Victoria Hammah justifies Right to Information Law!!

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Sunday, November 10, 2013

News reports that Lawrence Quayeson, driver of dismissed former Deputy Communications Minister (Victoria Hammah) “says his life is in danger” must wake every Ghanaian up to face reality.

Quayeson, who is a cousin of the dismissed Deputy Minister, claims he had to run away to a hideout Sunday morning to escape house arrest by family members. (See: http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2013/November-10th/i-framed-rachel-vickys-driver-confesses-says-his-life-is-in-danger.php)

In doing whatever he could to expose Victoria Hammah as a fraud in national politics, Quayeson deserves commendation, not personal harm. I urge all well-meaning Ghanaians to rise to the occasion to ensure that those after him are exposed and punished. I trust that the law-enforcement agencies are not conniving with those after Quayeson and will do their duty to protect limb and property.

There is no need for the disgraced Victoria Hammah and her family members to turn their anger at Quayeson. Victoria Hammah sent herself to the slaughter house and must suffer the ignominy and loss of face and the million dollars that she had set her eyes on while in public office. A disgrace!!

It will be recalled that Quayeson was arrested by the police on Thursday evening following an official complaint lodged by Ms. Hammah, accusing him of secretly recording her private conversation. He was however bailed by the father on Friday evening without any charge.

Folks, did you read this part well: “accusing him of secretly recording her private conversation”?

Private conversation? About private or official matters? The interest is in the issues she rambled about, not the nature of the rambling or the venue for it. All that gushed out from her mouth was in bad taste, for which she is now suffering and must learn not to worsen her plight in disgrace.

I expect the police to end their procedures there. In Ghana, we have no law against recording any event, provided one knows how to do it without incurring the anger of the people and issues at stake. Secretly recording something may be unethical but not criminal.

That’s why the police must know their limits in this sensitive matter which, to me, has more benefits for the President/government and the country than the raw deal that Ms. Hammah might claim to have been dealt by Quayeson’s act. I applaud Quayeson a zillion times for being patriotic and bold. I recommend him for a national award as the boldest whistleblower for now!!

Indeed, he needs no protection at all if all the citizens know the value of his role as a whistleblower-in-disguise. He has done a good service and no one should think of harming him. Those in the Hammah family who are angry because of his undercover work and may want to harm him should be monitored and dealt with if they make any faulty move.

If we can get people of this driver's type to risk all and expose frauds of Victoria Hammah's type, our society should be making some progress at the level of morality/ethical conduct in public office. It is an eye-pulping moment and all government functionaries (be they at the Presidency, Ministries, Departments/Agencies, or anywhere at all) had better watch out.

If the MPs (Parliament) and the Executive are afraid of passing the Right to Information Law to allow for unimpeded access to information, they will be hounded with such undercover work to expose them. And I expect this "secret-tape matter" to take on new twists and turns and some sophistication (in the form of video-recording or visual aspects) to authenticate whatever is captured so none turns round to deny ever making such pronouncements.

As for me, I will continue to encourage public-spirited individuals to tail all these government functionaries—be at their heels—to know how they conduct government business in public or in private. Anything that can be "captured" to expose them should be encouraged.

In other countries, those who occupy public office know the ramifications of ill-motivated conduct and the repercussions to them and the system. That is why relevant laws are enacted on ethical behaviour and enforced to the letter and spirit. In those systems, the law is no respecter of persons and bites deep, even if it doesn't bark.

Take Ghana's situation, for instance, and you will be left slack-jawed at the impudence and unconscionable manner in which public office holders approach issues. They assume so much power and authority as to become untouchables. Our laws bark a lot and waste their effect in the process. They don't bite. Even if all is set for them to bite, a mere word from "somewhere" can change matters to the advantage of the culprit. That is despicable and must be rejected for all the negative impact that it has on moral conduct in public office.

We expect this Victoria Hammah case to mark a huge turning point in the affairs of government business. If the Right to Information law cannot be passed, the citizens must arm themselves with all kinds of gadgets to record and expose the maladjusted functionaries with dangerous ulterior motives for being in politics.

I encourage all citizens who have the ability to follow Quayeson's steps to arm themselves with all kinds of gadgets to step up the game. That's a very purposeful way to insert themselves into Ghanaian politics to keep those in power on their quivive. At least, if they cannot perform competently to solve problems, they shouldn't be allowed to have sway anyhow.

Let's keep the heat on them so they will always look over their shoulders before speaking or acting. In that sense, they will be afraid of their own shadows and behave well for fear of being exposed and damned to lose their privileges.

Exposing the charlatans and frauds in Ghanaian politics is an interesting endeavour. Folks, hop for it!!

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.