Friday, 7 November 2014

If He Fails To Tackle Corruption President Mahama Will Face Defeat In 2016 - Even If He Turns Ghana Into A Paradise

It is important that all the members of President Mahama's administration understand one thing clearly, if they want to leave a good legacy behind, and be returned to power again, on the strength of that.

As things currently stand, even if they turn Ghana into an African paradise, and improve the living standards of all Ghanians, they will still be voted out of power in 2016 - if they do not kill the widespread perception that theirs is the most corrupt regime in Ghana's history.

It does not make any difference that the reality is that President Mahama is far from being the most corrupt Ghanaian leader in history - but is rather a leader actually striving to fight corruption, who has in fact taken a number of measures, which no other  leader of Ghana since President Nkrumah, has taken, to protect our nation's assets.

 For example, to prevent the egregious asset-stripping of Ghana, undertaken during the days of the golden age of business for the greed-filled Kufuor & Co, President Mahama has ensured that going forward, no president of Ghana, will be able to sell government properties cheaply to his or her cronies.

It will be recalled that that was the case in the unconscionable asset-stripping of the defunct Ghana Airways,  and the outrageous sale of expensive government-owned houses and plots of valuable land across the nation, to a host of well-connected individuals, during the Kufuor-era.

 Who can ever forget the infamy of the sale of a super-expensive government-owned house, at Ridge, in Accra, to Jake Obestebi-Lamptey - for small change: and the bush-telegraph innuendo (which I find hard to believe, incidentally) alluding to a story that he subsequently sold it for over U.S.1 million after a court ruling in his favour that the sale of the state-owned property to him was legitimate.

 Yet another example, is the astonishing story of how two individuals fronting for the most powerful people at the time, and who did not even pay a pesewa upfront, came to acquire shares in blocs in oilfields off our shores, which netted them some U.S.$350 millions when they sold out to Tullow Oil. It is symbolic of the shameful abuse of power and high-level corruption of the Kufuor-era.

The above two examples, and the incredible story of how the sale and purchase agreement for the Volta Aluminium Company Limited (VALCO), to a company that did not exist, International Aluminium Partners (IAP), was railroaded through Parliament, illustrate perfectly, the beyond-the-pale crookedness prevailing during the days of the golden age of business, for the amoral and ruthless  Kufuor & Co. 

What saved the day for Ghana, in that particular instance recounted above, was that the Brazilian company VALE, and Norske Hydro of Norway, resisted being sucked into the same kind of deal struck by the Crook-in-Chief at the time,  in the case of Kosmos Energy, by vehemently denying that they had ever agreed to purchase VALCO in a joint-venture deal. Incredible, but true.

So much for the absurd notion held by the gullible amongst us, that  somehow the NPP is going to usher in rule by saints, after January 7th,  2017. Pure, fantasy.

To kill the widespread perception that the Mahama administration is the most corrupt regime in Ghana's history - which it definitely is not - President Mahama must take a raft of measures.

To begin with, he and  his wife must publicly publish their  assets - showing Ghanaians what they had before he became vice president and declared at the time, and what they own now.

President Mahama must also get all his appointees to do same, too. All those unwilling to do so must be made to resign from their positions. In any case, the day of reckoning, when they will be forced to do so anyway, will come, when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mahama is finally turfed out of office.

The president must also remove the current head of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and order a forensic audit of the company immediately - and make public its findings.

If nothing untoward is found, the current head of the company, can then be reinstated.

Any CEO of the GNPC who hangs out with Trafigura, and recommends the privatisation of the state-owned Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), which he talks derisively about, and then goes on to import finished petroleum products, which the GNPC stores in tank farms belonging to the state-owned  Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), needs careful monitoring, in my book.

The Republic of  Ghana is not a plaything to be toyed with by the ruthless asset-strippers amongst our ruling elites. Period.

Forensic audits must also be carried out at all the other state-owned companies and public-sector organisations that generate revenue - and he can start with the National Youth Authority (NYA), whose acting head must be made to step aside immediately. He can be reinstated if nothing untoward is uncovered by the forensic audit. All the forensic audit reports must be made public.

It is only when a new reality-on-the-ground narrative is made possible - once the president and his appointees and their spouses publicly declare their assets, and the forensic audits of public-sector revenue-generating entities are carried out and made public - that President Mahama and his party can dream about being returned to power again in January 2017.

What the president and his party must grasp, if it has not yet dawned on them, is that their opponents in the New Patriotic Party (NPP), whose government in reality constituted the most corrupt regime in Ghana's history thus far, from 2001 to 2009,  have succeeded in making Ghanaians forget that fact.

They have done a brilliant job at successfully making the perception stick in the minds of millions of ordinary people in Ghana that it is rather the Mahama administration that is the most corrupt in our nation's history.

If the Mahama administration does not kill that widespread perception amongst Ghanaians  by taking the measures outlined above, amongst others, they will be routed in the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections - as sure as day follows night.

That is why it is crucial that President Mahama deals firmly with all those whose conduct has turned the issue of corruption into the number one concern of millions of Ghanaians, and must be seen to be doing so - or face certain defeat in 2016: even if he succeeds in turning Ghana into a paradise before then.

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