Opinions Mon, 12 Jun 2006

Problem Diasporan Appointments: Osei Ameyaw, Akwasi Prempeh. Who is next?

The recent press reports that the President?s nominee for Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister could not sail through parliamentary vetting has sent shock waves within the NPP and the general public at large. What makes it even more surprising is that the nominee, Mr Lawrence Akwasi Agyeman-Prempeh failed the citizenship criterion. It is public knowledge within NPP circles that the nominee settled in Ghana after some years overseas.

All it had to take was an interview with the nominee to clarify his current citizenship status. The fact that HE President Kufuor proceeded with the nomination indicates that neither him nor his Presidential staff did any background checks on the nominee. It is my hope that Mr. Akwasi Prempeh would not have lied to the President or his staff if he had been asked about his citizenship status. Or did he lie? The people of Ghana deserve to know.

The birth of democracy in Ghana has now opened the door for many of our brothers and sisters who left the country for one reason or the other, to return and help in the economic development of Ghana. For those of us in Ghana, this is very welcome and we look up to them to impart the knowledge and experience they have acquired overseas. However, if in their pursuit for political power or ministerial appointments, some of them take the people of Ghana for granted and try to bulldoze their way through vetting without being truthful to the people of Ghana, then our country is the loser.

A case in point is the Deputy Ministerial appointment of Hon. Osei Ameyaw, MP for Asuogyaman. If the President?s office had used diplomatic channels available to it, there is no doubt that they would have found that the MP had a fraud case against him in Australia. Under such a circumstance, the right thing to do is to withdraw his nomination until he was cleared of the charge. The President?s office failed Ghanaians and the honourable MP allowed his personal political ambitions to override the interest of the country he is serving. What emerged in Ghanaian Media Houses as ?CITATION: New South Wales Bar Association v Osei? which found ex-Minister Osei Ameyaw guilty of Professional Misconduct - improperly induce client to invest funds, mislead client, mislead Law Society/Bar Association/LSC and fail to advance and protect the interests of client, became an embarrassment to President Kufuor and Ghana as a country. However, credit goes to HE President Kufuor for acting quickly to remove Hon Osei Ameyaw from his deputy ministerial appointment.

President Kufuor, the NPP and Parliament have a duty to serve Ghana and to appoint Ministers who respect Ghana?s constitution and put Ghana above their own personal interests. Mr. Akwasi Prempeh has failed the people of Ashanti Region and his country for not disclosing his dual citizenship to the President when he was nominated, unless his did and the President ignored the breach of constitution and went ahead and nominated him. Ex-Minister Osei Ameyaw has failed the people of Asuogyaman and his country for accepting a nomination when he knew of a legal battle between him and the New South Wales Bar. Until diasporans treat the people of Ghana with respect and the President and Parliament take the time for proper background checks, these sorts of embarrassments will continue and Ghana will be the loser. It is my hope that the NDC, CPP and other political parties are taking note. Let us embrace our brothers and sisters from overseas, but let us ensure that the few who want to pursue their personal interests do not undermine the goodwill of others who genuinely want to contribute and make Ghana a better place to live.

Ernest Kwame Appiah (Kumasi)

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

Columnist: Appiah, Ernest Kwame