Opinions Sat, 26 Nov 2005

Of Narcotics, Philanthropists and Party Finances

Alas, the hurly burly has been dropped. What some of us had always suspected but hoped we were wrong about has blighted the socio - political landscape of our country.

It is now common knowledge that the NPP member of parliament, Hon Eric Amoateng (Nkoranza North) was arrested and charged with importation, possession and intent to distribute heroin, a controlled substance and an illegal narcotic drug by Federal drug enforcement agents in New York. This piece of really bad news has implications that go far beyond what most of us have bothered to consider, but before I go into those issues, let me get some phlegm off my chest.

As surprising as this news was to some of us, what has been more surprising has been the reaction of some of the NPP?s apparatchiks in government, whose pronouncements and actions have been almost as idiotic as the criminal actions of the man who chose to bring the name of this country, parliament, the good people of Nkoranza North and his party into international ridicule.

First of all, let me talk about Hon P.C. Appiah Ofori, the NPP MP for Odobeng Asikuma Brakwa, who said on Metro TV this morning ?Last week, when I heard this news, I had hoped it was an NDC MP, but God did not answer my prayers? My immediate thoughts were whether God?s answer to some people?s prayers was to make other people misconduct themselves in a criminal manner?

Mr. Appiah Ofori?s statement was not only alarming and asinine, but revealed subconsciously, the twisted logic that is betwixt the siege mentality driving the inner workings of the NPP ?oppresnikis?. For them, everything is politics, politics, politics. There is no sense of realism, duty or dare I say, compassion in them. It is simply politics as usual.

Mr. Appiah Ofori was not worried about the fact that an MP had smuggled drugs, he was not worried that a member of that august legislative body had pulled the name of the remaining 229 members through the dirt, he was not worried that the image of this country, which is already listed as a hub for drugs on the United States State Department?s website, was being further traumatized by a man who should have known better. All he wanted was the culprit to be an NDC member, so that his party could gain some political traction. The only thing I have to say to Mr. Appiah Ofori is this. ?Sir, you should be ashamed of yourself, and people like you should never ever be in a position of responsibility. You are a disgrace to the people you represent, and I hope the NDC members of parliament treat you with the contempt that you deserve. You are a complete disgrace to a vocation that is fast becoming as ignoble as being a Pharisee in biblical times.?

Next there was Haruna Esseku who came on radio to tell the nation that he was not too comfortable with the resume of Eric Amoateng, when he presented himself for selection during the primaries because is C.V. only cited him as a ?philanthropist?. He further said that Mr. Amoateng was involved in so many philanthropic events in Nkoranza and his sources of finance had always been questionable. So the question to Mr. Esseku is this ?Did you simply present this guy to the good people of Nkoranza because he was a cash machine, even though you had doubts about his character? How much money has this guy given the party at the national level? How much of his drug money was contributed to President Kufuor?s estimated $30 million re-election effort?? Some grapevine stories have the figures at around 3.5 Billion cedis. I wonder how true that is.

Last but not least, there is the trip by the Chief of Staff at the Presidency and Minister of Presidential Affairs Kwadwo Mpiani to New York to ostensibly ascertain the truth of the situation. These clowns still do not get it do they? What is the function of the Ghana embassy in the U.S? What does the Chief of Staff at the presidency?s job description have to do with flying to New York to find out about the authenticity of a drug bust involving an MP who is not even a minister? Could it be that some people are anxious that he would start spilling the beans?

Or is Kwadwo Mpiani under instruction from his boss to ?bail? the suspect? This is the same Kwadwo Mpiani, whose nephew was given a no bid contract to supply Rover cars to ministers, when Rover have a dealer in this country by name of Mechanical Lloyd?

These people do not let go of any chance to collect some more per diem do they? Even at a time like this, another exercise in kleptomania is not far from their minds.

Now to the substantive issue; The story of Eric Amoateng comes as another notch on the totem pole of the corrupt, decrepit, criminal gang that is now ruling this country.

The president and almost all his men have been named in scandal after scandal, ranging from visa racketeering through illegal loan solicitations, a sitting deputy minister being indicted in the U.S. for enslavement and visa fraud, the callous murder of the Ya Na whilst the security agencies stood by paralyzed by orders from above, institutionalized kleptomania and now, the ultimate disgrace; Drug smuggling!

We all remember what happened when Alhaji Moktar Bamba, a minister at the presidency was caught using letterheads from the office of the president and forging signatures to apply for visas for certain NPP affiliated people. If you didn?t know, I am sure you guessed it. Nothing!

Recently, 4 members of the women?s wing of the NPP were arrested at the Kotoka International Airport with quantities of substances purported to be illegal drugs. The case has totally vanished, into thin air, and reliable information making the rounds indicate that these women were very highly connected. They threatened to reveal names and the same old thing happened. Nothing! These women are walking around freely as we speak.

The truth is that the government machinery is aware of all those who within their ranks who involve themselves in criminal activities. Kwadwo Mpiani?s quick trip to New York, may rest with the fact that it is alleged that Eric Amoateng is possibly one of the largest donors to the party at the national level. He is reported to have single handedly donated oodles of his ill gotten largesse to the president and his campaign team. He is reported to hand out cash so freely that his house is reminiscent of a UB 40 office. As we speak, it has been revealed by a friend of his in London, who happens to be an attorney and grandson of Dr K.A. Busia that he had links with ?some Russians who appeared shady to me?.

So at least some people have been aware that the man had the potential to implode, but did nothing.

All this time some of the president?s closest advisors were aware because Shirley Ayorkor Botchway the MP for Weija is reported to have mentioned to friends privately that they always had doubts about that guy, because there were rumors surrounding how he had so much money.

This is a further corroboration of Haruna Esseku?s public comments. The people of this country have now been subjected to this level of disgrace by a man who was reportedly constructing roads by himself, sponsoring polytechnic students galore, and literally bought the constituency for this government whilst no one asked any questions. Let there be no doubt that this revelation is unparalleled in the history of this nation.

Never under any regime both colonial and post colonial, has a sitting member of the legislature in this country been busted and charged with such a disgraceful crime, the president and his party must be wondering why the horse has now left the barn, and why their house of cards is now collapsing with alacrity around them. The answer is very simple, and can be found in the lyrics of the late great Robert Nestor Marley ?Only a fool leans upon his own misunderstanding? Ghanaians are no more leaning on the misunderstanding that this government they elected are only out to enrich themselves by any means necessary.

Ghanaians are no more leaning on the misunderstanding that this government has never had any intention of checking corruption and criminal behavior by people in government. Ghanaians are no more leaning on the misunderstanding that this government?s boorish response to their everyday concerns rests on their philosophy of simply taking our country to the cleaners within the shortest possible time.

The president and his gang of brigands, buccaneers and bevy of illegal drug apothecaries should know that ?you can fool all the people some of the time, you can fool some the people all of the time, but you can?t fool all the people all the time.? Bob Marley said that one too, so take that to the bank.

2008 is nearer than they think, and my advise to them is to make sure that they embark on capacity building in all the stockades countrywide (from Akuse, through Navrongo and Sekondi, to Nsawam) because they will need them.

But hey, who am I (a disgruntled Ewe idiot the last time I checked) to advise them?

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

Columnist: Quaye, Rikard