On May 13, this year, John Mahama promised to provide GH¢40 to each of the over 300,000 delegates to support their travel to the voting centres to vote in the primaries. That is GH¢12,000,000!
To protests by the likes of me that our democracy must not allow this kind of obtuse prodigality by one person, I can hear the rebuff in Twi: “Wonni sika a wose eduro nnye”.
But, do we need this kind of ‘eduro’ in our poverty democracy? Shouldn’t we place limits on election spending? It is obscene, considering that the real big money time is in 2024.
As a cure, should we not amend our Constitution to place a ceiling on election spending to ensure that democracy is not for the highest bidder?
Syllogistically reasoning (where A is equal to B and B is equal to C), what is the difference between the vote buying which the National Democratic Congress (NDC) spokespersons were so vocal against at last Tuesday’s Kumawu by-election, and Mahama’s GH¢40 offer which, take note, was known to the delegates ahead of voting?
Remember the case of the chain smoker who was arrested by the British police and taken into custody as a suspect in a criminal case? Unable to control himself and actually going to pieces because he had not smoked in over one hour, the police offered him a cigarette.
Having calmed his nerves and satisfied his appetite, he then proceeded to write his caution statement.
Later in court, the man’s lawyer argued that the caution statement was forced, induced by a bribe of one piece of cigarette. The judge found the argument credible and freed the suspect, arguing that a chain smoker would do anything when offered a cigarette.
Now to New Patriotic Party (NPP).
I do not know about you, but having witnessed Akufo-Addo’s now legendary unbending will, I am not one of those waiting for news of Ken Ofori-Atta’s sacking.
To be sure, he is not the longest serving Finance Minister in Ghana. Professor Kwesi Botchwey sat at that desk for 13 years – from 1982 to 1995, and became famous for IMF-invented programmes, including the Poverty Alleviation Programme, Economic Reform Programme, Structural Adjustment Programme, Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility…
We adjusted so tight that in mercy, IMF gave us a Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Costs of Adjustment (PAMSCAD).
Rawlings had plans to use his trip to America to dismiss Kwesi Botchwey but someone stepped on the Minister’s foot. His resignation shocked Rawlings.
Contrast what happens under a democracy. On October 10, 2022, the Prime Minister of UK, Liz Truss, fired her Finance Minister, Kweku Kwarteng, after less than six weeks into the job.
Same day, Kweku (a Ghanaian), knowing that neither he nor any Briton was the only one ordained by God to save Britain, wrote to the PM: “You have asked me to stand aside as your Chancellor. I have accepted”.
Read the Prime Minister’s reply: “I deeply respect the decision you have taken today. You have put the national interest first”. Admirable, isn’t it? Civil.
In Ghana, rumour was that Akufo-Addo, reacting to smouldering agitations within his own party to have the Finance Minister fired, called a meeting of the party top brass.
He referred the NPP dissidents to Ken Ofori-Atta’s “extraordinary act of grace”, financing the party’s two previous election bids from his Databank resources.
Upset, the 80 MPs finally rebelled by issuing that famous ultimatum. The President later pleaded for time to allow Ken to complete negotiations with the IMF. The negotiations over, the NPP MPs have regrouped to remind the President of his promise.
Question: Will everyone else, once again, be wrong again and Ken Ofori-Atta right?
In the UK, did Liz Truss hate Kwarteng? Answer is no, but she loved Britain more. One UK tabloid reported that the two were seen chatting over coffee in Parliament days later. Was Kweku Kwarteng an incompetent economist? No; the peculiar brokenness of the British economy rendered his rescue plan unworkable.
Is Ken Ofori-Atta incompetent generally? No. Remember his track record at Databank. He was twice (or is it thrice) voted Ghana’s Most Respected CEO.
Be that as it may, the peculiar brokenness of the Ghanaian economy has rendered his rescue plan unworkable.
Ken did have a rescue plan, on the strength of which he said Ghana would not go to IMF. But the President rejected that plan.
So Ghanaians are demanding: how do you retain a Minister to oversee a plan he does not believe in? Why must our President persist to the point where Ghanaians are now concluding that it is because Ken is family!
Meanwhile, Ghana is sinking.