Ghanaian Chronicle

Money Swine! NDC plotting to buy the vote

Date published: November 8, 2012

Ebo Quansah in Accra

 

In the lyrics of one of Nana Kwame Ampadu’s hit songs, the tiger moves upstream of a river and muddies the waters. He then descends downstream and blames the poor lamb who is struggling to clear the water for a drink.

On Sunday, as we were about to leave the office, news filtered through that President John Dramani Mahama had directed Parliament to review his GH¢12,000 monthly bonanza and those of his ministers.

The interesting thing about this development is that it was the executive, headed by the President himself, who set the tone for the massive pay rise for the political elites of this hapless nation.

The executive gave parliamentarians a massive boost in their wages – from GH¢3,000 our law makers were handed GH¢7,200 a month – with the caveat that members of the House were to be paid this huge bonanza from January 2009.

In a matter of you scratch my back and I scratch yours, members of the House reciprocated by handing the President GH¢12,000 a month from our depleted treasury. President Mahama and his ministers are also to receive this quantum leap in wages from January 2009.

With Parliament in recess until January 7, when this session is officially dissolved to pave the way for the next Parliament, how is the review going to take place? In any case, if the President is so concerned about depleting resources, why did he not communicate this to Cletus Avoka, his Majority Leader in the House, before the debate or whatever was discussed in the House before the dole-out was effected before Parliament rose?

Are we being told that the House would be recalled merely to reduce the huge wages doled out to the President and his ministers at a time civil servants are voting with their feet?

Before the vote on December 7, a lot of water would have passed under the bridge.

For me, as a social commentator, I am not impressed one bit by this belated attempt to take to the moral high ground. If the President had not approved GH¢7,200 per month for each of the 230 Members of the House, with back pay dating to January 2009, I  bet my bottom cedi that the MPs would not have handed over that king’s ransom to the President and his ministers.

The other day, on my visit to my native Ekumfi, I saw a brand new Mahindra 4×4 vehicle parked in the backyard of one of our local chiefs. Trust my inquisition to take charge at that point. After a lengthy chat with some of the courtiers in the chief’s courtyard, I got the information that it was a gift from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

I am told that a number of chiefs have been given these vehicles as a means of motivating them to canvass for votes for the NDC in the 2012 elections. I learned too that a number of NDC activists in town have benefitted from special taxi packages, and that one person had received two.

One very interesting backlash of taxis for footsoldiers is that a number of NDC activists in the holy village have resigned from the party. They are reported to have been aggrieved that they had been left out in the distribution of the cab largesse, obviously funded from state resources.

At the weekend I decided to visit a nephew at the University of Ghana, Legon, to check on his progress on campus. The number of brand new vehicles I saw parked at the car park of one of the halls aroused the journalistic instinct in me. I went on an excursion to all the halls of residence and the various hostels on campus.

Brand new … were parked in front of all the halls. At Commonwealth, Mensah Sarbah and Volta especially, it looked like new assembly plants had been commissioned. I learned that all the cars belonged to students.  If you are a member of the Tertiary Education Institution Network (TEIN), you are a special breed who ought to be aided to be of use to the NDC in the campaign period.

After going round the campus at Legon, I understood why a six-unit classroom block that used to be constructed with GH¢84,000 in 2008, is now attracting GH¢300,000 and GH¢400,000.ouse.

The difference between GH¢400,000 and GH¢84,000 is here on display for all to see. Sadly, beneficiaries of the NDC largesse are not limited to students in the tertiary institutions. In the various senior high schools, there are frantic efforts on the part of the NDC, led by district chief executives, to identify first-time voters. My information is that on the submission of names of school kids old enough to vote, monetary inducements are sent through identified sympathisers of the party on the compound of our schools.

In the communities gifts for votes have moved from the bentoa (anal syringe), chamber pot, and koobi, perfected in the NDC Mark One of Jerry John Rawlings, to more attractive and juicy offers. Potential voters are now being offered clothes, cement and other building materials. When the stakes are high, inducement packages ought to conform to the dictates of the moment.

If you have problems with the scheme cleverly hatched for contractors in Tamale, Bawku and Wa to supply classroom chairs and desks to schools in the Sefwi, Atiwa and Kwaebibirim districts where the bulk of timber is located, there is your answer.

When contractors at Ho, Hohoe and Keta are required to supply school furniture to Hamile, Lawra and Jirapa, while Bawku suppliers are mandated to reach out to Agona Swedru, Cape Coast and Sekondi, the plot has been cleverly schemed to ensure that sacks are full of the national currency to oil the machinery for election campaigns.

The idea of sole-sourcing, multiple sole sourcing and other clever plots to undermine the Procurement Law, have their genesis in the need to have the election campaign well-oiled.

While we continue to pray for peace, free and fair elections, the NDC is cleverly plotting how to pay their way to election victory.

As you read this piece, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, as well as the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, are campaign offices for the NDC.

The situation is particularly bad in the Ashanti Region, where the party is fighting on all fronts to win at least 30 percent of the popular vote.  The situation is so bad that most of the people in Ashanti have lost faith in their assemblies. In the Kwabre East, for instance, most towns and villages have planned to levy their inhabitants, particularly, those working in Accra and Kumasi, rather than approach their assemblies to fix problems.

There is the case of a town which has a problem with the toilets in the community. Instead of asking the assembly to fix it, they have rather chosen to ask residents and natives of the town outside the community to contribute to remedy the situation.

It is a shame. But, while the average Ghanaian is looking up to divine intervention for peace and impartiality on the part of the Electoral Commission to ensure free and fair elections, the NDC is secretly plotting to buy the vote.

When the Ministry of Local Government decided to provide all assembly members with motorcycles, the decision was based on the realisation that following the disaster of the Assembly elections in 2010, the party controls at least two-third of assembly members throughout the country. Ghanaians are advised to be on notice!

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