Ekosi-Sen is a popular afternoon current affairs programme aired on Asempa 94.7FM in Accra. The programme which is simulcast on several media networks in and outside the country, is often hosted by Kwadwo Asare Baffuor Acheampong a.k.a. K.A.B.A. .
On Tuesday July 18th, the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo held a media encounter at the Presidency, to account for his stewardship over the last six months and explain policies and programmes his government is undertaking to materialize promises contained in the NPP 2016 manifesto.
Some of the questions asked by media personnel present bordered on the disposal of some contaminated fuel at B.O.S.T. and the possible involvement of its C.E.O. in corruption; Free SHS and its implementation process; establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor; and acts of violence being perpetuated by some youth and militant groups of the Party, among others.
However, two significant issues during the programme, caught my attention. The first one was the President’s recognition of the importance of free media pluralism.
While admitting that he has been probably the worst victim of free media, President Akufo-Addo maintained his preference for such a media landscape rather than a monotonous media platform which will not afford the people the opportunity to freely and easily express, their opinions on various subjects.
The other issue that caught my attention was the question posed by the Host of Ekosi-Sen’s regular Host, K.A.B.A., which bordered on President Akufo-Addo’s perceived demeanor since becoming President.
The Radio host wanted to find out whether President Akufo-Addo’s ascendancy to the presidency had “calmed” him, considering that he had always been in the past, projected as a no-nonsense; quick action, corruption-intolerant and a quick-to-prosecute person? K.A.B.A. wanted to know why the President seemed rather slow in dealing with issues in relation to accusations of violation of the law, by his appointees, members of his Party and the opposition NDC?
In his response to K.A.B.A.’s question, President Akufo-Addo stated that the Presidency had not changed him at all. He explained that he has always been a firm person who believes in the inalienable rights of all people under the law, one who will not back down on what he believes in to be right and will not allow himself to be cheated, one who will work hard to materialise his beliefs, and most importantly as President, one who will not rush to prosecute or incarcerate people simply because accusations have been leveled against them, and a section of the people are calling for their “persecution”.
President Akufo-Addo further stated that while he would not allow corruption to go unpunished under his watch, he would ensure that cases when sent to court would have been investigated thoroughly and would be able to withstand the scrutiny of the courts.
This is where I commend K.A.B.A for asking this wisdom-laden question. It is not often that the media gets to meet the President for such an encounter and so when they do it is expected that a brief, personal and intrusive question which has linkages to most of the President’s actions are asked, and that is exactly what K.A.B.A’s question did.
For one, President Akufo-Addo’s response to K.A.B.A.’s question explains why till date no member of the Mahama-led NDC government has been hauled to court.
While in opposition, the NPP accused the Mahama-led government of various acts of corruption but so far no one is being sent to court (probably except Woyome) and no one has been incarcerated. This is obviously contrary to the projected image of President Akufo-Addo by his political opponents as a vindictive person hungry to suppress those who disagree with him.
Rather than arbitrarily exercising his political powers and having arrested, political opponents accused of acts of corruption, President Akufo-Addo has promised to ensure that cases taken to court are done not to injure the reputation of an individual or group of people. He has called for patience on the part of those crying for blood that the legal process may take its course, and no rights trampled upon.
This position of President Akufo-Addo is in sharp contrast with the position taken by the NDC under the leadership of “Asomdwehene”, the Late President Atta Mills.
Speaking at a TEIN programme in June, 2009, then Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Ebo Barton-Oduro promised that all NPP public Officials and Ministers sent to court to be prosecuted under their government would have at least 80% chance of being convicted.
To give credence to their many perceived and cooked-up accusations of corruption against members of the Kufuor administration, the Atta-Mills government rushed into prosecution mode, arresting and detaining many appointees of the Kufour Administration. Yet despite their 80% promise of conviction, they failed to even convict a tadpole of the Kufour government.
Out of anger, then National Chairman of the NDC, Dr. Kwabena Adjei, held a press conference, converted members of the Judiciary into cats and declared war on their lives.
We have not witnessed this under the Akufo-Addo government. The law must take its due course.
K.A.B.A’s question to President Akufo-Addo and the President’s subsequent response also shed some light on his position on the disposal of contaminated Fuel at B.O.S.T.
President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that while the process by which the contaminated fuel had been disposed of, may not have been the best, it needed to be recognised that over the years, it had been the accepted way of disposing of the product at B.O.S.T., probably, giving way to some people to exploit it for their greed. He indicated that the Committee set up by the Minister of Energy to investigate the BOST deal would among its findings and recommendations, come up with the best procedure to dispose of such products, and have the procedure codified as the accepted form of disposing of contaminated fuel.
President Akufo-Addo by this, showed that he was not going to take Knee-jerk actions against individuals and bodies just because they had been accused of acts of corruption and big amounts of monies were being mentioned. Rather, that intrusive question by K.A.B.A. affords us to understand President Akufo-Addo as a patient competent and listening president, who will critically examine all sides of an issue and act prudently to strengthen state institutions rather than satisfy the blood-curling calls for instant and arbitrary justice at the expense of up-holding human right.
After all, as the Old and Wise say, we do what is important before we do what is nice and pleasing to others.
When no less a person than the President of the Republic of an African Country like Ghana gets to meet the media, which does not happen often in a year, asking questions that can be answered by any of his lieutenants any day of the day and twice on Sunday, is definitely not the way to go.
Ekosi-Sen’s K.A.B.A.’s question was meant for the President alone. No one could have answered it better than the President himself. He could not have passed it over to any of his lieutenants to answer, but in his answer, President Akufo-Addo shed extensive light on his persona, his intentions for Ghana and how he intends executing his mandate, while jealously protecting the rights of the citizenry.
This is the wisdom behind K.A.B.A’s question.
BY YAW MARFO