“Accountability” Is The Term, Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah

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The Minister of Youth and Sports’ long, angry tirade decrying his being allegedly named as one of the twenty richest Ghanaians for 2013 is not the most constructive approach to refuting such claim. And neither are most Ghanaians nor yours truly interested in whether, indeed, there exists any wealth monitor anywhere in the world by the name of Forbes-Ghana (See “Forbes-Ghana List Laughable, Mischievous – Afriyie-Ankrah” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 12/31/13). And neither is such rumor apt to evaporate into thin air anytime soon.

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What is clearly required of Mr. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah and his colleague key players of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is an immediate and transparent declaration of their assets. And the same advice, of course, goes for the movers and shakers of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), as well as for all the executive operatives of all the legitimately registered political parties in the country. Needless to say, it was in the name of “probity and accountability,” by the way, that the then-Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings launched his two bloody so-called revolutions in 1979 and 1981.

 

And so it ought to boggle the imagination of any well-meaning and responsible and patriotic Ghanaian citizen that the key operatives of Mr. Rawlings’ National Democratic Congress have yet to fully and publicly declare their assets, more than a year after assuming their cabinet portfolios and other key administrative positions. Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah claims to have filed his assets with the Attorney-General’s department, or whichever branch of government is responsible for assets declaration, and that any citizen who wishes to examine the same may go through the proper laid-down procedures to do so.

 

Now, this is where matters get tricky, being that to-date Ghana does not officially have a freedom-of-information law on the books, as it were. In effect, the likelihood of any citizen being readily afforded access to the record of the assets of any of our leaders is virtually next to zip. It is also significant to note that while he so cavalierly presumes to speak on behalf of his colleagues – particularly President John Dramani Mahama and his siblings – even though the Youth and Sports Minister categorically admits of not being the banker, or bean-counter, to any of these gentlemen, nevertheless, Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah vehemently insists that the asset values attributed to the Mahamas are patently preposterous and outrageous.

 

Now, this is rather strange, coming from a University of Ghana graduate. But the far more significant observation to make here is that Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah is, quite curiously, also not vouching for whether, indeed, the Mahamas, in particular “Little Dramani” (my profuse apologies) has officially filed his assets with the pertinent public institution, and also whether such record would be readily made available to any interested Ghanaian citizen who “appropriately” requests the same.

 

In essence, my categorical contention here is that the personalities allegedly named on the Forbes-Ghana list of the wealthiest Ghanaians are politicians whose incomes and salaries are paid from our national coffers. As such, these are public officials whose assets ought to have been revealed and promptly published for public consumption and scrutiny about the same time that they appeared before the Parliamentary Vetting Committee for hiring approval.

 

He may not, indeed, be worth the $112 million that allegedly caused him to be ranked at number 13 on the Forbes-Ghana list of the wealthiest Ghanaians. Still, it is quite clear that the 2012 Mahama Presidential Campaign (as well as the Akufo-Addo Presidential Campaign, and all the others, of course) needs to publish the total amount of money spent as well as the sources of its funding. We are all of us, Ghanaians, fully aware of the indisputable fact that the President’s campaign finances cut deep into the capacity of our national budget. And many quite savvy political commentators and analysts have already noted the striking correlation between the remarkable dip in the liquidity of our national till and the campaign season. We also know, for a fact, who had direct access to the taxpayer’s money going into the 2012 general election.

 

Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah also seems to be especially worried about the fact that the “intimate relationships,” whatever this phrase may mean or imply, that he has established with his party’s footsoldiers, among others, are being dangerously threatened because he may well, implicitly, be blackmailed. Well,whatever skeletons it is that he may be harboring in his own private closet, as it were, is his own damn frigging business, if the dear reader were to ask me about the same.

 

What fascinates me here, though, is why Ms. Akua Sena Dansua, the former Youth and Sports Minister, kicked and screamed her lungs out when the now-late President John Evans Atta-Mills decided to move her to the Trade and Tourism (or some such) Ministry. Back then, as I vividly recall, Ms. Dansua vehemently protested her transfer as a “punishment.” Is the Youth and Sports Ministry a veritable gravy train, thus Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah’s rather smug description of himself as a practical Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) who, although not nearly quite as wealthy as the Forbes-Ghana list makes him out to be, nevertheless, is comfortably moneyed enough to gladly share the same with legions of Ghanaians scattered across all ten regions of the land?

 

Come on, Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah, give us a break! Come clean and stop bitching vacuously about near-truths.

 

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*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

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