Opinions Wed, 15 Jan 2014

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Congratulations President Mahama for Ending Corruption.

Not Really.

The government released a letter today, promising to end GYEEDA contract with Rlg, Jaspong Group,and Zeera and to recoup some wrongly paid monies. Few minutes later, “Congratulations Presendent Mahama” went viral on social media sites in Ghana for ending corruption in Ghana today, appearing in almost every wall from the staunchest NDC critic to the greatest NDC admirer.

Which is strange and infuriating. The President doesn’t deserve a bit of thank you or even an iota of congratulations. It’s the moral equivalence of congratulating your son for promising to clean his spilled milk. No actual work is done, so he doesn’t deserve any congratulations. In Ghana’s case, President Mahama/Mills government caused or created the GYEEDA theft, so he deserves no congratulations for promising to clean the mess. For anything, if we will not shame his government for causing this big mess in the first place then we shouldn’t congratulate it for a mere promise to clean the mess. Just as you will not congratulate your son or shame him for promising to clean his spilled milk.

Congratulating the presidents for fighting corruption with the press release starts a bad precedent. It simply tells politicians that, it’s ok to involve in dubious transactions including stealing from the state because once you come out to issue a statement after the harm has been done. You will be hailed as a hero who is committed to fighting corruption. Furthermore, once you recoup some funds you will be touted as the one who ended corruption.

This behavior doesn’t make Ghana looks like a serious democracy but a nation that pretends to be one. That is, a place where elections are held as a symbol of democracy but governance is something else.

In a serious democracy, the president wouldn’t have just promised to terminate those phony contracts, the contractors who would have been indicted. A case in point is the United States current investigations in to the allege misappropriation of tourism ads by Governor Chris Christie, and many more in the US. Investigations and subsequent prosecutions of allege misappropriation of funds is a common practice in every democracy. But not in the Mahama administration, we are told to suck it in. We are even lucky that the president has done us some favor by promising to terminate those phony contracts and, may be, get back some stolen monies for the nation.

Mr. Mahama is not a true reformer but he just plays one on TV. The art of believing in mutually exclusive things is how his government rolls. The government release letter, correctly, cancels the contract with those contractors immediately because of impropriety on the part of the contractors. On the other hand, Mr. Afriyie Ankrah , whose department authored the government report, believes quite wrongly, that government shouldn’t immediately abrogate the contracts to avoid law suits. And in another story, we are told the agreement to abrogate the contract was taken in consultation with the contractors. What an excellent contradictions?! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the government is contradicting itself. Sadly, reporters will not call them to this contradiction for fear being branded as unappreciative or being called NPP moles.

As I have said in the past, the government is buying more time, hoping that very soon Ghanaians will forget about this press release and the stealing will persist. You heard it here first.

Any hopes that you might have have from the release letter has just been dashed by the refusal of the government to do what its own report says it should—cancel all the contracts immediately. Until the citizens demand accountability from the government or the media start to call out this blatant contradictions (deception) from elected officials. It will not change. I agree. It’s not a pretty picture but you should get used to it.

The views expressed here are that Umar Najeeb Mohammed, a Ghanaian student in the US. He can be reached at umarnajeeb@yahoo.com

Columnist: Mohammed, Umar Najeeb

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