Mahama cannot escape blame for the looting game

Mahama Nice President John Mahama

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 Source: Ebo Quansah

For what reasons are President John Dramani Mahama and his ministers being paid from scant state coffers in the last two quarters of the year? All that Mr. Mahama and all his ministers have been doing is to exploit state resources for campaigning to remain in office, in spite of the obvious fact that they have overstayed their welcome.

We have a a Head of State, who is only hopping from one region to the other, depending on where the opposition candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has been and drawn the crowd in its numbers, and still drawing the GH¢10,000 a month wages and fat allowances for no job done for the state, at a time mental patients at the nation’s health care institutions are being denied basic drug requirements and food.

It offends my sensibilities as a Ghanaian that we have a Head of State who is permanently on the road, and still drawing fat salaries and allowances, and using state resources without contributing towards the socio-economic development of this nation.

The other day, when I heard via television President Mahama suggesting that he knew next to nothing about the plight of patients at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, who were being denied medical care and the basic necessities of food, I said to myself that this Head of State has no business being at the helm of affairs. I bet he need not be entertained beyond his sell-by date of January 6, 2017.

At the weekend, the President added to my consternation as a Ghanaian living under his leadership, when I heard on Adom FM, that macho men following the Head of State on his tour had assaulted a 52 year-old man who made the Yeresesamu (We want change) sign when Mr. Mahama and his long convoy passed through Fumso in the Adansi South District of the Ashanti Region.

Nana Gyamfi Gyamera was said to have been beaten up by macho men belonging to a vigilante group, and who were following the President. I thought Inspector General of Police John Kudalor had vowed before Ghanaians that was going to disband all vigilante groups in the political parties.

If the Inspector-General cares to know, the ordinary man on the street looks upon him as a police boss with obvious bias towards the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). I do not believe I need to offer my apology to any one for making this statement. The way and manner he handled the peaceful protest in Accra the other day, when members of Let My Vote Count Alliance took to the streets in a peaceful protest and were met with brute police brutality, leading to one man losing his eye. Mr. Kudalor, I am afraid, has dented his image as a man of principles and an honest broker.

If the leader of the Ghana Police Service cares to know, not many Ghanaians would put their trust in him to call the errant Presidential convoy to order. I do not intend ever to buy a second hand car from the leader of the Police Service in this country. I bet if information had filtered through of an attack being perpetrated on an innocent citizen from the Nana Addo campaign team, hell would have broken loose.

By the way, is the Peace Council still active? Occasionally, I spot the former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Very Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Kwaku Asante, Chairman of the council, speaking big grammar on radio and television. Even then, the suspicion is that the words tend to be clearer only when addressing alleged infractions from the minority parties and their followers.

If the Peace Council is unaware, a large mass of Ghanaians are losing confidence in the council’s ability to be honest brokers, as we approach one of the most contentious elections in the history of this nation. The belief is that words from the council are either absent, or the message gets muffled when the NDC and its leaders are caught red-handed.

I thought the Peace Council and other civil society organisations would react strongly to the statement from the Attorney-General of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs. Marietta Brew-Oppong, who has written to discontinue the state’s pursuit of the loot fraudulently paid to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, described as a financier of the ruling NDC.

I bet, if Woyome had belonged to the main opposition party, the Attorney-General would have used every available means to retrieve the loot. GH¢51.2 million is no chicken feed. At a time when people with mental disabilities are being denied food and medical care, it is an affront to the people of Ghana for the Attorney-General to look at Ghanaians in our faces, and tell us that she cannot, and would not, seek to retrieve the Woyome loot.

In any case, what is President Mahama saying about that? Absolutely nothing! Like the three wise monkeys, President Mahama wants to hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil about a deal that stinks all the way to the polls. What can the Head of State say when he is a direct beneficiary of that sordid deal? And I will explain why I think he is a direct beneficiary.

It is a fact universally acknowledged in Ghana that part of the Woyome loot was used to pay the live television coverage of deceased President John Evans Atta Mills’ saga of returning his nomination forms for the 2012 presidential elections to the Electoral Commission.

Mr. John Dramani Mahama was the running mate and benefitted from Woyome using part of his loot to meet the expenses incurred in the live television coverage. That is not the only reason why I think Mr. Mahama has decided to keep mute over the Attorney-General’s decision not to interrogate Mr. Woyome before the Supreme Court.

If you ask my honest opinion about the Presidential muteness on the Woyome deal, I will tell you that Mr. Mahama is constrained by a number of factors, not the least, the circumstances under which $650,000 of scarce state money was thrown at a Burkinabe contractor for fencing state property in Ouagadougou. If the money paid was outrageous, what followed the construction is very disgraceful to the Head of State, and an affront to the people of Ghana, I dare state.

We are told that the Head of State of this Republic accepted a US$100,000 Ford Expedition car gift from the contractor, after he had executed the contract and received that outrageous fee. For me, money could have been part of the deal, given the fact that the gift to the President remained on the blind side of the good people of Ghana, until a young newsman travelled to Ouagadougou and relayed the information, via radio, four years after the President had accepted the gift.

The fact that spineless men and women at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice managed to cook a report shielding President Mahama from blame, does not take away the naked fact that the President of the Republic of Ghana was bribed.

I still agonise over the fact that my President, who has everything at his disposal for free, could be influenced by a foreign contractor who has done a job and been paid for from the sweat and toil of the people. For me, as a Ghanaian and a social commentator, President Mahama lost the honour to lead this nation from the front, the moment he accepted that naked bribe from the Burkinabe contractor. To add to the confusion, this Head of State goes about pontificating about bribery and corruption, as if he is the best thing to happen to this country.

If anybody cares to examine the cost of doing business under this administration, that person or institution would come to the realisation that contract sums have been padded astronomically. It all adds up to vital state resources wantonly wasted in the name of development. I have stated it somewhere before. Let me re-emphasise here. Mahama has been a waste of time and resources.

I shall return!

Columnist: Ebo Quansah