Re: John Mahama is richer than Ghana?

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 Source: Baidoo, Philip Kobina

A deceased uncle of mine once said that when you are lying calibrate your verbal incontinence, at least, to resemble the truth. And I think it makes a lot of sense. It is normal for writers to embellish the obvious, but yellow journalism is abhorrent to me even when it is applied against my mortal enemies. Just over a week ago an extremely provocative headline hit the electronic media written by Fadi Dabbousi Samih. This is the full title: John Mahama is Richer Than Ghana? Respond To the Panama Papers. It is a sort of headline that if you are also a rich picker in the President Mahama grapevine of corruption and incompetence you cannot help, but click on it. However, I was utterly disappointed that this writer did not offer any concrete evidence, but the Panama papers in passing without specific detail for his serious and, perhaps, destabilising claims. We all know the fishy deals Mr Fadi enumerated in his series in addition to the 10% cut on government contracts. But to suggest that President Mahama is worth $10 billion of investment around the globe is a belter.

The Panama papers has caused a lot of waves on the high seas of global politics. The prime minister of Iceland had to resign when his name appeared in it. It has undoubtedly made some few politicians very uncomfortable. As a result, a lot of op-ed writers are having a field day; coming up with all sorts of falsehood in its wake, and it’s very unfortunate. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t do this, but for my fetish for the truth I think I have to jump to the defence of a president whom I want kicked out in November. Our nation’s democratic foundation is still work in progress, and the truth, I believe, should not be compromised especially in the interest of our children. The foundation is not yet solid rock; therefore, such brazen lies is without doubt going to undermine it.

If I should have my way President John Dramani Mahama will be gone in a heartbeat, but wishes are not horses so I am obliged to have him as my president for the next eight months. I cannot definitively prove any solid evidence of corruption against the president. The only sliver of hope is circumstantial, which is very difficult to prove in a court of law. On the other hand, when it comes to incompetence I will not run out of ideas to write a best seller. The fact that some of us want to see his back does not mean that we have to concoct unsubstantiated spurious evidence to spread on the net.

The internet is very difficult to police. Anybody at all can even use a cell phone to spread outlandish rumours from any corner of the globe. What most people rely on is our personal integrity. What Mr Fadi relied on is a publication by some strange organisation called ‘Ghana Must Know Forum’. There have been cases where the prestigious web encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, had some of its entries falsified, even here in Britain. You can literally get materials on the net to prove anything. There is even one pathetic guy in the United States who specialises in going through my archived articles and culling phrases out of context and making me appear to be subscribing to his wet dreams. There will always be irresponsible organisations and people like the one above.

Mr Fadi’s series is a clear case of applying the tactics of Goebbels who said that the bigger the lie the more people will believe it. For President Mahama to grab even a billion dollars is a huge step. I am not even going to waste my time to write on the size of the economy nor the international grants and loans that flows into the country. We are talking about Mahama creaming off the wealth of the country for his private benefit. Ghana is not a banana republic like Mobutu’s Zaire that the president controls everything. There are branches of government with oversight responsibilities.

Mahama, theoretically, does not have access to the treasury. There is the accountant general and the Governor of Bank of Ghana who manage the finance and reserves of the country. At least, for him to steal that outrageous amount he will have to be in collusion with the people named above, which means they will also have their cut. They cannot allow the president to get away with such mammoth sum and sulk in their offices. Let’s assume that the ten billion include profit from the initial investment. So, at the lower end of it, we are talking about $6 billion being randomly misappropriated from the national kitty. I will suggest that 20% of the booty will be a respectable amount for the co-conspirators. Now, if the president alone gets away with $6 billion then the governor and accountant general taking part in the booty will have not less than a billion dollars in their foreign accounts. Besides, some of the junior officers will also have knowledge of this and will like to have their cut, and, of course, the circle widens for the comfort of the president. What about the Vice President and some of the powerful ministers? Do they also have their billions stashed in Dubai investments? We are not here talking about the small change of SADA, Woyome, bus rebranding etc., but billions of dollars.

Does the end justify the means, Mr Fadi? After you have succeeded with this evil tactic what wake do you leave behind? Because we are still trying very hard to hold this fragile democracy together under extremely difficult circumstances. As I read all the series the story that kept coming to my mind is the events that led to the execution of Sir Thomas More, the English statesman who authored the famous fictional political and philosophical book called Utopia. The events were adapted and produced at the Globe Theatre in 1960 entitled ‘A Man For All Seasons’. In the play, there was a dialogue between Sir Thomas More and a vicious and ambitious prosecutor – Roper. I am going to paraphrase to make it short. Sir More said, you would break the law to punish the devil? Then Roper shot back, I would cut down every law in England to destroy the devil. And More replied, and when the last law is down and the devil turned on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat.

Mr Fadi has decided to destroy everything in his way to get to President Mahama. In this case the devil, Mahama, is not going to turn around to face him. The possibility still remains for Nana Addo to become the president. And this should have crossed the mind of Mr Fadi that when you set this precedence you don’t expect your opponents to be saints when your time comes. The Akans will tell you that when you are devouring the finger of a monkey pause and look at your own. And for the embattled President Mahama, they say when you smell unscrupulous people will always spoil the air and blame you.

Philip Kobina Baidoo Jnr



Columnist: Baidoo, Philip Kobina