Critical News: No room for an ASP

Sydney Casely Hayford

Mon, 19 Aug 2013 Source: Sydney Casely-Hayford

Sitting down to write this morning, I did as I do, read comments to my articles, gauging sentiment, guiding my focus and maybe bias, because we all have them. It always happens that you veer directionally with sentiment and maybe offend some readers. So this week, I thought we could catch some of what others have to say. I find it interesting.

I called out GYEEDA and THEO CODJOE had this to say on myjoyonline.com;

“The failure of our Parliament to pass the Right To Information Bill into law is the proof that our politicians do not intend to be held accountable despite the ancient and hallowed principle that in democracies the people have the inalienable right to know what the elected representatives do with the power entrusted to them; the power which includes, most importantly the power to use the resources of the state. If you entrust a certain amount of money or any valuable item to a bank or any caretaker of any sort, it is implied that anytime you desire to know the status or worth of that valuable the caretaker must let you know; it is a duty enforceable by law. On the broad political terrain, that law is the Right To Information Law. All the civilised democracies after whose constitutions we have modeled ours, have a Freedom Of Information or Right To Information Law! That our politicians have denied us that law for the past thirty years is most galling! Mr. Cletus Avoka is on record stating seriously that it is not a priority for Parliament! This is an insult to the people of Ghana and a betrayal of the trust reposed in their representatives.

“The Right to Information about government action may is a necessary concomitant to the right to vote, and is a very important in for exacting accountability of political leaders. It is, the means of checking the books of the political actors and making sure the books contain a faithful record of what they promised us they were going to do with the power we bestowed on them with the elections and how they have used the finances we make available to them through our taxes and other national resources.

“When you elect politicians into office and they refuse to account to you as in our case [by refusing to provide the means of exacting the account, [which is what the Right To Information Law is,] then the people have been robbed of their power and the incidents of "GYEEDA not to be seen REPORT" will continue to blight our financial resources. The people of Ghana must realise that so long as our elected and appointed politicians refuse to account to us their use of the power and the resources we entrust to them none of the good things we desire and which they promise to achieve for us when we vote them into office will ever be achieved. Attendant mismanagement of our financial resources.”

And here is COBBY’s comment on the same subject;

“Thank you Mr Hayford for this article. This gov is only interested in going for loans but not ready to deal with the corruption that is going in the country. Just look at the huge amount of money involved in the GYEEDA corruption. If you say this some ghanaians are ready to defend because he support this or that party and they are in power. The most annoying thing is that they keep on referring to what happened in the past or what happened during the past regimes. Not thinking that the monies involves in these corrupt practices are huge that it can be use for projects that can benefit a lot of poor ghanaian. I always say this, if ghanaians continue to support govts because they belong to this party or region or tribe, my brothers our leader will continue this corrupt practices. You formed a committee to make investigation, the committee finishes it work and tell you that there is a huge corruption that has happened and even gave u names of people involved in those practices. And when the report was brought to you, u the form another committee to review the report again. No wonder if Ken Agye call them hypocrites, people thought he is mad. But u will hear this same president pretending to be God fearing. I study and live in europe but i love my country and planning to come back to render services to my country. God help Ghana”

When it came to my sample-voting pattern in the Volta Region, DEDE had a totally different view;

“You cannot wait to show your bias any day!!!. I thought all would condemn the voodoo statistics Addison put out there in the court last week but here we have loud-mouth Hayford displaying his ignorance just to be "counted" every week. Granted that your figures are correct, what appears strange about the figures? What is wrong with a voter opting to vote for President and decline to vote for his parliamentary candidate? Besides it is common knowledge that there were a number of parliamentary candidates in the Volta region.”

And on this same subject, PKAB asks; “Is it mathematically or practically impossible for Mahama to have more votes than the NDC parliamentary candidates? What is the argument? Please polish it up for me.”

But without even the benefit of PKAB’s comments, KOFI said;

“Uncle results from Volta Region are the worse and most abused in the country. it is impossible for such differences. If we are to scrutinize things well it will be clear that there was abuse of the one man one vote as said by Mr Addison. A real investigation should be carried out to authenticate this figures. A friend of mine went on official visit to the Volta Region and s voltarian personally told him how they voted over and over again and for each time not like a single vote but can thumb print 10 - 20 ballots per each round of vote. This type of results can only come from the Volta Region where there are no better control cos the number of other tribes there are very low. The other regions where such can be anticipated is the northern region apart from this Regions i can`t see anywhere in Ghana where you will have such abuse of votes. Just eight constituencies and the difference between the Presidential and parliamentary is 21,000. this is strange and unimaginable to me. Do the results want to say the voter were not issued with parliamentary ballots? and if they were issued did they vote or not? God save us from this type of abuse.” However on Ghanaweb, JUDAS lashed into me, “U re a big lire u can confuse us let the law take it course”, and WINNS’ take on the issue again from Ghanaweb; “Hi I respect your write ups but is seems your hatred for Pres Mahama is blinding you to a lot of bare facts on the ground. A lot of NPP people preferred Mahama to Akuffo Addo. You can also check the NPP stronghold to see what happened there. While at that pls check the following constituencies, Wenchi and Daboya see whether it makes sense to you. We have case of the personality of the President attracting a lot of floating voters whilst Nana Addo with his all-die-be die putting off a lot of people and with the baggage of sir John and Jake there was no way Nana could cross the post”, And KWESI AGBENU answered him, “Mahama/NDC are in power. All criticisms will be directed at them, naturally. Criticisms can’t be directed at the Opposition who are not ruling. So it will always appear that critics are against the ruling government. Not so not so. People who say SYDNEY critisizes Mahama so he is against Mahama are very wrong.”

There are some grammar issues and spelling, but I purposely left it all unedited.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court poignantly asked for clarity on the issues we have been talking about in chop bars and drinking spots. What was Tsatsu getting at with retrospective bias? Did Tony Lithur say that biometric verification could be Face recognition without finger printing? And Addison? Are we really sure the documents are sufficiently well organized that the judges can see their way clearly and make grouping verdicts? Avoid another KPMG botch up?

I might not have had anything to say this week were it not for the “asp” of Sir John. Sir John got off lightly. Slapping a ghc5,000 fine and letting him walk wasn’t a light decision, especially after Justice Atuguba gave Ghanaians a piece of his mind. His warning message reverberated in all homes and streaked caution. Express his concerns he did. He said politicians have disabled law enforcement agencies because of the power they have arrogated to themselves and it is up to the judiciary to clamp down on political bigotry. “If we don’t, we will be letting the state down.” He could not fathom why two people should die because of elections and stated that a mere election process for 275 MPs and a handful of presidential candidates ought not threaten the peace in the country.

Ghanaians everywhere should be bolstered by this. We can have a Supreme bench that will restore the authority of justice and we won’t have platforms for political “asps”.

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

Columnist: Sydney Casely-Hayford