Over tea in London sometime last year, an esteemed and a well-travelled friend of Nigerian extraction, Ufuoma, said that Ghanaians were inclusive of the most hypocritical people, she has encountered by far. Naturally, this disappointing and insulting opinion held by a foreigner, did not augur well with me. I considered her opinion to be abrupt, excessively critical, and terribly misplaced. I even, tried to pass the blame of her disapproval of my compatriots on the vintage-rivalry that has existed between her country and Ghana. All my attempts to amend Ufuoma?s views, proved futile and I have always maintained my rejection of her opinion until recently.
This week, rather sadly, a junior minister of state, Ms Victoria Hammah, who had great prospects in politics, due to her sizeable fundaments and her ability to use this asset to gain entry where-ever, has implicated herself in a debacle which carries huge currency, if not well-handled, to attract infinite harm to the image of the ruling government. Vicky is no stranger to negative-press but her current predicament has terminated her employment agreement. One of the many claims on the leaked-tape was that, her sole aim whilst occupying public office is to amass, at least, a million American dollars and develop her influence before she would consider exiting politics. This ambition is, in my opinion, selfish, unpatriotic and a clear case of abuse of public office but it is not unusual for a politician in a developing nation to hold such ambitions.
Ms Hammah is to many, especially men, a voluptuous young lady who has more ambition than patience, more fundaments than necessary and more influence than common sense. At the time of her posting to the Communications Ministry, many pundits were unenthused with her competence and pedigree. Let me be a contrarian here, I have always admired Victoria, not for the reasons many men did but for her boldness, her articulated nature and her smartness. She is a levelheaded person and as unintelligent as she claims to be on the tape, she managed to get herself in her former office until this debacle found her. All of the aforementioned signify her cleverness.
I accord respect to people who succeed through bohemian means as long as this is still within the confines of legitimacy. Also, Victoria?s claim of wanting to attain riches by using the prestige and influence of her office, is no different to that of her contemporaries in comparable or higher offices of state in Ghana. No mandarin lives on a single salary alone in our part of the world. Serving as a public official is a privilege and holders of such offices are treated with deference by the very people who elect them to govern. They are expected to be problem-solvers, i.e. men/women of means who can doll out cash when need be to loved ones and even constituents. Politicians are pressured socially into grafting, in my opinion. Many take offices with patriotic intentions only to be corrupted by the sudden inundation of expectations by friends and family.
I am very much taken aback by the serious schadenfreude shown to Ms Hammah. It is as though, the public have always wanted to see her back. If we are to just rewind our memories to some of the recent happenings; Woyome swindle, GYEEDA looting , Akomfem project, and many many more smokescreen projects which were solely designed by their architects to flimflam the Ghanaian public purse. So far, how many successful prosecutions have we witnessed in relation to the aforementioned misappropriations?
Not more than NIL I can comfortably say, so why this furore about Victoria?s dismissal which technically is just only a plan and not a committed act. Vicky has only brought disrepute to her former office and herself but not financial embarrassment to Ghana.
The real bandits are permitted to saunter the streets of Accra undisturbed whilst the little one?s are made to patsy. I do not support what Victoria said, I think it was wrong of her and it is understandable that she cannot return to her job however, my Nigerian friend?s point of Ghanaian hypocrisy seem very befitting in this scenario. Rather than prosecuting real thieves who have stolen public monies, here we are scape-goating an over-ambitious young lady who is only just dreaming of stealing.
To me, sacking Ms Hammah is not a solution but a convenient option for the Presidency to appear responsive to problems. There are graduated Victoria Hammah?s in and around government today and they need to be shown the exit. Lets not be hypocritical about this matter.
Written by Jude Baffoe