Ebo Quansah in Accra .
Three big cheers for the President of the Republic. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo made my day over the weekend. Following his intervention, Cabinet threw out the so-called new Ameri deal on Thursday. And that should cheer the hearts of all Ghanaians.
At the same Cabinet meeting, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aqua Culture was directed to stop implementation of the ban on fishing activities scheduled to begin today, for more consultations with the intention of implementing the new policy next year. I think that is the wisest thing to do after information that leaders of a particular political party are paying money to induce the fisher-folks to rebel against lawful authority.
Instead of applauding the government for being pragmatic and cost-saving, people with petrol-soaked cotton wool wrapped under their anus are rather choosing to jump over raging fire. Yesterday, I read from a number of the ‘criminally-minded rented press’ that Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), is pontificating on why Nana Addo deserves to be taken to the slaughterhouse for stopping Mr. Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko from short-changing this country on the re-negotiated AMERI deal.
My immediate reaction is to call the bluff of the man who calls himself General Mosquito. Here is a character who has made himself the laughing stock in national politics. Once upon a regime, Mr. Asiedu Nketia embarrassed this country by following Mr. John Dramani Mahama, then sitting President of the Republic of Ghana, to an official function in London, wearing ladies’ coat. Gen. Mosquito’s ‘improper dress’ code did a number of rounds in the local and international media.
Truth and Asiedu Nketia “are on rather bad terms with each other,” my apologies to Hannah Arendt, an American political commentator.
When the local media reported some time ago that the NDC in power was building an expensive head office at Adabraka in Accra, Asiedu Nketia, as chief executive of the political party then propping up the government of the day, swore to the high heavens that he knew not of any such project.
By the way, does anybody remember the ‘Kwasia Bi Nti’ episode? ‘Kwasia Bi Nti’ in Twi, the language of the largest ethnic group in Ghana, means because of a fool or bunch of fools. When General Mosquito threatened a court suit against an Accra-based private newspaper, he told the whole wide world that proceeds from his suit would be used to construct a new house. The house would bear a sign post – ‘Kwasia Bi Nti.’
Trust Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, alias Sir John, Gen. Secretary of then largest opposition political party at the time, to wade into such matters. Sir John entered the fray, telling the world that any house with such an inscription must be populated by fools.
Since then, the world of Ghanaian politics has heard nothing about the suit nor its ‘Kwasia Bi Nti’ house. In the meantime, the man who calls himself Gen. Mosquito has built himself an enormous reputation as the chief scribe of a political party that is widely acclaimed for its aversion to truth as a political virtue.
That is beside the point though. What has brought the general in the world of mosquitoes to immediate focus is a statement reported by the ‘criminally-minded rented press’, quoting the NDC Gen. Secretary justifying the unfair criticism of the President for doing the honourable thing.
The Head of State complained earlier that his political opponents were frantically trying to give him a bad name and hang him like a dog. “I am aware that you give a dog a bad name in order to hang it; but this dog will not be hanged,” declared the Head of State.
This is what brought Asiedu Nketia to his feet. Read his lips as he spoke to an Accra-based radio station: “He (Prez. Akufo-Addo) highly deserves the bad name, because he did not crack the whip when his appointees were involved in those corrupt acts. He’s been shielding his appointees and keeps on saying his appointees are clean, while corruption abounds under his watch.
“If there is a problem now, the buck stops with him; and so he should bear the brunt of his corrupt officials. I hear him saying that he was misled in the new AMERI deal when he signed the executive approval for it. If you realised that you were deceived by your own people, what stops you from removing them from office? If you don’t want that bad name, then begin to name and shame.”
I wonder who told Asiedu Nketia that the President is afraid of naming and shaming. The Boakye-Agyarko case, I tell you, is a matter still unfolding. Like the Akans say, you do not stand in the line of soldier ants to remove ants biting at you. It is only when you have left the vicinity that you begin to remove those attacking you. Boakye Agyarko will surely pay for the gargantuan embarrassment he has visited on the President, the political party that props up the government, and the whole country. He must pay for his misdeeds. But, no, I cannot rush the President. It is only a matter of time.
