The Wikileaks revelation continues to expose ‘okro mouth’ public officials who, for political expediency, ‘hand over’ vital information of the country to foreign diplomats.
Some of the people mentioned have come out strongly to deny the reports attributed to them by the United States diplomats, raising questions about the credibility of such reports as contained in the Wikileaks disclosure.
However, others have come under serious condemnation, with calls for some government appointees to resign because of what has been described as reckless comments.
The diplomatic cable which has been released from the archives tackles all political parties and developments in the country, from the years 1997 to 2010, exposing especially, issues affecting personalities of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
So far, names like Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry; Baba Jamal, a deputy Minister of Information; and Fiifi Kwetey, a deputy Minister of Finance, have popped up as having made statements to diplomats.
The rest are Akrasi Sarpong, the Executive Secretary of Narcotics Control Board; Ben Ephson, a self-acclaimed pollster and Editor of Daily Dispatch; as well as Kwesi Pratt, Managing Editor of Insight.
As then Head of Communications of the NDC’s Transition Team, Ms. Tetteh, now Minister of Trade and Industry, in a meeting with current United States Ambassador Donald G.
Teitelbaum, is reported on January 13, 2009 to have described in detail how the NDC, under President Mills, planned to collapse two Nkrumaist parties, the CPP and PNC, and merge them into the NDC, thereby turning Ghanaian politics into a two-party system.
“Tetteh confirmed that the NDC had paid dearly to obtain the votes of the two PNC members in Parliament (reftel), saying that in addition to accommodating the party with district, commission, and ambassadorial positions, both MPs would be receiving Deputy Ministerial jobs in return for their agreement to sit with the NDC to constitute a legislative majority.”
She had said, “Enforcing party discipline on critical votes would still be a key objective, since the margin was so thin. She also noted that the party was courting Alhaji Saani Iddi, the independent MP from Wulensi in the Northern Region, but that so far his demands (for both position and money) were unreasonable, and he would have to come back down to earth.”
She told the Ambassador that the NDC would no more stand on a Rawlings ideology but instead adopt an Nkrumaist philosophy which is in contravention of Article 6 of the NDC Constitution which says unequivocally that the party was established on the vision and leadership of President Rawlings.
The Minister was again quoted in one of the leaked cables as having told a US Embassy official that the choice of Justice Joyce Bamford Addo as Speaker of Parliament was purely because, among other things, “she is seen as someone who would take orders and be malleable to party discipline.”Ms Tetteh, who once served as a Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya, said of the Speaker in the leaked cables: “…First of all, she is a woman, and the NDC has a long way to go on gender balance in high office.
“Secondly, and most importantly, it was clear that the NPP could find no grounds to object to her. Lastly, she was seen as someone who would take orders and be malleable to party discipline. She said that for important votes, the party would remove (Bamford) Addo and put the First Deputy Speaker Edward (Doe) Adjaho into her place as a stronger enforcer.”
However, these comments have sparked a serious row in NDC circles, with calls on the minister to resign or apologise to the Speaker and Parliament for bringing the house into disrepute.
Baba Jamal, then NDC Deputy General Secretary, thumping his chest, dared to visit the ‘Mills health taboo’ when he told Scott Ticknor, a Political Chief at the US Embassy that then candidate JEA Mills had throat cancer.
“In Ghanaian culture, a politician cannot admit to illness, so we should not expect Mills to be forthcoming on this,” Jamal said. “However, Mills is actively campaigning and should have no trouble running the course of the campaign, Jamal said, while admitting that Mills’s voice sometimes gets hoarse on election tours.”
Fiifi Kwetey was also a loose-talker who, according to Wikileaks, stated in no uncertain terms that a Muslim can never become the president of the Republic of Ghana.
Then NDC National Propaganda Secretary, when asked about the chances of victory of Vice President Aliu Mahama in the 2007 NPP presidential congress, Mr. Kwetey refused to comment on the strengths of the then vice president, but rather chose to focus on his religion as a Muslim.
“Concerning Vice President [Aliu] Mahama’s Muslim faith, religion is an important factor in Ghanaian politics and many Christian Ghanaians would never vote for a Muslim presidential candidate.”
He went on to say that whilst others would not openly say so, he was bold enough to state that a Muslim can never be President. “While most Ghanaians would not admit this openly, a Muslim could not be elected President of Ghana.”Fiifi Kwettey has since declined to speak on the issue but rather, one of his boys was saying on Citi Fm yesterday that his comment was that NPP could not elect a Muslim and Northerner as its leader, even when Mr Kwettey’s comment was very clear.
According to Wikileaks, Akrasi Sarpong, for his part, doubted President Mills’ commitment to fighting the menace of narcotic drugs, saying, “While President Mills has struck the right rhetorical tone regarding his commitment to combating narcotics, he has so far failed to provide adequate resources to NACOB.”
He said the staff of NACOB could be compromised because of low motivation.
“He underlined that the force is understaffed, underfunded, and under-resourced…Sarpong implied that police are open to corruption because of their personal financial situation,” the leak quoted.
Kwesi Pratt Jnr
Another ‘okro-mouth,’ Kwesi Pratt Jnr., according to Wikileaks, told US Embassy officials that NPP flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, smoked marijuana aka wee.
However, Mr. Pratt, while denying meeting US officials at the US Embassy in Accra, recalled an interaction he had with the said US official over a myriad of election issues; little did he know that the official was going to leak the information to the State Department.
He said he does not recall talking to the US official about Nana Akufo-Addo smoking wee.
Dr. Kwesi Aning
Dr. Kwesi Aning, head of Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, is quoted by Wikileaks as having claimed that Nana Akufo-Addo had used drugs in his younger days, but that it was now “under control.”
He added cryptically that “you can check with German intelligence on that,” but did not indicate whether he was a childhood friend of the NPP flag-bearer.
Another person who has surprised many observers is Ben Ephson who is quoted by Wikileaks as saying that the NPP had tried to bribe him with at least $20,000 to produce a poll favorable to them in 2008 and named the party official offering the money as Gabby Otchere-Darko.
He also said, although without presenting the evidence he claimed to have, that the NPP tried to get the names of polling agents for other parties.
Ben Ephson said the NPP wanted to use this information to bribe agents, and was willing to pay $1,000 for polling agents to collaborate with vote rigging.
Asked by the US Embassy’s Political Affairs Officer (POLOFF) where the money was coming from, Ephson said it was coming out of government’s coffers, primarily from kickbacks on government-awarded contracts.
Gabby Otchere-Darko has since described the allegations as false.
He revealed that it was Ben Ephson who rather informed him of an opinion poll he had conducted on the upcoming poll, and needed financial support to complete it.
Gabby asked if Ben Ephson was then paid for declaring the polls for Nana Akufo-Addo in the second round.
Source: William Yaw Owusu/D-Guide
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