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Elections have consequences

Sun, 8 Nov 2020 Source: Bright Asamoah

Twenty-five years ago, a press conference was called to launch an anti-government demonstration in Ghana. The demonstration which ensued, estimated at over a hundred thousand people, became the largest yet protest in Ghana’s history.

It would mark a significant pivot in democratic expression against harsh government policy, military dictatorship and government over-reach. The voice that formally launched that demonstration, was no other than that of Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo’s.

It wasn’t stirring, but it had an edge to it, almost auspicious, cutting through a 14-year culture of silence that was straining at the seams and had cast a long, dark, pall over Ghana. How that voice came to be reading the formal press statement launching the demonstration, was unceremonious.

Ghanaians didn’t know it then, but according to credible accounts, journalist Kwesi Pratt, jnr., lawyer Akoto Ampaw and Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, key members of the Alliance for Change (AFC), organizers of the Kume Preko demonstration, suggested that Akuffo-Addo serve as spokesperson for the event.

During the fateful events of May 11, 1995, four persons were shot dead, among them, a young boy called Ahornu Honga. In the days following, several more press events were held, and the voice of Akuffo-Addo would echo as spokesperson, personally committing to helping the stricken Honga family and other victims overcome their grief. The palliative effects of Akuffo-Addo’s promises then, were instantaneous. However, in the days and weeks that followed, they lacked substance and endurance.

And as the months turned into years, it became apparent, that the Honga family and others, as well as the Ghanaian public, had been largely deceived; that although the collective leadership of the AFC was genuine in its purpose and honest in its dealings with Ghanaians in general, one person within that coalition, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, was not. He had other vested interests, in a movement whose spokesperson he had become accidentally, and yet whose potential as a vehicle for self-aggrandizement he clearly recognized and sort to appropriate.

That recognition and eventual appropriation, was a fateful one, and he parlayed it to carefully choreograph and project a dubious reputation as a human rights activist, on top of an allegedly pre-existing controversial one as a prominent, successful lawyer and a strident rule-of-law advocate. He was in fact, none of these.

Akuffo-Addo’s life of jurisprudence has been tenuous and contentious, at best. It has been alleged several times over, that he doesn’t actually have a law degree, or that if he does, it is at best questionable.

For a man who reportedly dropped out of a Philosophy, Politics and Economics course in which he had earlier enrolled at New College, Oxford, and had not formally attended Law School except an apprenticeship training in a professional association under the Inner Temple, the debate about his legal qualifications remain relevant, only because of his high-handed posturing and elitism, and because before he became president, he was relentlessly promoted as a “legal luminary”. “Luminary”? – that’s an interesting characterization requiring further probing. For instance, in the Original Latin, Lumen or Lumin, means Light. In Medieval English, derived from Old French Luminaire or Late Latin Luminarium, it means a natural light-giving body, especially the sun or moon.

So logically, one must question what kind of light Akuffo-Addo shed on the legal profession in Ghana. Was it of the seminal kind? Did he add to the body of jurisprudence through erudition for instance? That’s debatable.

What is clear is that through bluster, swagger, needless and irritant litigation, and sheer audacity, but without any actual evidence of litigation success, and allegedly some level of cronyism in the legal fraternity, Akuffo-Addo was able to foist a superlative legal characterization of his qualifications on Ghana, partly by hiring really brilliant young lawyers into his law firm – a firm which strategically bore his name.

That strategy to this day, of recruiting really brilliant young lawyers, who did the actual study and grinding work of brilliant legal representation, would continue to define and propel Akuffo-Addo’s false legal pre-eminense, earning his firm and by extension himself, a preponderant recognition in Ghana’s legal profession. One such brilliant lawyers in recent history, is now Supreme Court Justice Yuoni Kulendi, a jurist of pure luminance and sophistication worthy of extolment. But I digress.

To the subject matter of Akuffo Addo’s celestial existence in Ghana’s legalsphere, this is how a deceptively urbane, silver-spoon-in-the-mouth, entitled son of Ghana’s second President, came to hang over the Republic of Ghana like a colossus.

Existentially however, Akuffo-Addo’s legalshpere is an alternate universe, borne of fiction than of substance, manufactured by him and promoted by witting enablers and others unwittingly.

It is a universe he has strenuously crafted and defended with a record of fib accomplishments, which, in the real universe in which most Ghanaians live, has few specific, documented, relatable records, but is nonetheless one in which extensive benefit-of-doubt has been routinely extended to a man who, by dint of accident of birth and maleficence, has been adept at self-promotion; and it is to that real universe we now turn, in order to examine why, if Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, is asking the people of Ghana for four more years to govern the country, Ghanaians have a right to ask, four more years for what? Full disclosure: I voted for Nana Akuffo-Addo and the NPP in the 2016 general election.

NO PREVIOUS GOVERNANCE RECORD

Whatever the record of Akuffo-Addo is prior to his provenance into the presidency in Ghana, fuzzy and controversial as it may be, he has never really had a governance record, politically, at the pinnacle of government – an activity which requires negotiation, consensus-building, making compelling arguments in order to win others over, even the most ardent of skeptics, and working within a prescribed complex legal document called a Constitution; skills he doesn’t have.

To be sure, he is no Obama. He is not a constitutional law professor and did not come up working within the community; he lived above it, an existence that made him feel entitled, superior and arrogant over others. He can barely talk policy – economic, social, political or even philosophy, unless it is written down for him to read, because he has never been curious in a scholarly sense, hence his checkered educational history. Whatever he has, remotely akin to a philosophy is this: whatever works for Akuffo-Addo at any particular point in time, is whatever Akuffo-Addo works for.

