But for his incessant self-preening and shameless appropriation of the political establishment of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the obsessive enhancement of his morbid acquisitiveness, the awarding of the GH? 100 Million streetlight supplying contract to a company called Imperial World Ventures, reportedly owned by one of the several known wives of Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the NPP’s Member of Parliament for Assin-Central, in the Central Region, would not be such a big deal (See “Energy Minister Justifies GH? 100 Million Streetlight Contract to Ken Agyapong’s Wife” Pulse.com.gh/ Ghanaweb.com 12/15/18). It would not be such a big deal because even as the Energy Minister, Mr. John Peter Amewu, tells us, Act 663, Section 38B, of the Constitution allows the Government to select some of its suppliers via a process called “Restricted Tender.”
Now, I don’t know what restricted tender means but the term clearly appears to refer to the right of the Government to pick a handful of firms of proven capability and then decide from its shortlist which of these select few it deems to be best qualified for the job or project at stake. Such a process, of course, gives room for favoritism in the conduct of the people’s business. But, of course, if it has been written into law and has been practiced since the inception of our Fourth-Republican Constitution or 1992 by both major political parties in the country, then my good guess is that we are quite safe to conclude that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the same. What makes this particular subject of discourse or contract a little different, and which I have every good reason to believe prompted Mr. Amewu to promptly issue his public defense of Mrs. Agyapong’s contractual order for the supply of GH? 100 Million worth of streetlights, no doubt, is the notoriously big mouth and other-people’s-business-prying husband of the Imperial World Ventures’ CEO / Proprietor.
Indeed, the Energy Minister could very well have reacted with a little rudeness or even annoyance by asking critics displeased with the nature of the contract to either familiarize themselves with statutory stipulations on Restricted Tenders or better yet, test their own democratically inalienable resolve before a legitimately constituted court of law. I personally prefer the poignantly terse and very diplomatic approach taken by Mr. Amewu. My only qualm, however, regards what Mr. Agyapong’s own reaction would have been had it turned out that Imperial World Ventures was owned by the wife of a political rival within the establishment of the ruling New Patriotic Party. You see, I make this critical observation in view of the kind of commotion that the proprietor of the Kencity Media Network and his equally notorious mentee, to wit, Mr. Kwame Asare Obeng (aka A-Plus), the Hiplife musician, caused the Akufo-Addo Administration barely a couple of months upon its assumption of office.
It is very likely that Mr. Agyapong would have taken to the radio and television airwaves and bandwidths and called national attention to what he would have self-righteously, rancorously and nihilistically characterized as the intolerably rank corruption at the Akufo-Addo Presidency. Of course, we also need to commend Mr. Agyapong for the fact that sometimes when it clearly appeared that all the home-based fans and supporters of Nana Akufo-Addo had, as if on cue, suddenly left town and the Presidency was seriously under siege, it had invariably been the Assin-Central hip-shooting political firebrand who had staunchly stepped up to the proverbial plate, in American baseball parlance, and brought things back to normalcy. For yours truly, though, what makes the contractual award to one of the Mrs. Agyapongs perfectly in order, is the fact that the same political game clearly appears to have been played by the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress, when it was their turn at the wheel of governance, as it were.
In other words, what I am clearly implying here is that when they were in power, most of the government contracts went to the financiers and prime investors and key operatives of the National Democratic Congress. So it would be rather absurd, if not downright asinine, for any of their political opponents and critics to expect the tide of contractual favoritism, or even nepotism, to be turning in the same direction as when the previous Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress was in charge or at the helm of the people’s affairs. Indeed, about the only one unease is the fact that, if I recall accurately, the Ministry of National Procurement is also known to be headed by either one of the wives or concubines of the Kencity proprietor. But, of course, we also know that the Public Procurement Authority has been literally working hand-in-glove around the clock with the Central Tender Review Committee, which means that at least there is some quite credible sense of power balance here, however imperfect the latter may be deemed by some cynics and ardent critics of the government.
Interestingly, the question of whether the streetlight-supplying contract was awarded to Mrs. Agyapong on “merit,” as her shamelessly polygynous husband insists, or on the basis of “Restricted Tender” favoritism, is decidedly beside the point. Those of us who have studiously followed the political career and the incessantly reckless public pronouncements of Mr. Agyapong, are well aware of the considerable damage that Mr. Agyapong must have done to the image and reputation of his platoon of wives and concubines, and his brigades of girlfriends and mistresses as well.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York