Opinions Sat, 5 Jan 2013
To start with, I need to explain the meaning of incumbency for people to understand the points I will be raising and discussing.Incumbency is the duty or obligation of an incumbent (an office holder). What then is an Incumbent? "Incumbent is a person, party or organization holding an indicated position, role, office, etc. The current holder of a political office is best described as the incumbent. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent".
In Ghana, before, during and after the Election 2012, the NDC government and party are referred to as the incumbent. They are ruling the nation as we speak.
When an office holder or the governing political party misapplies or scandalously apply their obligations, they stand accused of abusing their position or office. When say a political party, and for reference sake, or purpose of expounding or expatiating upon the theme "abusing incumbency", I am citing the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The underlying enumerated incidents are examples of how the NDC government and party under the late President Mills and current President Mahama abused, and continue to abuse, their incumbency.
(a) They allowed their foot soldiers plenty of leeway to commit acts of crime with impunity - beating toilet attendants, usurping their functions, and confiscating their property. In some instances, e.g. in Abgogloshie in Accra, they hacked some to death. Same foot soldiers in many areas of the country chased out the Managers and top workers of some National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) centres, took over their jobs, or temporarily closed down the centres.
(b) They sacked from office many people in responsible positions perceived to owe allegiance to the rival NPP party or belong in that political persuasion. In my own town of Kumawu, I learnt with shock during my recent short visit to Ghana how those of Northern descent replaced all those employed on The Youth Employment Scheme but are Asantes. In addition, my source of information revealed that some elderly Zongo persons are on the Youth Employment Scheme register drawing monthly salary or wages.
(c) The practice of selective justice has become the norm in the country. Many NPP sympathisers will be arrested, remanded and prosecuted for an offence the same committal of which the NDC member or sympathiser will go scot free without even a caution or an insignificant punishment. For example, the incident of a radio panelist who first likened Nana Akuffo-Addo to an ugly weed-puffing dwarf and the NPP respondent calling then President Mills a Chimpanzee. The police arrested the NPP man without touching the NDC person. Have you forgotten about the case of Hon. Kennedy Agyapong in admonition-response to the savagery then in perpetration by Nii Lante Vanderpuiye, an aide to the late President Mills and also NDC parliamentary contestant for Odododiodoo Constituency seat? The Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) department arrested, remanded, charged and arraigned Honourable Kennedy Agyapong. However, Yaw Boateng Gyan of NDC got away with far worse crime than that of Hon. Kennedy Agyapong. He was caught on recorded tape recruiting some people to kill a section of Ghanaians he considers in his warped thinking to be the enemies of his NDC party and government.
(d) They connived and condoned with one Alfred Agbesi Woyome to swindle Ghana of GHC51 Million. The government appointees like Deputy Information Minister Okudzeto Ablakwah, NDC Communication Director at the Presidency, Koku Anyidoho, Deputy Attorney General Ebo Barton-Oduro and Attorney General Betty Mould-Iddrisu were all the while conniving with individuals, phantoms or ghosts, and foreign Companies (Pioneer Construction and Africa Automobile etc.) to dupe Ghana. Deputy Chief of Staff, Alex Segbefia employed one Carl Wilson who literally stole flashy cars imported into Ghana by individuals for the benefit of NDC government and party.
(e) During the election, the NDC party and government were purchasing voter's cards from eligible electorates inclined to the NPP. They were dishing out brand new cars to University female students belonging in the NDC, giving out cars to chiefs and distributing money to people with intention to influence the direction of their votes. They also paid huge sums of money to polling agents to support them in an event of altering election results. (f) Even though the NDC government knew the usefulness of Nana Akuffo-Addo's electrifying Free Senior High School education policy, they mounted anti-Free SHS advertisements all over the audiovisual media especially, on MTV and TV3 to hook people off that policy. The abuses are more than I can write about today.
Below are some of the implications of abusing one's position. I have used the NDC as a case scenario.
1. People in the country are not treated fairly equally. This prepares a fertile ground for insurrection, or animosity from the less favoured towards the more favoured and a vice versa. 2. The Security Forces become politicized, unprofessional and always take the side of the incumbent government or party in order to keep their job. 3. There comes the attendant segregation and apartheid that the good people of South Africa have even abolished for being unhealthy, unhelpful, dangerous and destructive
4. It breeds gargantuan and unprecedented corruption among those privileged to be in government and in the party, the act depriving the nation of money we could have put to a better use for the collective benefit of all 5. Elections are often rigged to maintain the party in power. This becomes frustrating to many people. It denies them their wish of effecting a change in government to better move the nation forward when such situation becomes imperative.
7. The government as it is in the case of NDC hires press and selfish or insatiably greedy people to deceive the masses through acts of misinformation 8. The socio-economic development stagnates if not retrogresses. 9. Good neighbourliness becomes the thing of the past. Each one begins to distrust the other. 10. The country by the evil acts, or misdeeds of the incumbent person, party or government, suffers irreparable damage and international ridicule. Libya, Syria and Egypt have become victims of abusive incumbency. Ghana is on the verge of becoming one with the dragging of President-elect John Dramani Mahama and the dubious Electoral Commissioner to court. The NPP have dragged both to the Supreme Court to answer questions on alleged electoral malpractices and unprecedented electoral fraud. 11. Lawlessness by party members is encouraged as the government often keeps a blind eye. The lawless ones in the case of the NDC are the hired macho men thugs to help prop or entrench the position of the government. 12. The bad nuts in the country by their close association with the incumbent government, having once assisted or continue to fraudulently assist her, able to dictate their wishes to the government. For example, one Alfred Agbesi Woyome has warned John Mahama against appointing anyone who is somehow associated with his swindling, as a Minister or a Deputy Minister. He will spill the beans if Mahama goes against his warning. This is how bad abusing your incumbency is, able to allow a dubious individual to hold the government to ransom.
We must learn to desist from the temptations of abusing incumbency, as the aftermath is always regrettable, disastrous and may at times be irredeemable. It etches everlasting pain on the minds of people. It breeds unnecessary contempt and enmities.
Thank you my Fellow Ghanaians of integrity for taking time to read it. May justice and truth always prevail to bring about the anticipated peace. I dedicate this article to DJ Sources of Sources radio and all the good people of Ghana.
Columnist: Adofo, Rockson