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Wrong is Wrong is Wrong!!!

Sat, 23 May 2009 Source: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw

Yaw Opare-Asamoa


The Ghanaian Chronicle story that compared and contrasted how much our governments (NDC and NPP) spent on similar trips should put to sleep the ‘noise’ from the NPP about the cost of the president’s trip to the U.K. I want to see just one individual, from the NPP who can tell us that he/she went on record publicly and criticized Kufuor on his trips and the cost to the nation, to come forward and criticize Atta Mills’. There’s only one man, I believe, who can take up this challenge-Hon. P.C.Ofori, MP for Asikuma Odoben Brakwa. The rest should spare us the hypocrisy. They should let the media (at least those who would) and the people take care of that. I believe in what the Law refers to as ‘Equity’. Maxim 3 of Equity states that ‘He who seeks equity must do equity’ or ‘He who comes into equity must come with clean hands’. If your hands are not clean, be careful of what you touch!!

I hold no allegiance to any man (or woman for that matter). Politicians are just like the rest of us: they lie, they cheat and they steal. I will acknowledge when the right thing is done and I will complain and condemn otherwise. As a people, we need to move away from hero-worshipping. In Ghana today, it is almost impossible to criticize Rawlings or the NDC without being vilified by a section of the populace. The story is the same when it comes to Kufuor and the NPP. Politicians implement policies that do not always help the people. Some forget completely the reason why they were voted into power in the first place. If a public official betrays the public trust by using the political power he/she has to engage in corrupt practices, why should the ordinary man (or woman) rise to defend such an individual?? Let’s take the case of the former Speaker of Parliament for instance: you can bet on your life there would be people out there trying to defend him. His story and the explanation he offers do not make sense. He is supposed to be a successful lawyer, so can he explain, to us, what he wanted to achieve by ransacking his office and stripping it bare? Granted that there was an ‘arrangement’ or some ‘legislation’ that allowed him to take away the stuff, the question becomes ‘did he really need those items’? Can he honestly say that he could not provide these items for himself from his law practice? For me if he did not buy those items with his own money, he had no business carting them away. For the life of me, I am still unable to wrap my mind around this: it looks and sounds like greed, pure and simple! But the problem goes beyond Speaker Sekyi-Hughes. The problem is bigger and deeper than what’s been characterized by the ex-gratia awards saga. It is a sub-culture that we, as a people, ‘inherited’ from ‘colonialism’. It is endemic and pervasive across the civil and public services. Parliamentarians ‘pocket’ ex-gratia awards after every four years. Those who do not make it back to parliament ‘retire’ with very generous benefits. Thousands of dollars are given to them every four years ostensibly to buy cars. We all know those monies are not loans because they never repay the full amounts. What about parliamentarians who have been there since 1992? Do they take the monies every four years? Department heads and Directors go on pension with 2-year old cars that taxpayers’ money had bought at top value. Other assets are auctioned off rather cheaply to these officers. The NDC can go ahead and make this a partisan matter but when it’s all said and done, we should take the opportunity to tackle and address the bigger issue of this sub-culture of ex-gratia awards. We cannot continue like this and we shouldn’t. These politicians are no saints and the earlier we realize this the better it would be for our country Ghana. If we continue to believe and behave as if these people can do no wrong, then God help us. Is it any wonder then that they (politicians) take us for a ride every time? If the NDC wants to prosecute the former Speaker and other public officials, they should go ahead. The NPP had their turn but failed to do the right thing. Their failure or refusal to prosecute, fully, alleged corrupt NDC officials does not in any way mean the NDC should return the favour. It is about time we developed some sense of ACCOUNTABILITY in our society. We should just make sure that due process is followed and everybody is given fair, equal and adequate access to the law. I don’t care who you are or what you are; I have no intention of disrespecting you; but I will not hero-worship you either. I will treat you like a fellow human being; I will demand that you execute your duties, fairly, as defined by your office even as I do mine. Sycophancy has no place in my politics. Enough of the sycophancy!! Enough of the reckless fanaticism!!!

Written and submitted on May 20, 2009

Columnist: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw