I Hope Not.
I am writing this as a reflection on the story on Ghanaweb.com today, 08/16/2011, that President Arthur Mills has accepted a Gift of a Mansion from a Business Firm, even as he is still incumbent. I hope the story is one of those baseless gossips meant to tarnish his good name. However, assuming the story were true, I wouldn’t like to hesitate to express my utter disappointment in him and his Administration.
In a Nation where Corruption has long been our greatest social affliction, especially on our Politicians, many of whom have won their elections mainly by promising us they’d work hard to end the practice, it is difficult to fathom why any high ranking Political leader in Government would even entertain the idea of taking any such gift as a Mansion, while still in Office. This could only be one of two things: either the President has lost all his sense of right judgment, or he is complacently mistaking us for subdued entranced dunces of his outward display of his Born-Again Christian piety.
While most people are believed to have voted for Professor Mills because he presented himself as incorruptible, full of the fear of God and willing and ready to cleanse our Nation of the massive, refined Corruption that the previous NPP Administration was said to have indulged in, any such blatant display of impropriety by the President and/or his cohorts in Government indicts them of poor judgment, and slapping our proverbial face after Ghanaians helped them to stand on their feet in their battle of equals with the NPP in 2008. This is a woeful betrayal of Public Trust! And it could well end the President’s bid for a second term.
It is most imprudent for a sitting President to accept any such gift from a Business entity. It seems most unethical, if not criminal. Such gifts to the President, even if accepted, must be turned over to the State immediately to avoid an explosive Public denunciation of the President and his Party.
It would have been more ethical to receive that gift after the President had left office. Even in that case, if the Donor is noted to have been offered some huge, lucrative contract or helped in any way by the President or his Administration, this act of “pre-paid benevolence” could be seen as a suspicious product of “quid pro quo”.
With the huge Ex-gratia that, amidst Public disgust, the President shrewdly massaged so tenderly, waiting for him, even if he serves for a single term, why in the World would he risk destroying his reputation by accepting any such gift from a Company, and throw away his only sure card to win the next elections with?
He could have encouraged the Company to donate the gift in kind to some Charity, or, better still, for setting up a Public Fund for developing Private Enterprises to employ our Youths and unemployed. Keeping the gift would make the President look like one of the same rotten Politicians who would stoop to any low level to amass wealth and property, completely ignoring the Electorate’s reason for electing him to Power.
This incident may have to be fully investigated and appropriately dealt with by our Legislature. I hope our Parliamentary Privileges Committee would quickly get to work on it before it degenerates into another source of bitter Partisan rancor. This sort of questionable privilege is what continuously keeps our Politics ever so dirty with Corruption and mutual bestial uncouthness meant to gain Power at all cost.
When his subordinates were accused of building Mansions shortly after taking Office, many Ghanaians hoped the President would act as a Father of all, as he claimed to be, to advise them to be less impetuous to show off their newly improved financial situations. We gave the Ministers so accused the benefit of doubt that the stories were all orchestrated schemes by the Opposition to tarnish the name of their Administration and Party. But now, with this story of such a humongous Gift accepted by the President himself, while still serving, why should we not believe the stories about the various indiscretions by his Ministers?
Now, I hope we wouldn’t hear any NDC member whining about Hotel “Waa-Waa”, etc., as owned by the Kufuors. After all, Mr. Kufuor had served as our President for 8 years, and could be said to have been more deserving of something as big as a Mansion.
Who can, now, then blame Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Nduom if their ‘mouths have also begun watering’ for such an elegant Gift. Now, we see why Nana might have sounded his “All die be die” mantra. It might not have been only to counter the violence of the shenanigans of NDC but also to lay a claim for his share in such privileges.
Are we supposed to accept that if the President is waving a Bible to us with one hand, while his other hand is receiving these Gifts, we should just consider those Gifts as benign, divine-showering benevolence but if it were any other person with no Bible in hand, that would be simply Bribery or Corruption? Enough of this attitude of using the Bible to fool us! The Europeans did it to us and took over our Land and made Slaves out of us for 100’s of years. Our locally self-anointed Bishops and Prophets have been using the good Old Book to drain our pockets of our change to live prosperously, while most of us still languish in dire poverty. The last place we thought we could find any Solace was in the elected bunch we hoped would lead us away from our bewitched trance state to greater self awareness and higher motivation to be more productive to build our young Nation. But sadly, we keep getting hoodwinked into falling into the same dungeon by our sleazy Politicians.
We may not have to trust any of them, again, and when we vote next time for those we believe have the least indications of betraying our trust, we would have to be more demanding to force them to declare their assets periodically, at least, annually.
God save us!!
Long Live Ghana!!!