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Elephant don’t die?

BY: Enimil Ashon
Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta
Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta

In April 2017, I wrote in the Daily Graphic, inter alia: “Long before the rest of Ghana knew Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, I knew him. Years before the business community named him Ghana’s Most Respected CEO, I had, in an article in the Weekly Spectator, put him forth as a businessman who wore his integrity on his chest, like a badge, in a marketplace populated by the corrupt and the crooked.”

Last Monday evening, I revised the script slightly. My respect for him is intact, but it no longer borders on adoration.

While I have no evidence of wrong-doing by him, I am not pleased that Databank Financial Services Limited, the company he founded, was the local partner to the foreign company selected to offer the government a receivable backed credit facility in the Agyapa Deal.

It may not be a crime, and as is being pointed out, the procurement of the company was the decision of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).

Nonetheless, I still wish that Mr Ofori-Atta, who does not speak three sentences without quoting the Bible, even in reading the Budget, would have served his full term as Minister of State without having his CV soiled by this perception of wrong-doing.

Dealings

I am not, in the least, asserting that companies with connections to finance or any other ministers should be barred from dealings with the government. My wish is in the language of the oft-quoted maxim that "justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.”

In his play, Hamlet, William Shakespeare concluded that “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” To ignore perception is like fighting a dozen.

I wish (and it is only a wish) that matters had not got to this head where Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu would pronounce in his judgement that the involvement of Data Bank Financial Services Limited as local partners of Imara Corporate Finance “smells of bid-rigging”: and that the procurement process “was manipulated by the Ministry of Finance by adding an unapproved rider for collaboration with a Ghanaian firm.”

NPP

So much for one man; now to the New Patriotic Party (NPP), win or lose, the party will, after the 2020 elections, need one hard look at both its constitution and its definition of a party communicator.

Any politico-legal document, such as a constitution is, that creates such large holes to enable people to escape as “independents” with impunity cannot be benign.

In 2016, the party lost the Klottey Korle seat because in the heat of their internal squabbles, its former constituency chairman, Nii Noi Nortey, flipped and decided to go independent.

In 2008, Joseph Osei-Owusu, broke ranks and contested the Amansie East parliamentary seat as an independent candidate. He said at the time, that his decision followed the persistent calls from majority of the electorate for him to go independent.

This year, it is Bekwai. Mr Kwasi Amofa-Agyemang, who was disqualified by both the regional and national vetting committees of the party from contesting the primary election, is going solo.

Same story in the Ahafo Ano North where Kwabena Osei Bonsu, a staunch NPP man, is running but not on the party’s ticket. Reason: he was disqualified from the primaries.

No space

Still with the NPP, it is very evident by now that the party has either the wrong definition of a party communicator or that its communication group has no space for young persons with 21st century cutting edge ideas. The communication has become reactive without young ideas.

In China, losing elephants began when traditional medicine practitioners needed the elephant’s penis for juju. One day a hunter shot an elephant with an arrow. The people laughed in scorn: ”How can one arrow do harm to the elephant?”. They followed the animal around and saw its slow and agonising death. Today, they don’t need anybody to remind them that “yesterday an elephant died”.

Political vigilantism

Back to national level. Worried that electoral violence may hit us on December 7? Blame police inaction in a country where nobody gets punished for “small” pockets of political vigilantism.

When the IGP warned that “we will deal ruthlessly with anybody who fires a gun or wields an offensive weapon at a polling station,” or that “we will go after all political vigilantes”, I wanted to ask him if he knows the name of Hawa Koomson.

Months after her self-confessed discharge of her gun at Kasoa, I saw her on the shoulders of a massive crowd in her constituency and may be well on the way back to Parliament.

Did you read the Electoral Commissioner’s response this week to NDC’s latest allegations about the ballot papers? If the EC’s facts and figures are true, then the NDC should apologise to Ghanaians.
 

The writer is the Executive Director, Centre for Communication and Culture,

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