A ‘broke’ President and matters arising

BY: Caroline Boateng
Kwesi Nyantakyi
Kwesi Nyantakyi

The former President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, in the undercover recording by Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Tiger Eye PI and the BBC, told the world that the President is broke.

For some of us, that was shocking! How could a President be broke? Our socialisation has often been of rich and powerful leaders, not broke ones.

Mr Nyantakyi further alleged in the recording that the President had sold all his family property to fund an election, for which reason he was under pressure from them to recoup.

As I sat and watched Number 12, I wondered what the implication of that was for the country, if everything were true?

Thankfully, I shook myself from that contemplation. We have a President who believes in democracy, the rule of law and accountability, so we can all heave a sigh of relief that even if that is so, no untoward means, at the expense of Ghanaians, will be used to recover the liability.

A broke autocratic or authoritarian President would have ridden roughshod over all citizens and by some “legal” pretext, confiscated businesses and private property or resources.

He or she would have dictated favourable legal terms for himself or herself, and with the blessing of a rubber stamp Legislature, to take over private businesses to milk citizens dry to off-set his or her liabilities.

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Even a broke President in a democratic dispensation can be led into undemocratic means of clearing such liabilities.

The possibility of that in our multiparty politics made the drafting of the Political Parties Act 2000 (Act 574) necessary.

Section 13 (1) enjoins political parties to, within 90 days after they have been issued with a certificate of registration, submit to the (EC) assets and expenditure (including contributions or donations in cash or in kind) made to the initial assets of the party by its founding members.

In Ghana, this section has never been the focus of citizens, rather Section 14 of the same Act on the filing of the accounts of the party prior to and after elections has been the focus; and even that has consistently been breached.

Reading the Act, I conclude that the two provisions go hand in hand and parties cannot choose to do one and leave the other.

Maybe, Section 13 of Act 574 must be amended to include a declaration of the contributions of founding members prior to an election, when a heavy mobilisation of resources is most needed and the flag bearer, who has much higher stake when the contest is won, will contribute an arm and a leg to garner votes.

A recent study by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), in collaboration with the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), found in its research entitled ‘’The Cost of Politics in Ghana’’ that from 2012 to 2016, the cost of running for political office increased by 59 per cent.

On average, a candidate needed to raise about GH¢389,803 or approximately $85,000 to secure the party primary nomination and compete in the parliamentary elections.

How do our politicians get back such resources expended for elections?

These are some questions citizens must pose and demand responses to.

Tiger Eye PI’s expose was also interesting in the way most of the people receiving bribes blessed the giver.

“God bless you,” was often the response when a bribe was given. I wondered why.

Was it because our consciences have been so seared that we cannot recognise a vice as such? Or our value system of honest work for honest pay has now been thrown to the dogs, making dishonesty good and integrity evil?

Is it that we live in a society (mostly engineered by politicians), where money answers all things and money reigns supreme, regardless of how one comes by it?
For me, Number 12 teaches that for now Mr Nyantakyi is alleged to be the corrupt one because he has been caught on tape taking money.

Perhaps, most of us calling for his crucifixion will not stand the test too if recorded secretly at offices, homes and hotel rooms with the offer of meeting the President face to face and getting a part of the national cake.

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