18 July 2012

Ghana: When the State Drifts On...

editorial

The governance process is threatening to become a farce under the so-called 'Better Ghana' agenda. With young men walking straight from the classroom to ministerial appointments and taking the leadership role from their more senior colleagues, statecraft appears to have no or little role in the administration of Prof. John Evans Fiifi Atta-Mills.

On Monday, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information, called a press conference at the premises of the Ministry of Information. The subject of the conference would not move a 15-year child with the benefit of basic education.

The Deputy Minister of Information sought to convince Ghanaians that two letters drawing attention to the need to amend records, constituted grounds for the payment of judgment debts. In effect, therefore, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), had solicited for the payment of judgment debts.

The Chronicle does not believe there is any Ghanaian who has kicked against the payment of judgment debts per se. What a number of hard-up nationals have voiced concerns against is the idea of paying money to individuals through settlement arrangements tainted with corruption.

When Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo spoke against the manner of paying consent settlements dubiously clothed in judgment debts, he said an administration with the New Patriotic Party presidential candidate as President would not throw public money at dubious settlement payments.

It is a course of action sanctioned by public opinion, when it emerged that most of what government officials refer to as judgment debts were in fact, settlement payments based on state officials agreeing with individuals making claims on the state without proper documentations. The idea that Nana Akufo-Addo has kicked against judgment debts has no basis in truth.

What last Monday's press conference brought to the fore is the alarming trend emerging that this administration has stood the governance process upside down. There was Minister of Information Mr. Fritz Baffour moderating for his two deputies, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa and Mr. James Agyenim Boateng, to front for the government on what they considered as a very serious issue. The Minister himself was only a footnote at the press conference.

It is beginning to look like at the Information Ministry the two deputies have more power than the Minister. The other day, former Minister of Information Mr. John Tia-Akolgo said on radio that Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa, his deputy, failed to brief him on the serious issue of the ISOTOFON payment, which petition Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa claimed had been referred to him.

On television last week, Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa virtually boasted that he sits in Cabinet meetings without swearing the Cabinet Oath of secrecy. The governance process is turning into a farce.

Like most Ghanaians, The Chronicle is getting worried about the way this country is being toyed with, as if there is no leader. This paper could hazard a guess as to why everything appears fluid in a nation fighting hard to justify its Middle Income status.

We hope and pray that the leadership would wake up from their long slumber and become an influence on the governance process before the country slips into the abyss.

Like former President Jerry john Rawlings said the other day, the driver has landed the car in a ditch. It is time for the crew to try and salvage the little left of the engine that makes the ship of state moves. The Chronicle pleads on behalf of the 24 million population of this nation for the President to be active.

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