By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
May 10, 2011
As the in-fighting in the NDC rages on, some disquieting developments have begun emerging to threaten our peace of mind and must be stemmed before they blow us off our feet. I am tempted to infer from those happenings that some elements are pushing Ghanaian politics to its lowest depths of depravity.
Herbert Mensah, described as “a self-confessed radical individual and a close associate of the Rawlingses,” has come to attention for making two different utterances that have far-reaching implications for our politics. First, he is reported to have castigated those he calls “small boys” in the Mills’ administration for daring to face up to his master (J.J. Rawlings).
Speaking in an interview with Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo Morning Show,” the former Asante Kotoko Chief Executive decried what he called “junior ministers of little standing” who take on Rawlings whenever he pours venom on President Mills. He blamed the Presidency and national security for overlooking what to him is “irrelevant and stupid statements on air” in reaction to the criticisms that Rawlings has launched against President Mills. In effect, Mensah wants those “small boys” to keep quiet and allow President Mills himself to face Rawlings in the exchanges. He detests their bravado.
This utterance by Mensah doesn’t matter much to me because it reinforces the problem that factionalism has created for the NDC. I won’t bat an eyelid over it.
It is his second utterance that angered me. Mensah is reported to have disclosed that security tapes he has had access to have revealed that President Mills’ campaign team plans to use about 90 million Ghana Cedis to fuel his campaign for flag bearer of the NDC.
Speaking on Adom FM on Tuesday morning, Mensah said he and former President Rawlings discovered the information from security tapes they got from the Castle. He was, however, not willing to go into details on the matter such as where the funds will be coming from. He stated that at the appropriate time, they will come out with the full details.
This utterance must not be glossed over because of its dire implications. It has the entailments of a national security issue and must be delved into. The substance of this utterance concerning the quantum of money is not what piques me; it is the mention of “security tapes” that strikes me as odd, coming from someone who has no known business to do at the Castle which might bring him into contact with such “security tapes.”
Are we really safe?
Herbert Mensah’s claim evokes alarm—and that is where the need to take up the matter to uncover the network involving him and the Rawlingses as well as their internal collaborators at the Presidency arises. The security risk is accentuated by the import of this revelation. We need to know who secretly records what transpires at the Presidency to hand over to Mensah and his master. As of now, we can’t tell what else at the Presidency (the nerve centre of the government in all senses) has been leaked by those “Castle sources” to him, the Rawlingses, or all other characters whom we don’t yet know.
That is why action must be taken to probe the matter. Even though Mensah refused to reveal names and identities of the informants, official action should be taken to compel him to do so. Ghanaians need to know whether whatever goes on at the Presidency is compartmentalized or secretly recorded and smuggled out to sources that don’t need to know the country’s (or the government’s) secrets. Anything concerning official government business or national security matters that goes into the wrong hands will harm us; and we have every right to be apprehensive and call for immediate action to probe the matter.
This allegation by Mensah is compelling enough for serious official inquiry. President Mills must order an immediate investigation into the matter and begin a deep scrutiny of all those at the Presidency so as to know and weed out the moles. If nothing of the sort is done, he will live to regret his lethargy. We don’t want anybody entrusted with official business to endanger state security.
The matter should by now have been taken up by the appropriate state agencies without any prompting from anybody were those institutions strong enough to act on their own and be respected as such. But because they are still weak, none will do so. They are waiting for the matter to die out on its own!!
And because the government itself seems not to be proactive or determined enough to ward off needless interference or disruption of its activities by opponents, it hasn’t been able to react immediately to the allegation. The more it fails to allay public fears, the more it creates room for it to be disparaged.
I am particularly unhappy that this Herbert Mensah, who is not a politician in the strictest sense of the word, will find his tongue to lash out this way. This Herbert Mensah who, for many years was one of the arch enemies of Rawlings principally because the Rawlings-led government had confiscated his father’s International Tobacco (Ghana) Limited and other assets, is now a political ally of the Rawlingses. He was walking the corridors of power under the Kufuor-led NPP government, expecting that the NPP government would de-confiscate his father’s assets and release them to him (or the B.A. Mensah family). That didn’t happen and he came out bitterly lashing out at Kufuor for that matter.
We heard him complain bitterly and why he turned against the NPP. Then, driven by instincts (some of which we are beginning to uncover, especially given the fact that he is said to be the one who produced the grandson for the Rawlings—through his relationship with Dr. Ezanetor Rawlings), he has found a safe haven in the home of the Rawlingses.
Certainly, these birds have discovered that they are of same feathers and must flock together in a bond cemented by nothing but personal interests and bitterness against anybody they regard as political opponents. On that score, then, we may be tempted to ignore them; but we must not because of other considerations, especially the extent to which they are pushing their luck. We must not allow them to roam the political landscape to foment trouble.
On hindsight, we may want to discount Mensah’s allegation concerning the 90 million Cedis. After all, as a protégé of Rawlings, he carries along with him his master’s penchant for villainous exaggeration and lying to score political points. Was Rawlings not the very person who claimed to have incontrovertible evidence concerning the serial murders that rocked the country in 2000 and the murder of the Ya-Na (Yakubu Andani II) but has failed to produce it for us to nail down the culprits? Has Rawlings any more credibility left? Both Mensah and his master are using nothing but alarming fabrications and outright mischief as their main political weapon. We shouldn’t allow them any elbow room to carry out their agenda of creating disaffection for the government and putting the people on edge for nothing.
Herbert Mensah is nobody and must be made to know that stark truth as action is taken against him. Having already been proselytized by the Rawlingses, he must know his station and be content with the goodies that he is gorging himself with in their home. But if he is deceived by his association with the Rawlingses to carry his arrogance and foolhardiness beyond bounds, he should be stopped right in his stride. That’s my message to whoever is listening.
On a bigger note, I am waiting impatiently for the day when a President will be bold enough to invoke the necessary powers of state to take the fight to Rawlings and all those camping with him to cause trouble. There is every justification for all necessary political will and moral courage to be mustered up to take on these characters and deal them the blow that will shatter them. I don’t have to explain why because everything about them is glaringly plain to all peace-loving Ghanaians.