he should marginalize the President’s vice by such ominous acts?

3. This present Chief of Staff has his own unique styles and must be allowed to perform and in the end the whole country benefits rather than force him to adopt a different style to the detriment of the country.

4. We all know that in any management situation the individual has to know his terrain and adjust accordingly. A wrong or hot headed move could spell disaster for millions of Ghanaians. Being a Chief of Staff is not like being a head of family where wrong moves or inactions affect only your immediate family.

5. After all this government, through tact and listening, quenched the flames on industrial actions aka strikes by various entities. Was the Chief of Staff not the one asked to have meetings with various factions to resolve impasse? Was he not successful in some if not all these endeavours? Ohh, by the way, have we forgotten the load shedding so soon?

We are aware that in politics numbers as well as bases are important. Chief Bani has the numbers and the base. After all his region, Volta, NDC World Bank has once again maintained its consistency of delivering massive votes for the party more than any other region, numerically and percentage wise. In President Mahama’s administration, the Collective or Voltarians see Chief of Staff Bani as their face in forgotten successive NDC administration since 2009. Even though there remains a lot to do and we are expecting more from him without which we would remind him in 2016. For the second time the Collective is concerned that these unbridled attacks should not go unanswered and we would do so without emotive responses but analysis based on data. We think we can make our point by letting all Ghanaians see the numbers and then get the import of our contention. While we deplore ethnicity or tribalism and for as much as possible detest viewing things through such prism, truth be told that under the NDC government of 2009-2012, the Ewes were given the short end of the stick under the late Atta Mills administration. In most countries political parties have their bases and those bases get political spoils. How many Voltarians were of influence in that administration even after such massive votes. A huge joke was visited on us when the administration threw some female Ministers (Tourism, Women and Children) at us and a Minister of Roads.

A look at the voting of 2008 December showed that the Volta region gave NDC its overwhelming victory without which NDC would have lost the election. In fact the vote margin from Ketu South alone (68,000 Mills vrs 3,000 Nana Addo) was more than the whole Central Region margin of victory of 53,521 for the late President. In spite of that the constituency did not even have a substantive Ministerial position. The data from the EC website regarding 2008 election show that the VR gave candidate Mills 630,000 votes compared to candidate Nana Addo’s 102,173 (13.9%). With that vote, VR votes exceeded numerically Central Region (President Mills’s region) by 251,924: Western region 216,755; Northern region 129,047; Upper East 406,905; Upper West 495,973. Note that these were NDC strongholds. Furthermore, Volta region was the only region where Nana Addo garnered less than 15% of his total votes. In the other regions he scored 48.11% for example in Western region; CR 46.2%; Northern 38.36%; Upper East 34.4%; Upper West 37.67; and Greater Accra 45.59%

Before others jump to say that their citizens are in other regions due to migration, let it be known that the argument cannot stand the test of consistency because Voltarians migrate a lot and are in Afram Plains (ER), Ashanti region etc. and form the largest ethnic group (20.13%) next to Ga-Adangbe (27%) in Greater Accra Region according to the 2010 census. Assuming all these cancel out, we can look specifically at Volta Region’s contribution to NDC’s electoral fortunes vis a vis others and can clearly see how the region is marginalized after electoral victories.

The fact that Voltarians witnessed this huge disparity in the award of Ministerial positions Ambassadorial positions, Chief executives and Chairmen of Boards of Corporations vis a vis electoral turnouts and votes, without complaining loud was because we were asked to “be patient”. Not that Voltarians were not qualified but we were taken for granted. Strategic Decisions meant not to participate enthusiastically in the 2012 elections had to be reversed because all of a sudden the administration’s head was no longer alive but a new candidate emerged. As usual Voltarians voted massively in their numbers as the percentages below illustrate. According to Peaceonline.com website (the EC is yet to give numerical breakdown by regions for the 2012 election) the voting pattern was not markedly different from what transpired in 2008. In Volta the differences were still markedly clear: 85.47% for Mahama versus Nana Addo’s 12.83%. Not so in other regions where NDC won but the margins of victory were nothing comparable to Volta Region: Western 54.42% vs. 43.8%; Upper West 65.54% vs. 29.26%; Upper East 66.43% vs. 29.29%; Northern 58.23% vs. 39.11%; Central 52.12% vs. 45.53%. In simpler terms only 1 out of every 8 voters voted for Nana Addo in Volta Region; in Western 3 out of every 7 voters voted for Nana; in Upper East and Upper West 3 out of every 10 voters voted for Nana; in Northern Region almost 2 out of every 5 voters voted for Nana and in Central 5 out of every 11 voters voted for Nana Addo.

We Voltarians are also politically savvy. The fact that we are not heavy lobbyists should not mean after electoral victory we should be cast asunder. We equally deserve a place at the dining table to eat the sumptuous meal and drink the vintage wine political victory brings. We should not be relegated to the background or at best be the watchmen outside, maintaining security while the party goes on in the main house. Appointing Chief of Staff, a Voltarian, is a first step in a thousand mile journey we expect President Mahama to take. These cacophonous noises by Al Hajj newspaper promoting one individual on the quiet and unnecessary attacks on Chief Bani will not be welcome. Attacking Mr. Prosper Bani and making the grounds fertile for his removal may be a political suicide aka political kamikaze trip Alhaji Bature wants President Mahama to take and replace him with Al Hajj’s choice.

From the above analysis, there is overwhelming evidence that NDC derives its electoral fortunes from the Volta Region and Voltarians in Volta region hold the key to victory or success especially a country with very close elections. Is the president and the NDC big wigs aware of this? We doubt very much else this blatant discrimination against Voltarians for coveted jobs would cease forthwith. Or as Kwesi Pratt said few days ago, the NDC biggies may love being in opposition than governing. Once again leave Mr. Prosper Douglas Bani alone. Stop this devilish campaign against him and we serve notice on Al Hajj and those who encourage this campaign to desist from it in their own interests.

General Secretary

Volta Region Young Turks Federation

Aka The Volta Collective

Columnist: Volta Region Young Turks Federation