Opinions Mon, 1 Mar 2004

Ease up on President Kufuor:

A Rejoinder- "Zero Tolerance" To Official Corruption what is wrong?

In an election year, savaging of political opponents takes on a new edge. Political parties jockey for advantage with voters. And, as the ruling party pulls strings to cling to power, the opposition long removed from the corridors of power, rails and rants against perceived government missteps. That is the beauty of democracy.....

Against this background, the recent allegations of corruption against some high ranking NPP members quite naturally ignited a firestorm of scolding, criticisms and unadulterated political grandstanding by the usual suspects?

In an op-ed piece on Ghanaweb----- dated 2/27/04-----William Antwi of New York, waxed cranky about the declining standards in Ghana, and shamelessly blamed everything on the reigning NPP.

"What this president and his party are doing to the country should be of grave concern to all peace loving Ghanaians,"Antwi hissed.

While we all agree that official corruption and graft are mitigating factors against success in Ghana, it is also important to point out that these twin "evils" are not the province of one particular administration. Official corruption was endemic in past administrations, civilian and military.

Don't get me wrong, folks. This rejoinder by no means inoculates the NPP against accusations of corruption. Indeed, the alleged charges of corruption against Mocktar Bamba and others should be thoroughly investigated and the full weight of the law brought to bear on the suspects.

This notwithstanding, what I am advocating here is simple: pundits, partisan hacks and others must be careful that in their rush to judgement they don't spray around dirt, and in the process tar everyone in the NPP with graft. Let us get beyond the innuendoes, folks.

In his column, the writer raised the specter of an N.P. government asleep at the wheels, but his musings were so awash in generalities and platitudes that I immediately dismissed them as bickering by a pliable partisan hack whose tether to reality seems badly frayed.

And the glaring omission by Antwi to inform readers that the N.P. inherited a wrecked economy, failing state institutions and a citizenry that was literally exhausted from 20 years of P/N.C. rule, was not only smutty, it just as well abnegated the very purpose of his fine article.

Pointing an accusatory finger at the NPP for committing a litany of "blunders", running the gamut from using state funds to renovate the president's house, to NPP leaders shielding their assets and financial declaration forms from public scrutiny, Antwi tartly observed: "What classless act! To put it blandly, this govt. is setting a dangerous precedent for the country which will eventually destroy our democracy (if not arrested immediately)."

Hogwash?terrible precedents were set by previous administrations. Don't let us start removing scabs from old wounds.

The writer also claimed that despite overwhelming preponderance of evidence of corruption in the NPP administration, Kufour has demonstrated gross indifference. "What is more astounding is that the President as our chief law enforcement officer has done his damnable best to keep his distance by pretending to be dead on this national disgrace," Antwi noted.

The notion that the president is unconcerned about corruption in his administration is just plain silly. He has a citizenry to answer to, and a reputation to maintain. Antwi isn't privy to decisions reached at the highest level of government.

Granted, government officials like Baba took advantage of weakened fissures in the system to feed at the public trough, it is lame to excoriate one individual for the graft of his underlings.

Finally, though we all share Antwi's sentiments about the profoundly daunting issues facing our nation, let us be cognizant of the fact that preceding administrations were just as corrupt and reckless, and trying to right the ship of state after years of mismanagement isn't exactly a walk in the park.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Yahaya, Moses Kofi