The reported leaking of the Short Commission Report on the Ayawaso-West Wuogon byelection disturbances, that occurred at the end of January this year, is nothing new for President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to worry about. These leaks happen all the time, even the most security-conscious of the most advanced democracies experience commission-report leaks all the time for a legion number of reasons, the most common of which regards administrative transparency (See “Leakage of Short Commission Report Irresponsible – Akufo-Addo” Kasapafmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 4/30/19). It was decidedly uncalled-for for anybody or group of persons to leak the Short Commission Report to the media and the public at large, since Nana Akufo-Addo, more than any other democratically elected Ghanaian leader in the country’s postcolonial history, has more than amply demonstrated that he has absolutely no reason, whatsoever, to hide any piece of information from the Ghanaian people, even the most sensitive and highly classified of such information, as we all witnessed in the President’s submission of the country’s military pact with the United States to Parliament not very long ago.
Ironically, previous variations of the same pact had been fervidly kept close to the vest by even virulently anti-American leaders of the National Democratic Congress like Chairman Jerry John Rawlings and his minions and former lieutenants, namely, Messrs. John Evans Atta-Mills, late, and John Dramani Mahama. As well, even as the Communications Director at the Akufo-Addo Presidency adumbrated recently, the 1992 Constitution mandates that Nana Akufo-Addo carefully, deliberately and systematically study both the investigative processes and the conclusions reached by the membership of the Commission before making any decisions vis-à-vis any disciplinary or punitive measures recommended or proposed by the same. Mr. Eugene Arhin is thus absolutely on target when he addresses those behind the leak that President Akufo-Addo is highly unlikely to be either stampeded or rushed into releasing the Short Commission’s Report.
That would be rather irresponsibly preemptive and tantamount to being politically controlled by forces that have absolutely no business being either in government or being bona fide operatives of the present administration. I would not call for any financially draining investigation into whoever is/are responsible for the alleged leakage of parts of the Short Commission Report, although I am quite certain that the portions of the Report which were leaked to the press could be quite effectively used to track down or identify the culprits behind the same. We must also significantly underscore the fact that this is the first time that any Fourth-Republican government has instituted a blue-ribbon investigative panel or commission to probe any byelection disturbances. Then also, President Akufo-Addo has the singular honor and credit of having progressively used his watch or tenure to have the long-delayed Right-to-Information (RTI) Bill passed into law, although, as of this writing, the latter had yet to be officially ratified by the President in order to make it fully operational.
We must also emphasize the fact that absolutely no Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), so-called, have been mandated by the Ghanaian electorate to stampede President Akufo-Addo into prematurely issuing any White Paper on the Short Commission Report. As for the vacuous criticism of the President, that his decision not to be stampeded into hastily publishing the Ayawaso-West Wuogon Report is, somehow, tantamount to “a blatant disregard for the principles of transparency,” the latter does not warrant any dignified response. The fact of the matter is that no Ghanaian citizen of age, which is at least 18 years old, can ever recall the operatives of the National Democratic Congress setting a precedent or an enviable record on the “principles of transparency.” Let these desperate political cynics produce copies of any commission reports that were either produced or published in the wake of such even more violent byelection incidents as Talensi, Atiwa, Akwatia and Wassa-Amenfi, among a legion of others, by the previous Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress. Indeed, as that jaded dictum goes: Those who live in glass houses ought not to unwisely throw stones. In the case of these cynical NDC operatives, perhaps the more appropriate version of the preceding maxim runs as follows: Those who live in straw-huts must not unwisely play with fire.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York