The time on my laptop clock is exactly 12am midnight on the 6th of March 2021 as I begin to write this. I had spent sometime thinking whether I should write this or continue with a preview of the Black Satellites match against the Gambia today in Nouakchott, Mauritania. I published a report on the 3rd place play-off between Gambia and Tunisia with the former emerging victors via a penalty shootout. Maybe that would help many release tension considering the week has been a tough one for many especially with the rambo-style ousting of the Auditor General Daniel Yao Domelevo from office. I would talk about it later, so I pray, dear God, help me to stay true to my intention for this piece.
I have decided to focus my mind on doing sports articles to avoid the emotions that come with doing articles covering governance and politics which have been tempting me since the turn of 2020 through till now. I have resisted with so much effort and pain and I know not how much longer I can hold on to that resilience. I know one thing and verily, I am sure of it. That I will exceed my limit of resistance sooner than later so I just pray that when I do, I will do what the calling is for and that even if it meant doing it the Jonah way, may it be done. See Jonah 3: 1 – 4.
Today is exactly 64 years since the greatest and iconic declaration by the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah which ushered the then Gold Coast into independence from the British colonial grips and subsequently transitioning into a fully fledged republic three years after on July 1, 1960. He proclaimed, “At long last, the battle has ended. And thus, Ghana, your beloved country is free forever.”
That message to the ordinary may just have meant we are free from British rule and authority. It may just have meant that we can now decide for ourselves what we want, how and when we want it. But he knew it was not just the liberation from British colonial rule and authority but a liberation of mindset and attitude. This was exampled in his independence speech parts of which had him stating, “But also, as I pointed out, that also entails hard work. That new Africa is ready to fight his own battles and show that after all the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.”
To Nkrumah, it was an independence of mind and attitude that would make Ghana and Africa be able to show to the world that the “Black man” is capable of managing his own affairs. He made this clear when he said, “Seeing you in this, it doesn’t matter how far my eyes go, I can see that you are here in your millions. And my last warning to you is that you are to stand firm behind us so that we can prove to the world that when the African is given a chance, he can show the world that he is somebody.”
The messianic son of the land who many believed and still believe would have made Ghana and perhaps Africa an enviable icon of the Western world had his sins as is every man born of a woman through man. He is saintly with his vision and actions in government. Undeniably, he made a claim for Ghana to be noticed as a torchbearer in Africa and that is one of the strongest reasons he is respected and revered across generations. Though worshiped by millions for his ideas and futuristic actions, he is abhorred by tens and hundreds of thousand for several other reasons. His biggest sin aside the mistake of working to establish a one-party state and endorse himself as president for life, his accusers labeled him as leading a corruption orchestra.
The fact that the National Liberation Council which overthrew Nkrumah based its actions on corruption in Nkrumah’s CPP led government meant that corruption was one issue the early leaders of the nation realized needed to to be tackled if we needed to progress as a nation. They also charged that the Nkrumah government was abusive. It simply meant, people who were seen to not be for the government were against it and thus were targeted. That was the very reason that forced Nkrumah to cause the passage of the Preventive Detention Act in 1958 which led to the incarceration of many of his political opponents. Dr. J. B Danquah, the granduncle of current President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo and Dr.Kofi Abrefa Busia.
The above reasons for overthrowing Nkrumah’s government cannot be over emphasized as in every nation there is the need for freedom of speech and tougher punishment for culprits of corruption. One cannot be fought in the absence of the other and when both are absent it creates a recipe for disaster. This cannot be understated especially in a country perceived to be practicing democracy in the 21st century where freedoms and liberties transcend logic. It is imperative and basic that these be granted regardless of how uncomfortable people in leadership become when these are practiced given that we are in a world where rights and freedoms are largely based on wishes rather than needs.
I had no voting right when I first saw the face of the current president on a campaign poster. I was then in my village and still a primary school pupil. It was his first attempt at the Presidency and his main contender was former President John Evans Fiifi Attah Mills who I have grown to admire not for his appearance or party nor academics but his personality of humility and trustworthiness, his command of sincerity and empathy; his directness and people-centeredness. Aside his passing which still runs through memory with shock as it first did in the evening of July 24, 2013 when I heaped up in our school library along with my school mates watching and listening to the breaking news live on TV. It was difficult to accept and even now I still wake up sometimes wishing that was just a nightmare but unfortunately, No. It isn’t one.
In that election, our current President lost to Prof. Mills. He came again in 2012 and then I had a vote and was part of the decision making committee. I don’t know if my vote was counted or had any influence. Former President John Dramani Mahama who won that election had his victory challenged at the Supreme Court by then candidate Akufo-Addo. My understanding of election issues was lower than today and I was worried what the outcome could cause. My fears were not about who loses and who wins between the NDC and NPP or John Mahama and Akufo-Addo but if things are not controlled and wrong paths are charted, how much would the ordinary suffer. I knew if there was any confusion as a result, the heavy victims would be ordinary citizens not the elite political class so I had every reason to be worried given neither myself or family and friends were among the political elite who assumingly possess all the keys to every door in this country.
Fast forward, we were ready to go to the polls in 2016 and the campaigns were heating up. President Mahama and his NDC were dodged with uncountable corruption allegations. Most of these allegations were trumpheted by the media with journalists such as Mannaseh Azure Awuni, my country man and Anas Aremeyaw Anas doing much of it. My favourite website in 2016 was one owned by Mannaseh Azure Awuni and I visited it multiple times daily. I can confidently say I read almost all the articles or stories published on it from letters to my future wife through to the corruption stories.
