John Mahama’s illustrious examples on the fight against corruption legendary – an observation by Comrade Shmuel Ja’Mba Abm

John Mahama

Since the first coup d’etat on February 24, 1966, which toppled the First Republic, corruption has gained relevance and remain the key singular justification for any change in government, either through democratic or undemocratic means in Ghana. Coincidentally and interestingly, no adverse finding nailed President Kwame Nkrumah in any audit report either in court or established otherwise, as levelled by his accusers. As Ghanaians gear towards polls on December7, 2020, the lead issue on focus to canvas for or against a particular candidate, isn’t different from previous examples of premises such as stated above.

Sadly, a good candidate was tagged wrongly in Elections 2016. President John Dramani Mahama suffered wrongly in the hands of a bitter political rivalry and on pillory – on false accusations for regime change for its sake. On a tally of equal terms in office this time round, the incumbent hasn’t established an iota of adversity as used in its campaign against the strong comeback of President John Dramani, highly tipped to win the December polls. To make matters worse, the Akufo-Addo government hasn’t only collapsed all sectors of the economy, but has failed to keep his own words not to borrow and to protect the public purse by making corruption unattractive.

On July 23, 2020, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Attah, put Ghana’s debt stock at GHS255,727.1million Akufo-Addo. He made the statement on the floor of parliament during the delivery of the mid-year budget review. The total sum has since appreciated further, putting Ghana’s financial sector in a debt distress, as referred to Lower Middle Income Coutries, after Ghana subscribed and graduated from a Highly Indebted Poor Country status.

Ghana’s debts reached an all-time high in September this year on the back of increased borrowing to make up for shortfalls in revenues and fund rising expenditures. Data from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) showed that the public debt stock stood at GH¢273.8 billion in September this year, the highest since the bank started releasing data on how much the country owes. The September this year stock was equivalent to 71 per cent of total economic output, measured by gross domestic product (GDP), according to the data released by the central bank ahead of a press conference.

The debt stock was GH¢201.9 billion (59.8% of GDP) in September last year, but rose by 35.6 per cent to GH¢273.8 billion this September. It also showed that GH¢71.9 billion was added to the debt stock within the 12-month period. The data further showed that the share of the debt into external and domestic debt were almost at par, with the foreign component slightly above those procured locally.The foreign component was GH¢138.5 billion, equivalent to 35.9 per cent of GDP while the domestic share was GH¢135.3 billion, representing 35.1 per cent of GDP. Although a norm for countries, the weight of Ghana’s debt relative to its revenues has been worrisome, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group consistently ranking the country as a high risk debt distress country since 2015.

In spite of of the borrowings shown on its books, the Akufo-Addo government has failed to convince the country with a positive indicator by matching its liabilities with revenue, since assuming office. No such tangible investment commensurate with that whooping borrowing been injected into the national economy.

The last of a series of 130 scandals, Agyapa deal, has since rocked the Akufo-Addo government, since January 7, 2017. It led to the voluntary resignation of Martin Amidu, the anticorruption crusader the NPP labelled as Citizen Vigilante. In his own words, he resigned against the backdrop of government interference in his work. He found it an interference, when Akufo-Addo sought for Ken Ofori Attah to insert portions of his own statement into a corruption risk assessment report he has compiled in prelude to investigations to establish and prosecute culprits.

Instead of running schemes and developing special purpose vehicles of the Agyapa Royalties, PDS, etc designs, this is a clear picture of how things looked under President John Dramani Mahama. President John Dramani Mahama’s approach and commitment to the fight against corruption is traceable and rooted in history. In its varied dimensions and forms, he has always demonstrated consistent, resolute and steafast  commitment with intense thought on getting the approach right with greater efficiency and with greater successes to nip corruptionin its bud.

