President Mahama Caught In Flagrante Delicto
by Kwabena Opong
Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, after unthinkingly prejudicing himself with a car gift from a Burkinabe contractor who sought for and benefited from Mahama’s friendship has set in motion a propaganda machinery that is aimed at legitimizing a shameful act. Some who would defend the president as corrupt have been shamed into wondering if they did the right thing. Monsieur Djibril Kanazoe, a Burkina Faso admitted sending a 2010 Ford Expedition as a gift to Ghana’s President John Mahama in an interview with Joy Fm journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni. According to the Burkinabe businessman, President Mahama has been a family friend who attended the funeral of his late father in 2011. The car, according to him, was not to influence the president for another contract, but a gift. He adds, “The president called to thank me.”
However, yet another contract for €25.9million to construct part of the Eastern Corridor road system in 2012 was awarded him the same year he finished building the wall. A third single sourced 82 million GHs contract was offered M. Kanazoe, The sequence of events in the affair does not exonerate neither M. Kanazoe nor Mr. Mahama from the suspicion of criminal influence of a public officer immediately as provided in Article 284 of our constitution that says “a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.”. The government party is vigorously trying to legitimize a wrongdoing that anywhere else could fetch the president an impeachment. The attempt to overlook the details in shipping the car down from Burkina Faso, its clearance and registration is only an exercise in propaganda. The Ghana mission in Burkina Faso facilitated the shipping process and equally, clearing at the Tema Harbor all in the name of John Mahama, supposedly. According to the NDC, since the vehicle was immediately added to the Jubilee House car pool it absolves the president from the charge of corruption. Simply put, the ruling party is in denial.
The burden of the crime increases as the tax payer is saddled with fuelling and maintaining the personal vehicle of the president. John Mahama’s party is dragging Ghana into an abyss of corruption. Since 2011 when he assumed office as president the NDC has done next to nothing about corruption. The defiantly dismissive attitude of the party towards the current event not only shows disrespect to the people of Ghana but its lack of commitment to fight the evil of corruption. Omane Boama and his cohorts are seeking to redefine corruption. The fact that the car has supposedly been added to the presidential motor pool does not vindicate the act as corrupt. It legitimizes stealing and/or any act of corruption as long as it is applied for the public good. The way and manner the NDC propaganda machinery is dealing with the issue makes it seem as if the party has gagged Ghanaians into finding a new definition for corruption. It is amazing. Ghanaians heard President John Mahama praising the investigative work done by Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas which exposed more than 20 judges and some workers of the Judicial Service. Someone who accepted 2,000 GHs, a goat and some tubers of yams were fired and denied their ex-gratia awards. Almost all the judges who were involved were fired from the Judicial Service without their pensions. The 1992 constitution of the 4th Republic has been seriously breached and Ghanaians are dancing around it as if all is fine.
Whichever way one looks at the issue there is no doubt that Mr. Mahama has committed an impeachable offence. As Prof. Mike Ocquaye says, facts of the matter do not absolve the president from impeachment, and I agree with him. Mr. Daniel Batidam, the Advisor on Governance at the Office of the President, is of the view that “the motivation for a gift is even more important than the quantum.” He believes if motivation is to influence the public official, the quantum of the “should” not stop people from questioning the gift. Mr. Batidam, an anti-corruption crusader who once headed the Ghana Integrity Initiative, also advises the President on corruption. He is the key person who speaks on corruption at the Presidency. “I did not tell him I was investigating the conduct of the President,” according to Manasseh. When Manasseh asked Mr. Daniel Batidam that if the President sought his advice on whether or not to accept a gift with the value of about $100,000 from a contractor who does business with the government, what his advice would be. The presidential advisor said, “Well, I’m sure you know that these are not situations that would occur in reality in terms of the kind of president we have.” It had already occurred. What would Mr. Batidam say now that a situation has occurred in reality? Ghanaians and members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have not forgotten the harassment the NDC put the party through when it concocted stories of corruption about President John Kufuor. He was wrongly accused of refurbishing his house with several thousands of state funds. He endured a CHRAJ investigation into accusations of interest in a hotel deal his son did, among several other politically motivated allegations. Not even late President Mills would stay clear of the sordid and shameful allegation of former President Kufuor’s affair with an Iranian lady Ms. Gizelle Yajzi and allegedly had twins with her. Ghanaians are waiting to hear from President John Mahama offering to appear before the CHRAJ to defend himself as his predecessor did. As a people how are Ghanaians taking this? Taking in the propaganda filth of the NDC or taking action? He was caught in flagrante delicto, or what the Americans would say, caught with his pants down.