I was not the only one who loved his work or the work of anti-corruption campaigners and civil society organizations that were speaking against corrupt practices under the Mahama administration. In 2016 when it was revealed that a Ford Expedition was given to President Mahama by a Burkinabe contractor after he had won a contract from the Ghanaian government, Akufo-Addo joined the numerous waging tongues who were crucifying the NDC administration with Mahama at the forefront of receiving the hefty slaps from public tongues. One of his comments on that case was captured in a story published by Modern Ghana. He outlined his vision to fight corruption as was carried in an interview by The Africa Report.
The office of the Special Prosecutor was a major print block used to convince all of us who were tired of the seemingly sluggish posture of the Mahama administration towards the fight against corruption. That promise of establishing an independent institution to fight corruption coupled with the re-echoing of voices from anti-corruption campaigners who also believed in the ” I am not corrupt” posture of then candidate Akufo-Addo did the massive trick for Akufo-Addo and his NPP. There were high hopes and almost all were relieved. I distrusted Mahama’s method of tackling corruption and the rudeness of some of his appointees. I never bought into the promises of Akufo-Addo “One this, One that” nor “free this, free that” neither did I believe he was not corrupt in any way. I trusted that he had control over any affinity to corruption and thus would be better in fighting it. So when the masses made a choice to give him the mandate, I too was ‘glad’. My preferred candidate didn’t win and will never win an election for the highest office of the land, at least not with Ghanaians still emotionally enslaved by the NDC and NPP. Who was I not to trust him when former President Rawlings who seemingly was at war with his own party for its bad posture towards fighting corruption given they are built on the principles of Probity and Accountability? Even Rawlings believed in the ‘cleanliness’ of then candidate Akufo-Addo.
We had Martin Amidu, IMANI, Mannaseh Azure Awuni, Anas Aremeyaw Anas and many CSOs and religious leaders all putting trust in a particular candidate and you think some of us who saw those people as our inspiration wouldn’t trust that candidate too? Such was the admiration for these people that when I saw Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI at the Swiss Spirit Hotel in December 2019, I almost run to him and say “hey Sir, I have been following your corruption fight. You are doing well for this generation and beyond.” I couldn’t do it due to security reasons and I also realized he was about entering for a meeting which was about five minutes away from start. I controlled myself but I hope one day to meet him. Yes. I would meet him, my country man, Manasseh, Anas and the only man I still trust in Ghana politics Citizen Vigilante Martin A. B. K Amidu. If you are reading this and can assist in me meeting any of these persons, please do. I want to meet them. I want to talk with them. I want to discuss. I want to most especially learn how they handle betrayal such as seen in some instances in this government with regards to the fight against corruption.
The second most deciding factor that led to Akufo-Addo’s victory in 2016 was his perceived friendliness with the media. The Mahama administration was marred with numerous accusations by the media against the government for its bad treatment of the media. Cases can be made for the handling of the Stan Dogbe issue with the GBC journalist, Yahyah Kwamoah which was not properly addressed, the killing of George Abanga. All such cases generated a lot of disaffection for Mahama including the accident of the Presidential Press Corps which led to the death of Samuel Nuamah with many blaming the condition of the vehicle given to the press as the cause as it was suggested the bus was not road worthy.
Aside the numerous corruption allegations against the current government led by Akufo-Addo which has found a full page on Wikipedia dedicated to it, the resignation of the first Special Prosecutor while accusing the president of failure to ensure no political interference in his work as promised him before he accepted the appointment, and the president also being tagged as the corruption clearing agent; there are also several cases of suppressing of press freedom. For instance, Ahmed Suale was murdered after he was revealed to be part of a Tiger Eye Pi investigative team that uncovered rot at the GFA. Alleged death threats of Manasseh Azure Awuni whose work in the Mahama era were seen as Bible truths by actors of the current government while in opposition and now seen by same as evil and thus aiming for his life. And when I came across a list of articles on Ghana Web which are either stories of attacks on journalist or related to attacks on journalist, my jaw dropped at the number. You can check it out here and confirm for yourself those that are true and those that are not true.
WHY THIS LONG TALK?
I definitely should not be pushing this on readers on a day like this but it is necessary to draw attention to the fact that the evil that we despised years ago cannot suddenly turn to good deeds today because we have a different person as head or leader. Nkrumah as I would argue did not deserve to be overthrown because he meant good for Ghana would have been criticized even if he was to be here in this age and with all his good plans superintend over corruption and suppression of free expression.
We need TRUE INDEPENDENCE.
We need total LIBERATION.
We need all corruption related matters treated with the seriousness they deserve. Punish the culprits. Allow the laws to take their natural cause and stop punishing cassava and maize thieves while shielding those who steal from our taxes. Let all who steal this generation and shamelessly steal the next and next generations be punished. You can expand Nsawam Prisons and let them go there. That is where all who kill futures of generations deserve to be. That is where all who suppress free expression deserve to be. We need liberation, not libation of freebies. If there was anytime that we should be serious about putting our country first, it should be NOW.
GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA … HELP US TO RESIST OPPRESSORS RULE WITH ALL OUR WILL AND MIGHT…
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author and does not represent that of either myactiveonline.com, its staff or related parties.
By Clifford Adumbire