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FEATURE: President Mills Will not Accept Bribes or Kickbacks; Pianim   
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On December 7, 2009, Mr. Kwame Pianim vouched on a Joy FM Debate Forum (pledging his hand in the fire) that President Mills “will not steal from the people.” To support his assertion, Mr. Pianim added “I have seen him on two occasions give envelopes back and I didn’t see it happen under John the first or John the second.”

Mr. Pianim’s assertion, which received a quick round of applause at the forum, opened the proverbial Flood Gates of Political propaganda and Journalistic commentary. The Ghanaian media, NDC and NPP all dived deep down into the Pianim Jamboree and came up waving only pieces that suited their particular spin. To the ruling NDC, Pianim stated the obvious. Their man, the “Peace King,” is of impeccable character. The fact that Pianim inadvertently cast a long insinuating shadow on the credentials of John the 1st, J. J. Rawlings, NDC founder, first President of the 4th Republic and one man crusader against perceived corruption of Kufour’s government is immaterial to them.

The NPP saw Pianim as a turn coat. His unstated accusations of John the 2nd, their beloved J. A. Kufour, whose government emptily championed the ‘Zero Tolerance of Corruption’ slogan, baffled a sizeable number of Party faithfully and angered a lot more.

The media’s coverage of Pianim pronouncements was nothing but overkill. In their scramble to outdo each other in commentaries, opinion pages and Panel Analysis, they threw objectivity overboard. Some even put words like ‘brown envelope” and “incorruptible” into Pianim’s mouth. It is not surprising that Pianim came back asking “where did you go to school?” Overall the Ghanaian media did a very poor job. None, not even Joy FM’s News File’s forty-minute coverage nailed it.

Truth is Mr. Pianim was asked a simple question he had no answer to. Instead of owing up, he tried to bamboozle Ghanaians with disjointed statements that make no sense whatsoever.

Statement one: “To me if you go to any country where there is corruption, the head of state is corrupt, if he is not corrupt it won’t happen.” Ok Mr. Pianim, answer these questions. Is there currently corruption in Ghana? Is President Mills corrupt? Is he allowing it to happen? Why is corruption ongoing in Ghana when our head of state is not corrupt? Joy FM is a private enterprise. How can President Mills prevent or stop a worker at Joy FM from being corrupt? Before proceeding to the analysis of Pianim’s second statement, the reader should understand that this article IS NOT QUESTIONING PRESIDENT’S MILLS’ CHARACTER OR INTEGRITY. It is not even questioning the veracity of what Pianim claims to have witnessed. It is only looking at the logic of Pianim’s reasoning. Statement two: “Fortunately for Ghana now, we have a president that at least I will put my hand in the fire for, that he will not steal from the people.” Mr. Pianim how do you know this? The two envelopes you saw him return? Sir, you compared Bananas to Yams and arrived at a fallacious conclusion.

To steal is “to take without the owner's consent.” The objective is to leave no witnesses. Returning those envelopes is a different ball game. The senders of the envelopes consented to giving. In order for President Mills to return those envelopes he had to know the senders. And in each case there were at least two witnesses, the SENDER and YOU.

Mr. Pianim, you saw the President twice reject some offers. We don’t know what they were. They could have been bribes or kickbacks. That does not translate into not stealing. Based on your own account, you can only substantiate a claim that: President Mills Will not Accept Bribes or Kickbacks. You, sir, have no information about the President not stealing from Ghanaians.
Source: L. Kojo Yeboah, Raleigh NC, USA

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