Meanwhile, it is instructive to examine the credentials of the man making the loudest noise. Mr. Asiedu Nketia has not accounted for a pesewa of the enormous resources that went into constructing the edifice housing the headquarters of the NDC at Adabraka, a suburb of Accra. One newspaper put the cost at US$20 million. The news in this project is that at that point in time, the Umbrella covered the whole country. It was at a point in time, when former President John Dramani Mahama presided over corruption in gargantuan form at Government House.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia himself has a huge cupboard of underhand dealings to answer for. The man from Seikwa, literally meaning (getting spoiled for nothing), was appointed by deceased President John Evans Atta to head the Board of Directors managing the Bui Dam project, sited in the Tain District of the Brong Ahafo Region at the time. Officially, Mr. Asiedu Nketia is a native of the Tain District. Whether or not Gen. Mosquito is a native, or one of those claiming origin of places on the basis of migration, is another matter.
What is not in doubt is that at the time Gen. Mosquito presided over the boardroom as political and administrative head of the project, he was also a private block manufacturer. There is nothing absolutely wrong with the four-star Gen. in the field of mosquito empowerment executing his private block contracts while deciding the fate of this nation’s third hydro project from the boardroom.
What might get tongues wagging all the way to the Special Prosecutor’s Office is the allegation that at the time Mr. Asiedu Nketia was taking serious financial decisions concerning the Bui Dam Project, he was also delivering blocks from his factory to the Bui Dam construction site for a fee. In other words, he was negotiating with himself to buy his own blocks.
Those with legal background would tell you this behavior is tantamount to conflict of interest. I am not a lawyer, but my layman’s view of the law tells me that there is a case for Mr. Martin Amidu to investigate.
The last I heard, Alhaji Inusa Fuseini, the immediate past Minister of Roads, has also waded into the new AMERI Deal saga, insisting that the President was fully aware of what the deal entailed before it was brought to Parliament for approval. He has not explained how he got to know this. Like most things the opposition has done since the advent of the Akufo-Addo regime, what he has put out there is pure conjecture. “I will never believe it when they come out to say that the President was misled into approving the deal. He knew what it entails, but still went ahead to approve it, and now you make a sudden u-turn to disapprove it. They should stop lying to us,” he is quoted by another ‘criminally-minded rented press’ to have told an Accra radio station.
I cannot tell how Alhaji Fuseini got to know how the President was duly educated on the new deal before it got to Parliament House. There is one thing I know. The Tamale-Central Member of Parliament had not been to the moon at the time the bill on the American military co-operation agreement with Ghana was discussed and approved in Parliament House. What I do know is that when the NDC Minority in the House threatened mayhem after approving the deal, I did not hear Alhaji Fuseini raise any voice in discontent with the NDC position.
That is not the only thing I recall about the MP’s appreciation or lack of it on major national issues. Mr. Fuseini was Minister of Roads and Highways under former President Mahama. At a time the construction of the Teacher Mante-Suhum-Apedwa stretch of the Accra-Kumasi Highway had stalled, and the busiest network of road in this country had become a public hazard to commuters, the contractor on that major highway was moved away from the site to Damongo to undertake a road network that led to nowhere.
I am not imputing anything, but from my point of view, abandoning the busiest road network in this country in favour of a road that leads to the birth-place of the former President tells a lot about the mindset of those who took over the public purse in the immediate past and applied or misapplied it to the total disregard for national interest and priority.
When I hear major dramatists in what I call the misadventure of the immediate past making noise about what is largely a non-issue, I feel it a duty to let the people of Ghana have a feel of what those people brought to the national table in their prime.
Nana Akufo-Addo is no God. Like all human beings, he has the tendency to be misled. The great thing about men who acknowledge their faults when they err, is that they are more likely to learn from their mistakes than those who label themselves as dead goats and lead the whole society astray.
So far, the sitting President has not given any indication that he is an apostle of the dead goat syndrome. That is why some of us are firmly convinced that he will succeed.
I shall return!