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This Nation Is Split Down The Middle
 
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29-May-2013  
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The ongoing electoral petition before the Supreme Court has the potential of streamlining the electoral process, if carefully handled. On the other hand, there is the potential danger that the outcome would lead into a degeneration of this society.

With a security set-up headed by Col. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey (rtd) perceived in opposition circles as more biased towards the incumbent administration than the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, and National Organiser Yaw Boateng Gyan combined, there is the genuine fear that a verdict against the incumbent administration might affect the peace of society, and the very fabric of Ghana as a nation-state.

It is a fact universally acknowledged that this society is split down the middle. The pro-NDC faction, aided by a very biased state security, appears to cling on to the notion that they are the untouchables of this land. Any attempt at reversing the status quo is likely to be met with stiff resistance.

That is where the danger is. Already, the danger signs are out there. In the tunnel-vision of officials of the NDC and the party’s footsoldiers, President John Dramani Mahama does no wrong. All the ills of society, in their view, have been visited on Ghanaians by the Kufuor regime, which ended its innings with that controversial 40,000 margin victory of deceased President John Evans Atta Mills in January 2009.

On the other hand, those who do not believe in the concept of the Umbrella, swear that this administration has so mismanaged the resources of the nation that current state officials do not deserve to be allowed to continue to mismanage national affairs.

There are people out there who cannot wait to see the back of this Administration. At Kaneshie in Accra the other day, I was accosted by a group of young traders on the street, who are on a mission.

They are determined to offer free services as removal men at Jubilee House, if and when the Supreme Court rules that President John Mahama did not win the vote last December. The self-styled leader of the group, answering to the name Kwame for short, said they and many other young men and women in the country could not endure one more day of Mahama beyond the day of the ruling.

To ensure that President Mahama would have speedy exit from the Jubilee House, they have volunteered to carry the personal effects of the Mahama family from Government House.

For me, as a social commentator, I pray that the nine-member law lords would address the naked abuse of incumbency and moneycracy which have combined to undermine this nation’s effort at electing the kind of leadership, which would be well versed in addressing the extreme poverty which threatens to derail the forward march of this society.

Whatever one makes of the outcome of the elections, one cannot gloss over the naked abuse of state resources employed by the incumbent administration, and which has left the state treasury deprived of cash.

Many state institutions are struggling to provide the services for which they were set up. Our doctors are beating war drums again, because the state has not been able to honour allowances obligation due them for nearly one year.

When the Ghana Medical Association called doctors to the various consulting rooms and wards at public health institutions after their one-month strike with disastrous consequences to Ghanaians, the leadership did so on the understanding that the state of Ghana would honour its financial obligations towards them. More than one month after calling off the strike, the allowances are still outstanding.

As you read this piece, heads of specialised schools throughout the country have shut the doors to students, because the state has not been able to provide logistics for them to function. As the Head of State surmised recently, our financial resources are down to the bare bones. In some cases, even the marrow has been fleeced from the bone.

It is an incontestable fact that the economy is bleeding. It is a fact universally acknowledged that this administration has not been very prudent with dispensing state resources. In 2012, the Government of sit-in President John Dramani Mahama overshot the state budget by a whopping GH¢8.7 million. In dollar terms, it is about $5 billion dollars. We are told that the Presidency overspent by as much as GH¢600 (about $300m).

In a typical Machiavellian style of administration, no one has told Ghanaians how the state came to overshoot its budget by that much. Instead, the President went to Parliament House and complained that as much as 60 percent of state cash was employed paying state officials.

The economy aside, the behaviour of the various arms of the state seem to give the impression that in this country, there is one law for those seeking protection under the umbrella, and another for the rest of society.

Yesterday, a number of newspapers announced the arrest of Mr. Michael Omari Wadie, identified as a staunch member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He was said to have been picked up at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, after arriving from the United Kingdom. We are told that the arrest is in connection with what is obviously a doctored picture of the Head of State in a compromising position with a woman, which did some rounds in the social media recently.

At the time of writing, there had been no information on any charges preferred against the man in the cooler. As a journalist, I deplore the tendency to portray political opponents in a bad light.
The law, from my point of view, has to take its natural course.

It is not the very best of practice that people should deliberately circulate false information about their political opponents, in order to discredit them. What I am not sure about is whether it is the Bureau of National Investigations, and not the police, who should deal with any breaches on this issue.

What is equally disturbing is the blatant discrimination being applied by state security in dealing with the matter. For all the period that the NDC has been in power since 2009, there has been an orchestrated attempt to undermine the credibility of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, using doctored pictures of him in various compromising positions with women.

There have been instances when officials of the NDC have gone public to defend the activities of the perpetrators of this crime. Somehow, state security, led by Col. Larry Bevlo-Lartey (rtd), certainly the most biased person to lead national security in the country in recent times, borrowed a leaf from the three wise monkeys – see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.

It is beginning to look like in this country, if you are inclined towards the NDC, you do no wrong. But the slightest infraction of someone leaning towards the opposition NPP, especially, is magnified into the high heavens and dealt with severely.

In many cases, sledge hammers are deployed in crushing the fly, if that insect happens to wear the blue, white, and red colours, with the effigy of the elephant superimposed in the middle.

It has got to such a ridiculous extent that some state officials are even beginning to dismiss worried trends from the party’s stronghold in the Ashanti Region.

About two weeks ago, when many Ghanaians were worried stiff about the killings of up to seven persons in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Mark Woyongo, bruised the sore of many residents in the Ashanti Region by stating that many Ghanaians, certainly more than the seven complained of in the Ashanti Region, had died in other regions.

In effect, the killings in Ashanti were not worth national discussions.

For the uninitiated, Mr. Woyongo’s approval as Upper East Regional Minister was delayed in 2009, following opposition apprehension about his leadership qualities, following the controversy that surrounded him when he was the the Press Attaché in the United Kingdom. It followed the smuggling of radio FM equipment into an outside broadcasting van bought by the state for the state broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

The news is that Mr. Woyongo now owns Diamond Radio, in Tamale, from where pro-NDC propaganda was spewed out in the run up to both the 2008 and 2012 elections.

This state is split down the middle. That is why the National Peace Council is advised to begin the process of preparing the nation for the after-effects of the Supreme Court presidential petition. I shall return!
 
 
 
Source: Ebo Quansah/The Chronicle
 
 

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