Since he first stepped out into public office and into political limelight, he never wavered in these directions and values. His first public life started as an Assembly Member of his Electoral Area, where he was spotted through his outstanding contributions in his Ditrict Assembly. He demonstrated his grasp of the Obonto (Ubuntu), a culture of winning together. His desire to see change in ingrained culture, typified in illustration by an experiment of monkeys who inherited a behaviour which history they didn’t experience directly.

This outstanding performance pierced the way forward and gave him the needed impetus to contest and win the parliamentary seat to represent constituents of Bole Bamboi to deliver these set values of Obonto. On this bigger platform, he was recognised and elevated with an appointment to become the Minister of Communications. President John Dramani Mahama lived his convictions as Minister of Communications through development and implementation of practical policies to lift people out of poverty and to correct an ingrained culture inherited without questioning, unlike the monkeys, who generation after generation punished any member who tried to fetch the hanging banana.

He never failed to bring these honed latent values held together by his high sense of humility towards public office, when he was appointed in 1998 as the Minister of Communications – a mark of trust and qualities of leadership identified by none other person but HE Flt LtJJRawlings. In his dedicated service to Ghana, honesty guided his pragmatic understanding of governance. That possibly informed his dexterity to harness domestic finite resources in a matrix of ordinate coordination with external opportunities, which summarily recaliberated Ghana’s telecommunications industry on a sound footing to compete effectively today, in the emerging transformation of information technology. His initiative established the National Communications Authority, the backbone of Ghana’s information technology.

Those visionary foundations set the appetite of the country towards e-governance and readied it to apply technology to minise [to a greater extent] leakages in the country’s finances and modernise bookkeeping. Today, if it is possible for Ghana to tout her achievements as the first in the world to develop mobile money interoperability system, or lead the world as the first to operate a global Quick Response Code used to synchronise cashless payments, it is a solid visionary foundation initiated by John Dramani Mahama. Those visionary foundations pried open for answers to the old tradition of observing a mounted military guard of honour for concrete slabs which history no living person remembered.

In such one of his media interactions, President John Dramani Mahama was elaborate with explanations on the thought processes which informed the strategies that went into the plannind development of the much talked about Kotoka International Airport Terminal Three. In his narration, he said his government took a bold decision to allow the management of Ghana Airports Company Limited to retain government’s share of dividend postings of 60%. This was on purpose to reflect on the corporate balance balance sheet of GACL as cash flow to project the corporate image of GACL to borrow against its own revenue. Besides, the measures relieved the taxpayer from corporate irresponsibility, and enhanced the books of Ghana’s debt to GDP management.

Had that retained 60% dividend in government premium shares of GACL been allowed to travel through government bureaucracy, a great chunk of it would have ended up in the pockets of functionaries and all hands along the chain, as has been the established tradition fuelling corruption in Ghana. And the result would have been the decades old narrative of eluded development. As such, a similar model was used to develop Atuabo Gas Processing Plant, Kumasi-Kejetia Market, Tema Harbour MPS T-3 project, etc.

For instance, imagine the eluded development of a good road network connecting Tema Harbour along the Beach Road to the Independence Square, had the Mahama government not initiated negotiations with the investors of the Tema Harbour MPS T-3 to the Motorway Roundabout to provide such a facility? President John Dramani Mahama showed leadership, when he chose for the investors to plough their Social Corporate Responsibility in dividends and taxes to further develop the link road from Tema Harbour to Motorway Roundabout.

Also, numerous other negotiated investments from that single project went into a binding agreement to build a flyover to connect commuters from Flower Pot end on Spintex Road trying to reach the East Legon end across the motorway. The investors were tied to also refurbish the motorway into six lanes each and made motorable from the Roundabout end to Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.

These are the structural transformations required to address in full the imperatives of portfolio diversification of the Guggisburg economy, largely unsustainable today. These are the ingredients of a paradigm shift. They are the first steps towards the practicality to think outside the box. Conclusively, the icing of the cake is in the discovery of a new energy from the return of President John Dramani Mahama to inject regional balance of executive power.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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