Here’s an example – in a BBC interview with Stephen Sackur on 6th March 2012, prior to the General Election of the same year, asked how much the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) educational programme he was promoting would cost Ghana, Akuffo-Addo couldn’t even come up with an estimate. He couldn’t hazard a guess. Education Policy, like all government policy, requires painstaking preparatory hard work, of evaluative and predictive analyses. The present and future quality and quantity of human capital depend largely on it, but given the full-throated promotion Akuffo-Addo had given the policy proposal, you would think he would have been better prepared for a hard-hitting programme like Hard Talk.

No, he wasn’t prepared. He hadn’t even attempted budgeting a policy he was ardently promoting. Preparation and hard work are both not germane to the Akuffo-Addo work ethic. That failing, that lack of preparation, is evident in the chaos and confusion that has characterized the administration and management of the Free SHS programme since its inception – lower real educational outcomes in almost 4 years of its implementation, poor quality, impulsive decision-making, ad hoc costs tracking, a vindictive management style, evidenced in a culture of silence among Ghana Education Service officials, public school administrators and teachers, about the burdens, and therefore, the perils of a policy without adequate preparation; plus the hijacking of oil revenues to fund a policy that was not budgeted for. And above all, the rampant corruption and bribe-taking that has characterized the so-called computerized placement system for BECE graduates.

Ordinarily, we require a higher standard of preparation on the part of masons, fitters, carpenters, hawkers on the street, etc. Yet Akuffo-Addo, campaigning to be President of Ghana, couldn’t come up with an estimated cost on the only policy platform on which he was campaigning? He couldn’t because he didn’t know how; he has never known how; and because he didn’t know how, he was afraid of making an error; and probably, he would have made an error, but so what? That’s policy even with the best of preparations.

But he was afraid because, literally, there have never been costs to Akuffo-Addo’s decisions in life, whether mundane or consequential; except when he decided to make repeated runs for the presidency of Ghana, with a single dubious goal in mind – the plunder of the resources of the Republic of Ghana – he virtually buried his family and friends in gargantuan debt.

This is why he now presides over a so-called Family-and-Friends government which is vacuuming Ghana’s resources on a personal debt-redemption spree. Here’s another example. As Attorney-General in the Kuffuor Administration, he saw his job as the nation’s chief lawyer in decidedly narrow, partisan terms – a defender of the executive branch of government, not the government as a whole – and by government I mean, the people. And in that belief he simply took a weed-whacker to his perceived political enemies, often in confrontational and vengeful style, but no legal substance.

He deliberately avoided head-to-head legal combats with the likes of Tsatsu Tsikata, often deferring such encounters to others whom he could command by dint of official hierarchy. He preferred behind-the-scenes maneuvers, not of the diplomatic kind, but allegedly of the devious, conspiratorial and also vindictive kind, which gave him the space to inflict maximum damage remotely, by manipulation, subterfuge and sabotage. Even the likes of the late former deputy Minister of Finance Victor Selormey, who awarded several government projects to current Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, a personal friend and cousin to Akuffo-Addo, were not spared despite such close relationship, because the Akuffo-Addo realm is a take-no-prisoners realm.

Prisoners live and living beings talk, which is dangerously evidentiary. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was well-known for his penchant for globe-trotting, especially to international conferences, hosted by global institutions like the UN, which presented him with a global stage, on which he could self-promote, strut his stuff and in his affected foreign accent read speeches written by more intelligent assistants. But most importantly, his tenure in this office is associated with his alleged direct origination and orchestration of the fire which gutted the entire Ministry of Foreign Affairs building near the Registrar General’s Department.

Sources intimately familiar with that incident, an event which led to the loss of incalculable institutional memory, reveal that the event was not accidental; it was done at the direction, and for the personal benefit, of Akuffo-Addo himself, predictably, from a distance, to erase incriminating evidence of malfeasance on his part, and to afford him the ability of plausible deniability, even if it came to imply holding him ultimately responsible as the putative head of the Ministry.

To this day, we still do not know what it was that he wanted to hide so badly, as to warrant the destruction of an entire national resource. To this day, the skeletal and charred remains of the old Ministry of Foreign Affairs building are ghostly, ominous reminders of the danger that Akuffo-Addo poses to the Republic of Ghana.

Still, others may argue that in four years, he hasn’t exhibited any of these negative tendencies. Remember in Julius Caesar, a soothsayer predicted that Caesar would be murdered on “the ides of March” (15th March). When a living Caesar encountered the same Caesar on the “ides of March, Caesar reminded the soothsayer that “the ides of March are come”. The soothsayer responded, “Aye Caesar, but not gone”. So to the skeptics I say, the record of Akuffo-Addo’s stewardship of this country right now is already destructive one.

Even scarier is the contemplation of a second term – when it is believed he will wreak even more extensive damage on this country, and with great relish too.

His involvement in the famous Kume Preko demonstration did not put him in a hierarchical decision-making capacity, in which he had to govern the other leading members – strong personalities of mettle in their own right. So that experience couldn’t have given him the requisite skills for sometimes negotiating or persuading his way out of issues. But the fact that he had a law firm in his name, in which he was not only the primus inter pares, but perhaps more specifically, also the majority owner, if not the only absolute owner, gave him the ultimate, absolute power.

And that experience, is what has largely shaped what we now know as his governing style – violent, arrogant, dictatorship masked in democratic pretentiousness. So beneath the well-crafted, urbane but false, sophisticated legal mien, is a violent man, who has no qualms about inflicting maximum damage in order to hold on to power, primarily any power, but now especially, political and financial power, in a constant march towards self-aggrandizement.

So Akuffo-Addo is all good-game bluster, pandering to generalities, wrapped in topical universally accepted buzz-principles like human rights, rule of law, democracy, freedom of speech, etc., punctuated by a much forced foreign accent, that still is an attraction to many an ordinary Ghanaian. But beneath all that is a sham, a man who has gotten by, mostly by sabotaging the system, intimidation and exploitation, for personal gain and advantage, to ascend to the highest office in the Republic of Ghana.

THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN

The 2016 General Election campaign was at least the third time Akuffo-Addo aspired to be president of Ghana. And he was desperate, extremely so. Two previous attempts, anchored in his overhyped, carefully stage-managed accomplishments, did little to convince the electorate. In those two prior attempts, he squandered a lot of resources.

Repayments on loans secured to fund those two elections attempts were overdue, interests on those loans were skyrocketing, friends who had chipped in to help him financially were getting weary of having to bail him out constantly like a “Kofi ba bone”, and he was getting older. The combined financial exposure, estimated in the tens of millions of hard British Pound Sterling, left Akuffo-Addo under enormous, extreme financial pressure, dangerous and anxious, about the impending financial disaster, and the very public unraveling of the lies he had span over the years about his accomplishments.

The fear and thought of public humiliation for him was visceral and gut-wrenching, imagining that his carefully choreographed life as a professionally and financially successful lawyer, including the inordinate ambition of wanting to be president, were all about to crash and burn right before the very eyes of Ghanaians.

IN DEBT AND DESPERATE

Under such extreme stress, Akuffo-Addo went on a suicide mission, taking his family along with him. A property acquired by his late father in the UK, a collective inheritance in his immediate family, was mortgaged to secure a loan, a final egocentric act, to drag his entire family down the abyss of his inordinate ambition for the presidency of Ghana for an unprecedented third time. Serious, ominous warnings by notable persons in Ghana, including the likes of Nana Kofi Koomson then of the The Ghanaian Chronicle, had left some Ghanaians in no doubt as to the clear and present danger of Akuffo-Addo’s quest to become president.

Still, most Ghanaians were not fully aware of the extreme financial motive behind Akuffo-Addo’s drive to be president at all costs, in which all-die-be-die became, not a passion for service due to love of country, but a primordial cry of a wounded and dangerous primate, in its final throes of agony. He knew that if he failed to win the presidency, that was it; but he also planned that if he won, he would over-generously avail himself of the grand opportunity to rape the economy of Ghana, to divest himself of the extreme financial and other morass he had gotten himself into.

PRESIDENT AT ALL COST – ALL DIE BE DIE

The third time, they say, is a charm, and Akuffo-Addo charmed, or rather more accurately, conned his way into the hearts of an electorate that was weary of a long NDC domination of power, reminiscent of the President Rawlings rein. He unleashed a vast, sweeping and systematic smear campaign against his opponent, often without factual basis, accusing the NDC government of corruption and incompetence.

With no record of governance against an incumbent who had risen to the veep slot with President Atta-Mills and helped the latter win against the same Akuffo-Addo in 2008, becoming President following the untimely death of President Atta-Mills, and winning against Akuffo-Addo again in 2012, the contest in terms of governance record was a complete mis-match, of mediocrity, innuendo and hyperbole on Akuffo-Addo’s part, versus substance, accomplishment and progress on John Mahama’s part.

But because Akuffo-Addo’s ambition was made of sterner stuff, of the diabolical kind, driven more by an insatiable thirst for absolute power, for which his over-ambition had been tempered, than by a noble desire to serve his country, he coerced and dominated the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to hand him the flagbearer position three times in a row (2008, 2012 and 2016), through a combination of blatant threats, vote-buying and vote-rigging during the party’s general congresses.

As the campaign season loomed in 2016, he struggled to find a new, coherent, relevant message. The fake record of accomplishments he had created for himself over the years, which served him well in his dominance of the legal profession, as well as in two prior presidential runs, was now worn out and lacked mass appeal. Yet it was the only record he had, so Akuffo-Addo went to war with the army he had. He orchestrated his operatives and spokespersons to merely assert that Akuffo-Addo was not personally corrupt and Ghanaians bought into that lie.

THE SCAM OF FREE SHS AND ASSAULTING THE PILLARS OF POWER

It is not just that Akuffo-Addo is a crook, he is willing to go to extreme lengths no matter who else it affects adversely, in order to satisfy his own interest. For instance, the single-issue Free SHS promise he had ran on previously, using photoshoped images to give the false impression school children were clamoring for it, had lost its luster against a more thoughtful, measured and plausible message of his opponent that free education, ought to be made accessible and affordable gradually, as was already guaranteed in the country’s Constitution.

His opponent backed his proposition up with an earnest construction and development of educational infrastructure across the country. Akuffo-Addo, feeling another run at presidential politics slipping from him, embarked on a most brazen mission bordering on treason. He allegedly “imported” mercenaries from South Africa and Eastern Europe, allegedly using a McDan company and unleashed a band of vigilantes set to create chaos and mayhem in the country.

Mr. Akuffo-Addo defined this strategy as an “assault on the pillars of power”. Mr. Paul Afoko, a then embattled National Chairman on the NPP was facing the fight of his life as Akuffo-Addo sought to force him from the chairmanship in order to install a more pliant puppet Freddie Blay, a CPP politician who had quickly crossed to the NPP in order to survive his own demise in the CPP from the aggrieved constituents of Elembelle, who hand nicknamed him “Elembelle Mugabe” due to his long tenure as an MP of the area with the little-to-no substantive performance during his tenure as MP.

PANDERING TO CHARLATANS

At the same time as he postured belligerently, he pandered to the religious, declaring that “the battle is the Lord’s”. Church-going charlatans swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker. Ghanaians seemed extremely smitten with religious bigotry clothed in born-againism, in which the most ardent of criminals received instant reprieve from so-called Christians, upon a declaration of fidelity to Jesus Christ as his “Lord and Personal Savior”.

It is the reason Christian evangelism commands such a lucrative market in Ghana, and it is the reason prime government real estate has been commandeered by Akuffo-Addo to build a National Cathedral, when ordinary Ghanaians who find it is so hard to make ends meet, will little consider a national cathedral among their most pressing needs.

SUPPLICATING MENDICANCY

Exasperated that his 2016 Strategy was faltering against a concrete programme of accomplishment by John Mahama, a distraught Akuffo-Addo began to literally plead with Ghanaians to take a gamble on him. “So me hw?”. “Try me”, he desperately begged the electorate. In a sense, he was asking the electorate to ignore all the garbage he’d sold to them as his vision for Ghana and just take a gamble on him; and in that sense he was Trumpian, telling Ghanaians they had nothing to lose. In the end, he is supposed to have won, an event that surprised even him.

Persons within the NPP and in a position to know, who orchestrated that win, aver that Akuffo-Addo was dumbstruck in the first 15 to 30 minutes when the results came in. But when reality finally set in, he quickly composed himself and returned to the good old Akuffo-Addo, exaggerating his victory with superlatives. Notable at the time was the story promoted by his party that they had enlisted the help of someone from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States, to take charge of their vote tallying and Pink Sheet processing.

But it turned out, as the truth always turns out with Akuffo-Addo operations, allegedly, they had recruited a crooked Washington lobbyist organization, KRL International, to monkey with Ghana’s election process to guarantee an Akuffo-Addo victory.

Discerning people already knew, despite the vaunted NPP claim of NASA involvement, that it was another bluster by a party used to exaggerating is abilities when in reality it was just a party of gangsters, of Teflon dons, incompetents, masquerading as statesmen – “we have the men”. But elections do indeed have consequences, and Ghanaians now know that they lost more than just elections in the 2016 general elections; they lost Ghana’s soul, and elections have consequences.

THE RECORD OF GOVERNANCE BEGINS, JANUARY 7, 2017

But Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo now has a governance record. It started on a cold January 7 morning in 2017, and since then our newly minted president has a record of governance. The people of Ghana have measured it, documented it, analyzed it and evaluated it for almost 4 years. Most importantly, the people can now compare it with the record of the previous NDC government under John Dramani Mahama. That comparison is no longer by fabrication: manufacture; invention; fib; forgery; fiction; fake; untruth; falsification; lying; and innuendo: insinuation; ambiguity; inference; intimation; suggestion; hint; implication; double-entendre.

It is substantive – gaa wuta, gaa naama; gaani gaani. It is to the examination of that record that I now turn your attention. And that record is not just troubling, it reveals who Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo truly is. A governance record with a pattern of self-dealing, originated, planned and executed at the highest levels of the Government of the Republic of Ghana, at the behest of Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo.

FALLING FROM GRACE QUICKLY

“If a person shows you who they are, believe them.” – Maya Angelou. As the nation held its collective breath on January 7, 2017, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo had finally arrived at the pinnacle of Ghanaian politics, and the nation wondered, what he will say. What will he do? A man of diminutive stature, like many notoriously manic leaders before him (Napoleon, Hitler, Saddam Husein – to mention a few), Akuffo-Addo’s inauguration unfolded rather ordinarily, until he uttered some memorable lines. An inaugural speech ordinarily is low on policy, but high on inspiration, rallying the nation together.

Initially, he appeared to get it, shedding his divisive mien, and rallying the nation to be “citizens, not spectators”.

Wow! In that moment, that was statesmanlike, but because statesmanship has never previously been a strong suit of Akuffo-Addo’s, it struck a particularly jolting chord with Ghanaians that cold January harmattan morning; the winds of change had indeed come.

In the days following the inauguration however, the facts as they always do, began to emerge, taking the shine off some of those memorable lines, specifically, that key lines in that speech, had been plagiarized from former American presidents, notably John Kennedy, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Nigerian President Mahamadu Buhari. What a monumental national let-down? Officially, our new president’s very first infraction was that he was caught copying, a bad example later to be emulated by SHS finalists in the 2020 WASSCE.

Suddenly, citizens began to wonder whether asking Ghanaians to be active citizens and not spectators, was a call to collude with a man who, as had been widely alleged, had plagiarized key portions of his so-called accomplishments in life, a life which begun in the 1940s and a world, seen through today’s highly computerized and data driven world, was antiquated.

With Facebook, Twitter, Google, cell phones, the blogosphere and the 24-hour news cycle, professional journalists and citizen-journalists in 2017 were able to surround, hunt, stalk and ferret sources, truth-tell and fact-check Akuffo-Addo’s inaugural speech in real-time.

As the story unraveled, notable persons began to proffer explanations designed to comport with the disgraceful incident by the new president. Still the story would not die, and as videos synchronizing the speeches of the American presidents and Akuffo Addo’s speech emerged, Akuffo-Addo realized that what had served him well from THE 1960s, when he could take credit for others work without consequences, was quaint in a 21st century Ghana. It was time to face the blatant truth, but like many Akuffo-Addo moments of transgression, someone else, not Akuffo-Addo, paid the price.

Newly minted Director of Communications at the Presidency Eugene Arhin, took the fall and the disgraceful event was blamed on the inexperience and poor judgment of young Eugene Arhin. Yes, even if Eugene Arhin copied those texts literally and pasted them into Akuffo-Addo’s speech, once the new president came forth and spoke those words, then those words were now his words and only his alone; no one else’s. The first cover up of the Akuffo-Addo administration had begun, and with it Akuffo-Addo’s proclivity for never taking personal responsibility for any of his own actions - ever. “If a person shows you who they are, believe them.”

AKUFFO-ADDO IS NOT CORRUPT? THAT’S A MIRAGE

After almost four years in power, it is now abundantly clear to Ghanaians, that the mantra that Akuffo-Addo is not corrupt, is just what it is – a mantra; an illusion, a fantasy, a figment imposed on the imagination of the NPP and those who benefit materially from Akuffo-Addo’s corruption-laden presidency. Recall in 2016, the NPP led by Akuffo-Addo, imposed two tags on the Ghanaian political conscience: a) that John Mahama is corrupt b) that John Mahama is incompetent. At the time, being an insurgent candidate, with no record of governance at the highest level in Ghana, there was nothing to validate those claims against Akuffo-Addo’s own record.

Therefore by default, those labels created a perception of personal incorruptibility and competence on Akuffo-Addo’s part. But that was a false contrast and Ghanaians may not have known it then.

But now, by every stretch of the imagination, it is impossible to argue personal incorruptibility of a man who, we now know, has at the same time, presided over a vastly corrupt crony-capitalist government machinery and political landscape, engaged in gargantuan self-dealing and the rapacity of national resources. And the record of his stewardship of our beloved country from January 7, 2017 to date, bears out the conclusion that Akuffo-Addo is personally corrupt, corrupting and corruptible.

Like everything else Akuffo-Addo has put forth, the Special Prosecutor’s office is a fraud. Mr. Martin Amidu is a toothless bull-dog if I ever saw one. Loud bark, no bite; targeting certain ethnic groups with no evidence. If Martim Amidu were actually working, Akuffo-Addo himself, and scores of his appointees should have been indicted by now. In almost four years, Amidu has produced nothing, and yet taxpayers are paying him.

That’s exactly how Akuffo-Addo has always intended to use Amidu – a smokescreen for his pretentiousness of incorruptibility, and an instrument for persecuting his perceived enemies. Akuffo-Addo’s incorruptibility is therefore a mirage. He cannot claim that he is not corrupt, while presiding over corruption. He bears ultimate responsibility; and there’s a reason why subordinates defy their superiors and do bad things. It is because their superiors do bad things themselves.

CASH FOR SEAT

A chance to sit by the President, a man we elected to serve us, suddenly cost Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00). It was a first. No President of Ghana before him had ever contrived such a scheme to literally monetize a seat at the presidency.

The same person who, cup in hand, suppliant, presented himself as the ordinary people’s man, and begged his fellow citizens to “so me hw?”, “Try me”, suddenly was inaccessible to the masses of the people who voted for him. At the prime price of $10,000.00, he had overnight become an exclusive president just to sit by.

And thus, Ghanaians begun to wonder when on public occasions, they saw a person, sitting next to their president, whisper something into Akuffo-Addo’s ear, they wondered… whether that whisper, was a request for a part, a kidney, the heart, the liver or the soul of our nation. Judging by the fact that he now travels the country, carrying a personal gilded chair, it must now cost more than $10,000.00 to sit by Akuffo-Addo. No one would shell out ten grand and not feel entitled to scavenge on Ghana.

The carcass is now in their hands; the hyenas howl and the vultures swoop down daily to tear at the carrion . BORROWING AND OVER-BORROWING

Upon assumption of office, Vice President Alhaji Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, a man comparable to Donald Trump only in the feat of lying perpetually, flew to China, in pursuit of ostensibly, a $19 Billion loan the NPP claimed had been promised Ghana by China. He returned from that trip to much euphoria, ceremony and approbation for a job well done, brimming with glee as would a preteen unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, and declared in an arrival press briefing that “the money is coming”. But to date the money isn’t here. For all we know that money is either still trying to vault the Great Wall of China, or it’s in the Jersey Islands in another Agyapa-like deal.

It has been widely reported that in the 3+ years of the NPP Administration alone , the Akuffo-Addo government has borrowed more than all the governments of Ghana from the Kwame Nkrumah to John Mahama combined. As at the last time we checked, the Akuffo-Addo Government has borrowed a whopping $140 Billion. Yet, one cannot point to any significant projects such a monstrous amount has been spent on. The funds for most of the infrastructure projects thus far commissioned by the NPP Administration were previously secured by the previous NDC Administration.

In addition, work on many of the projects had already been going on. So the important question must be asked: what the hell did the Akuffo-Addo government do with the $140 Billion dollars they borrowed in the name of Ghanaians?

On several occasions, the Akuffo-Addo government has borrowed by issuing government bonds; in the first successful borrowing enterprise they had the effrontery to celebrate with waakye and kenkey at an exclusive gathering of back-scratching NPP officials, while the rest of the country wallowed in hunger. Never mind the waakye and kenkye, what can they show for all the borrowing? Nothing. Zero. No development, nothing. And a large debt crisis looms.

ONE DISTRICT, ONE FACTORY; ONE VILLAGE, ONE DAM

Perhaps, the most idiotic political promise ever to emerge from the buccal cavity of a politician in the modern history of Ghana is the One District One Factory promise, and is other nonsensical variations: One Village One Dam; One Constituency One Million Dollars. Forget about substance and the practicality of any of these promises, conceptually, these promises were as stupid as they were brazen. But then, at the time, few knew it. No one knew and could have asked how it could be that the very people who would be busy stealing from Ghanaians, would be the same people to turn around and spend such huge sums on them.

For a fact, these marauders of our national resources are completely incapable of creating jobs, or innovating projects which create jobs and multiply our resources. All they know how to do is to steal, steal and steal – brazenly. So again, we must ask a simple question based on the following: there are 275 Constituencies. How many factories have been built in each of the constituencies?

DISCREDITING AND DELEGITIMIZATION OF THE ELECTION SYSTEM

The Electoral Commission: The Western Togoland secessionist activity was a perfect storm, coming to a head by capitalizing on previous years of NPP-engineered sociopathy, ethnic antagonism, spirant vigilantism and voter intimidation guised as political activism. And they intensified right after Akuffo-Addo became president, with the first order of business being to get rid of Electoral Commissioner Charlotte Osei, and to delegitimize an election system that got rid of Jerry Rawlings after two terms and elected John Kuffuor to two terms; elected Atta-Mills , John Mahama and Akuffo-Addo himself.

Yet, suddenly, that election system, specifically, the Voters Register, which supposedly gave Akuffo-Addo over a million votes, was suddenly over-bloated and liable to manipulation by an NDC out of power? So, the NPP under Akuffo-Addo got to work. Scores of NPP acolytes, from the less coherent National Youth Organizer Sammy Awuku, to the more buffoonish and vulgar galamsey kingpin and NPP Ashanti Regional Chairman Bernard Antwi-Boasiako alias Chairman Wontumi and the sloth-looking NPP Bono Regional Chairman Kwame Baffoe Abronye, aka Abronye DC, routinely assassinated the character and sullied the reputation of Charlotte Osei, insulting her from anything right down to her underwear.

Kennedy Agyepong, a vituperative, atavistic, uncouth, foul-mouthed NPP Member of Parliament, and allegedly a drug baron as well, (I’m sorry, but that’s allegedly a true description) devoted his TV and FM stations to a daily dose of vitriol on the EC and Charlotte Osei; it made you wonder whether this man ever did any government business, or more importantly, whether he actually attended to the people’s business, the people who elected him. With loads of cash to splash around, it would seem this man simply doled out the cash to constituents who would normally hold him accountable, buying off criticism about his lack of attention to duty, so he could more constantly direct his ire on the singular goal of removing Charlotte Osei.

That constant drone of unsubstantiated invective, culminated in the Akuffo-Addo government’s sacking of Charlotte Osei based on concocted, frivolous charges of incompetence and corruption, and installing Jean Mensah and a bunch of hand-picked directors, all of whom time have proven, that they are not just monstrously incompetent, they are also reputably corrupt. The Secessionist Threats:

Donald Trump said that if he told Americans the fact that COVID-19 is dangerous, then Americans would panic. That, according to him is why he didn’t reveal that fact, but instead chose to lie and misinform Americans about COVID-19 and its dangers. But, Donald Trump had been spreading panic in America since 2016, long before he was elected president and most definitely, before the onset of COVID-19. In a Ghanaweb news report of Thursday October 1, 2020, on the secessionists attacks, Akuffo-Addo said: “If I panic, the country panics”. To wit, if Akuffo-Addo told Ghanaians the fact that secessionists are dangerous to the stability and progress of Ghana, then Ghanaians would panic. But then again, Akuffo-Addo had long been spreading the false narrative that foreigners, specifically Togolese, were on Ghana’s Voters Register.

This primed the Volta Region for destabilization and disenfranchisement by Akuffo-Addo, even before he was elected president. Remember “all-die-be-die”? Remember “y?n Akan fuo”? Remember “we’re going to assault the pillars of power”? All of these destabilizing comments culminated in the concrete acts of voter registration intimidation mostly in the Volta Region, using national institutions such as the military. Through these pronouncements, Akuffo-Addo, had come to sync automatically with the 21st century’s leading chaos agent, Donald Trump, marching in lockstep with what the NPP has come to believe is an intrinsic nativist affiliation with the far-right wing of the Republican Party of the United States, what is now essentially, a racist party of Donald Trump of the United States.

PRINTING MONEY

When Akuffo-Addo put Ghana under lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he declared that his government knew how to bring the economy back to life, but that it didn’t know how to bring people who might die due to COVID-19 back to life. Like previous empty words spoken by this president, his operatives then sought to give his words substance and elevation, by claiming that the declaration was being hailed worldwide as profoundly transformative.

They even claimed that the WHO was using a COVID-19 model pioneered by Ghana. Yet it was all a lie. Akuffo-Addo’s government which not built a single health facility in the almost four years it has been in power, has practically stopped testing and tracing COVID-19 infections; on top of that, they’ve continued to cook the infections to give a lower number of new COVID-19 cases.

When it comes to bringing the economy back to life, they’re doing what they did once this clueless NPP government took office: printing money. Recall that immediately upon taking office, they printed new One Cedi note, a two cedi note/coin and Five Cedi note. To date, the new notes are still circulating with the old notes, although the reason given was that the old notes had security weaknesses and were being withdrawn.

Then it started as a rumour that more money-printing was coming in the form of 100 and 200 cedi notes. I first sighted the 200 cedi note when a friend gave me two (400 cedis) from several bundles he was carrying to buy petrol. He explained that they were given six bundles each after an official meeting.

And now, there’s even talk of a 500 cedi note. I’ll leave explaining the harsh economic consequences of printing money and just dumping it into the economy, but these actions expose the lie that the NPP as a government knows anything about managing an economy. They’re simply BANDITS on a rampage. BANDITS RAIDING GHANA’S RESOURCES

By now, it is clear that when Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo wakes up and looks himself in the mirror every day, he asks himself what can I do for me (Akuffo-Addo) today, not what can I do for the suffering masses of Ghanaians I was elected to serve. Right from the start, those who know him well and know his cousins/nephews (Ken Ofori-Atta, Atta Akyea, Gabby Asare Okyere-Darko, Nana Asante Bediatuo aka Kofi Asante), and his friends, predicted Ghana was going to witness an unprecedented surge in business self-dealing. They posited that by the time they’re done, a huge burden would be left on the shoulders of our beloved Ghana, the majority of whom are poor, and they were right.

Many of the large government deals undertaken under this NPP Government with Akuffo-Addo at the helm and Ken Ofori-Atta manning the financial till, have the same tell-tale signature of self-dealing and gangster take-overs of our collective resource. To understand the formula, you need to ignore all the jargon and labyrinthine lingo of financial-speak and focus on these key markers: 1) Identify a Ghana Government/national resource or institution with good cashflow; 2) Initiate and structure a deal through an investment vehicle, a shell company you own and control so that you’re not accountable to anyone else but yourself through friends and family; 3) Using propaganda, promote the deal aggressively; 4) Use your appointees or cronies (like Alan Kyeremanteng, Kwaku Kwarteng, Osafo Marfo) in the institution to clamp down on any dissent; 4) By the time Ghanaians catch on, the bandits have raided the institution of whatever resources have been targeted, and destroyed whatever evidence may be used by the next government to investigate their banditry.

That’s the Ken Ofori-Atta magical playbook. Its worked many times for him before. Now, he’s put it at the disposal of his cousin, the president of Ghana. Here are a few examples:

THE OBOTAN REAL ESTATE – THE FORMULA DEAL

The Obotan Real Estate deal preceded the ascent of Akuffo-Addo to the Presidency, but it provides the blueprint for most of the deals that have been executed under President Akuffo-Addo with Ken Ofori-Atta at the helm of the financial affairs of State. In the Obotan Real Estate deal, Ken Ofori-Atta fleeced $2.24 Million dollars from SSNIT the pre-eminent social security institution in Ghana. The deal was all fiction, existing only on paper. He had managed to convince SSNIT that 55% of the shares of Obotan had been acquired (without proof) by Enterprise Group, his own company. Enterprise Group is still owned by Ken Ofori-Atta and God knows what crooked deals it’s been involved in since January 2017.

It is alleged, that’s the money Ken Ofori-Atta used to stabilize Databank, his other company. Eight years later when this issue came up for investigation, Ken offered to refund the $2.24 Million to SSNIT, plus $780 Thousand in interest, an interest of about 0.44% (less than 1%), at a time when a common bank loan attracted an interest of least 27%. And the matter went away. The Obtan Real Estate deal was dead, without a single brick cut for the project, or a trip of sand delivered to the site.

THE AGYAPA ROYALTIES DEAL

So again, forget all the complex aspects of the Agyapa Royalties deal – gold pricing models, complex deal structuring, etc. Just focus on these simple facts. 1) 48 Gold concessions exist currently in Ghana that have been licensed to various companies and they constitute the national/institutional resource in the Ken Ofori-Atta formula. 2) Every year, these concessions receive cash royalties in dollars which go to the Government of Ghana (cashflow).

The value of the royalties is determined by the world market price of gold, which has been going up for over 10 years with few short term declines. Once Akuffo-Addo, his relatives and cronies identified this national resource, they structured a deal to suck up all the cash from the royalties for themselves by incorporating Agyapa Royalties Limited, in a place it can’t be taxed and whose ownership is completely secret, except to those who set it up. Those who set it up are the same ones setting the price for the gold, and they’re the same ones paying for it – with our money; Ghana’s money, not their money and they are the sole controllers and beneficiaries.

ECG/PDS DEAL

Same story here. For 51% of ECG assets, PDS, a shell company was set up, owned by family and friends of Akuffo-Addo. How much did they pay for the assets? Zero. Nothing! And in the months that PDS operated, PDS and its owners simply vacuumed the money to pay Akuffo-Addo’s debts and to stuff their pockets. It is estimated that for every One Cedi of electricity Ghanaians paid for during PDS operations, Thirty Pesewas went directly to paying off Akuffo-Addo’s mortgage loan in London. The deal was abandoned not because the NPP detected the insurance for the deal was fraudulent. That’s a lie.

The United States was catching on to the fraud that targeted America’s $190 Million in its Millennium Challenge Account. Once Mr. Ambrose Dery returned from his Middle Eastern trip to reveal that the Americans were sniffing around the deal there, the government panicked and decided to play innocent, by announcing it had detected dubiousness regarding the PDS deal. No. They had been caught and feared the consequences from America and also the backlash from Ghanaians. If you’re caught stealing and you return the goods, you’re still a thief. Period.

FREE THINGS ARE NOT FREE AFTER ALL

As far as the Akuffo-Addo government is concerned, there is no free lunch. Everything they do is transactional – I give you this, you give me that. And what they get from you is usually more than what they give you. Ghanaians will pay dearly if we make the mistake of voting for Akuffo-Addo.

FREE SHS

The lessons in the bogus Free SHS Policy are instructive: a hurriedly cobbled policy, shabby implementation, an extremely corrupt SHS placement mechanism charging fees of between GHC3,000.00 and GHC16,500.00, which is anything but computerized and underqualified teachers engaged to fulfil another hollow promise of job creation. Ghanaian parents are paying for the cost of this policy in terms of the extra tuition and other costs which are required to make their wards functionally literate. In the two years that my son has been under the Free SHS policy, he has received one box of cereal, two pieces of uniform, one Sunday wear, four text books and six exercise books from the Akuffo-Addo government.

That’s the government’s idea of how much resource is required to prepare our children for university of education. In contrast, I have engaged the services of a private teacher, purchased 20 textbooks, 14 extra-large foolscap notebooks, an unlimited number of standard exercise books and graph books, not to mention pens, pencils and other study materials. I also bought three additional school uniforms. My total expense easily exceeds Twenty Thousand Cedis, excluding the Five Thousand Cedis I paid to get my son admission with an Aggregate 8 performance in the BECE.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Similarly, currently, Ghanaians are receiving free Electricity and Water due to the emasculating effects of COVID-19. The Akuffo-Addo government claimed to have set aside $100 Million initially on the onset of the pandemic. “Set aside” is political-speak for “we’ve budgeted for it without actual physical cash”; in other words, it’s a mere paper exercise. The government got another $1 Billion from the World Bank in COVID-19-related emergency funding. What happened to the $1.1 Billion then?

They claimed to have spent GHC54 Million in the public feeding programme, roughly $9.5 Million. Even then, it was credibly revealed that the GHC54 Million was overblown. So what happened to the rest, because clearly, government isn’t doing even one-eighth of what it was doing in COVID-19-related activity (contact-tracing, testing, etc.) when the pandemic first struck? They’ve completely abandoned all COVID-19 related activity; and yet these same people wanted us to believe that the World Health Organization (WHO) was using Ghana’s COVID-19 model for the rest of the world?

FREE WATER AND ELECTRICITY

To be absolutely clear, the water and the electricity do not belong to Akuffo-Addo and the NPP. They belong to Ghana. Ghanaians ought to know that we will pay dearly, beginning January 1, 2021, for the free electricity and water as soon as we re-elect Akuffo-Addo and his band of marauders. The NPP’s philosophy of never allowing a problem to be wasted, means you use the problem to exploit and extort the people, exacting maximum hardship, damage and profit in the process. In fact, sources familiar with plans, which are far advanced, is to use the free water and electricity programme to extort as much money from the economy and divert that cash flow into private pockets.

At the time of this writing, some estimated $640 Million in ECG receipts had been written off; but it’s a price Ghanaians will pay come January 7, 2021, with an NPP administration in power. That will also include water, whose estimated write-off we do not know - yet. With the NPP, there’s nothing like a free lunch. They’re actually like vultures, living out of people’s misery, Ghana’s misery.

THE NPP'S DONALD TRUMP PLAYBOOK

In years past, America was derisively called the World’s Policeman because it found a way to insist to poorer countries that in order to access American aid, certain universal values had to be complied with: Free Trade/Market Economy, Human Rights, Transparency, Rule of Law and Democracy, among others. Today, the United States under Donald Trump, has relinquished that position and America is no longer the standard bearer for these values. This abdication has created a vacuum in which governance vices now run rampant: Disenfranchisement of citizens in elections, voter intimidation and suppression, official self-dealing, suppression and manipulation of the judiciary by packing the courts with cronies, etc. The last vice is especially worrying: in the event that the December 7 elections is disputed one way or the other, the Supreme Court under Akuffo-Addo is primed, ready to hand victory to Akuffo-Addo and his NPP bandits.

So the NPP may not be running to win the elections at the polls. They’re planning that the elections will be decided by the Supreme Court, essentially foisting a klepto-pluto-oligarchic NPP cabal on Ghanaians. That is not democracy. PROTECT THE BALLOT

Supporters and sympathizers of the NDC and Ghanaians in general must turn out and vote like our lives depend on the December 7 elections, because our lives really depend on it. Then, the NDC must take strong action to protect the ballot. And the ballot protection must start at the Polling Stations, Collation Centers, Constituency Level, right up to the EC Strong Room, and any other officially designated place of ballot procession. The NPP will not be squeamish about any action they take, legally or illegally, to ensure they win, by fair or foul means. Take absolutely nothing for granted.

The Polling Agent job should not be left to some “small boy” or “small girl”. NDC Party stalwarts, highly educated and trained must do the job of Polling Agents if victory is to assured. The days when such NDC “big men” leave the Polling Agent job to “small boys and girls” cannot fly this time because defeating the NPP will require large numbers and also vigilance, extreme vigilance.

For this reason alone, Ghanaians must turn out massively and deliver an incontrovertible victory to the NDC, such that there are no ifs, ands and buts about our rejection of rule by possible judicial fiat or crony-capitalism, massive corruption and incompetence - true, stark incompetence. The NDC must understand that the election is won at the polling and collation centers and must leave no stone unturned.

The polling and collation centers must be manned and guarded with enough resources to counter any shenanigans by the NPP – and there will be shenanigans. Remember Ayawaso West. The NPP is known for disruptive behavior and the NDC must ensure that the NPP’s apparatchiks are not allowed to disrupt and steal the election. NDC, get ready and gird your loins.

FOUR MORE FOR NANA. FOUR MORE FOR WHAT? TO DO MORE OF WHAT?

“How a person talks to you, is what that person thinks of you”; and Akuffo-Addo thinks Ghanaians are stupid, that’s why he talks to Ghanaians the way he does. So, now Nana has a new slogan. It’s no longer “try me" – so me hw?", or the now revised “the battle is [still] the Lord’s”.

It is now the vacuous, nebulous and inane “Four more for Nana” and its equally shallow and empty variations - “Four more for Nana to do more" or “Four more for Nana to do more for you”. The simple question is, more of what? More corruption and self-dealing (PDS, AGYAPA, KELNI-GVG, VISA SCANDAL, UNIPASS-ICUMS, etc.), Bawumia’s lies, real incompetence, economic mismanagement, corrupting of the Electoral Commission, packing the Supreme Court, etc. Having done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the four years we gave him except steal Ghana's resources, shamelessly taking credit for John Mahama’s ACCOMPLISHMENTS and PRINTING MONEY, what can the NPP do in another four years? Akuffo-Addo knows that there’s nothing different he can do but steal.

So he's talking to Ghanaians as if we are stupid. Well, we’re not. There’s not a single achievement of substance from Akuffo-Addo. The Akuffo-Addo governance record is abysmal, the worst ever in Ghana’s 63-year post-independence history, similar to that of Donald Trump’s record; so similar that Demi Lovato’s recent politically charged song “Commander-in-Chief” fits neatly with the Ghanaian experience under Akuffo-Addo, and warrants paraphrasing here:

Commander in Chief, honestly If I did the things you do I couldn't sleep, seriously Do you even know the truth? We're in a state of crisis, people are sufferin' While you line your pockets deep Commander in Chief, how does it feel to still Be able to breathe.

CONCLUSION

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo’s re-election poses the greatest threat to Ghanaian democracy since the inception of the Fourth Republic. What happens on December 7, 2020 will decide not just what happens in the next four years, but Ghana’s future. And what happens in the next four years, and Ghana’s future must not be entrusted to Akuffo-Addo and his corrupt, incompetent NPP administration again. Enough!!!

Columnist: Bright Asamoah
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