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Opinions Tue, 31 Jan 2017

Who really trusts Kwesi Pratt on Ayarigagate?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

He has been mentioned in published news reports as one of the “peanut recipients” and beneficiaries of the Woyome Loot, and so one does not know what to make of Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jr.’s decision to go to bat for the besieged National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Bawku-Central and former Minister for the Environment, Science and Technology, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, who has apparently been caught in an intricate web of lies in his attempt to seriously undermine the political career and integrity of Mr. Boakye-Agyarko, President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s nominee-designate for the Ministry of Energy (“NPP-MP Confirmed Ayariga’s Bribery Claim – Kwesi Pratt” Ghanaweb.com 1/28/17).

Mr. Pratt is also known to have been on the fuel-allocation roll of the Mahama regime, among a legion of other “unsolicited” perks granted him by the same regime.

The editor-publisher of the so-called Insight newspaper is alleged to have to a host of the NDC propaganda mouthpiece, the Accra-based Radio Gold, that he has information indicating that a ruling party’s Member of Parliament had admitted to having facilitated the raising of funds allegedly meant to induce the National Democratic Congress’ minority members on the Parliamentary Appointments Committee (PAC) to vote unanimously for the confirmation of President Akufo-Addo’s former campaign manager.

It also appears that a group of New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentarians, and some other key operatives of the ruling party, who were eager to have the nomination of Mr. Boakye-Agyarko whose PAC confirmation had earlier on been mothballed, largely as a result of a peeved PAC minority, unfrozen and unanimously approved in order to have the nominee promptly assume his post at the Energy Ministry, had raised some payola funds to promote the cause of the former Vice-President of a local branch of the Bank of New York, and not the entire Bank of New York System, as widely publicized by the nation’s media.

Even assuming that the preceding story contained any iota of veracity or truth, it would still not implicate the nominee for the Energy Ministry whose nomination, as of this writing, had reportedly been already confirmed by the PAC’s New Patriotic Party majority, against the wishes of some National Democratic Congress’ holdouts on the PAC. As I noted in a previous column on the same subject, a whopping 62-percent of the PAC’s membership are NPP representatives; and so there was absolutely no chance for the nominations of Messrs. Boakye-Agyarko and Yaw Osafo-Maafo to be held in abeyance unless, of course, a seemingly weak-willed NPP’s PAC majority brooked the same. Put in simple terms, neither Monsieur Boakye-Agyarko nor Osafo-Maafo had any need to induce the NDC members on the PAC with payolas deviously packaged as “sitting” or “over-sitting” allowances.

As of this writing, Mr. Muntaka Mubarak, a self-proclaimed devout Muslim and the Parliamentary Minority Chief Whip and MP for Kumasi-Asewase, had vehemently denied that he had either personally handed any package containing the alleged GH? 3,000 to Mr. Mahama Ayariga, or alerted the latter to the fact of its having originated from the Energy Minister-Designate. We need to also promptly highlight here that the freezing of Mr. Boakye-Agyarko’s nomination confirmation had apparently not been squarely predicated on the fact of whether the nominee was qualified for the job, but rather because Mr. Boakye-Agyarko is alleged to have leveled some corruption charges against former President John Dramani Mahama, as well as having made some caustic comments that sought to portray the former president as a grossly incompetent leader, to the great annoyance and fury of widely known Mahama pets like the Bawku-Central MP.

Likewise, as of this writing, PAC Chairman Joseph Osei-’Wusu had threatened to head for the courts next Tuesday, January 31, to clear his name and also to ensure that Mr. Ayariga pays dearly for so cavalierly presuming to tarnish his image and reputation. Well, as far as yours truly can tell, what we need to be talking about here is the means by which the Bawku-Central MP secured his seat, as well as the reason why Bawku, in particular, but the Upper-East Region, in general, continues to rank as arguably the most violent region in the country. Indeed, the original caption of this column was “Like Hassan, Like Mahama,” in view of the fact of the Ayariga Brothers’ having made quite an unenviable name for themselves in our national political culture and on our national political landscape.

Mr. Ayariga says that he is sticking to his guns. And so one can almost be certain that the last on this case has yet to be heard, decided and laid to rest. We shall be studiously watching and remarking on the same as we deem it timely and appropriate.

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame