The ethics of “vickileaks”

Wed, 13 Nov 2013 Source: Kennedy, Arthur Kobina

Orangeburg, SC

12TH November, 2013

Ghana has become a nation of voyeurs, titillated by illegally obtained private gossip. Even worse, serious people who know, or ought to know better, are acting on this gossip as if it were the truth, obtained lawfully. How sad.

Last week, a tape allegedly obtained by the driver of Deputy Communications Minister Victoria Hamah, one Lawrence Quayeson, was released to the public. Allegedly, Mr. Quayeson, who is related to Ms. Hamah, was contracted by another Deputy Minister, Rachel Appoh, through one Ayittey Basty.

What happened after the tape was aired defies credulity and commonsense. Within hours, the Deputy Minister was fired because; on the tape she revealed her desire to make at least 1 million USD before quitting government service. How could a President who sacked nobody on the “Woyome affair”, has found nobody culpable in the “akomfem affair” and not lifted a finger against anyone for GYEEDA fire Ms. Hamah for her dreams? If anyone needed to be fired, it must be the driver who illegally recorded her boss or the Minister who illegally contracted someone to record her colleague.

To add insult to injury, the opposition New Patriotic Party that has been casting doubts about the the Supreme Court judgment since it was made, finally asked for a probe of the judgment—based on the tape. As one who has called for a review of the integrity of the judgment myself, I was disappointed by the basis for the NPP’s demand. Since the NPP was already complaining that either the court or the judgment was corrupt before the Hamah tape, why did the party not make its case with the evidence it had before the release of the tape?

Are the governing NDC and the NPP now in favour of using illegally obtained tapes as evidence in inquiries or prosecutions?

As Kakra Essamuah rightly pointed out, the recording of these conversations were clearly illegal per the Electronics Communications Act of 2008. However, even beyond the law, by rallying around these tapes and using them, we are tacitly blessing the kind of greed, ambition and absence of common decency that would lead people to betray their own family members for the proverbial thirty pieces of silver or for fleeting fame. That is wrong and as one who has suffered such betrayal, I assert that condoning such acts undermines the fundamental building blocks of our society, our families. The only time that one must turn on a family member is when a crime is being committed or the national interest is being harmed. Neither of these was happening in this case. While Ms Hamah was probably not ministerial material, she would certainly not be the last person appointed to high office for reasons other than competence. Indeed, quite are few people have reached the Presidency without the requisite merit.

Next, our law enforcement agencies must enforce our laws while Parliament must carry out proper oversight of the executive. It is not enough for Members of Parliament, like Hon. Kennedy Agyapong to threaten those who might record them. They must protect all of us.

Finally, the President must tackle actual corruption rather than idle gossip in the fight against corruption—Vickileaks did not show that Victoria Hamah is corrupt—it just showed that she might not be Ministerial material.

Let us move forward—together.

Arthur Kobina Kennedy

Columnist: Kennedy, Arthur Kobina