Even as he is being accused of blowing the lid off the Boakye Agyarko bribery scandal, self-acclaimed financier of the governing New Patriotic Party, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, is also pointing accusing fingers at some kingpins of the party for plotting the scandal because they missed out on the Energy Minister post.
Known for his no hold bar effusions, the Assin Central MP revealed that some NPP big shots whose eyes was on the Energy Minister portfolio engineered the bribery allegation to get Mr Agyarko fired by President Akufo-Addo so their favorite could be appointed.
Speaking on Adom Tv’s Badwam program last week, the acerbic tongue legislator also alleged some members of the minority NDC who despise Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, and wants his leadership marred, conspired with some NPP members to make up the allegation.
In a gasping attempt to ward off claims by his co-panelist, Alhaji Bature Iddrisu, that he was neck-deep in the bribery allegation plot, Hon Agyapong vowed that attempts to smear Mr Agyarko will not see the light of day.
He rebuffed Alhaji Bature’s daring claim that he (Hon. Agyapong) “knows something about the bribery”, insisting; “My name seems to pop up in every issue in this country; I don’t understand why people want to drag my name into this bribery brouhaha. I am not a member of the Appointments Committee, what interest do I have in this to give out bribe. Anyone with information claiming that I have offered bribe inside my Rolls Royce car should come out with that information. If Okudzeto, Ayariga and Suhuyini have evidence to that effect, they should come out, they should name and shame. The problem I have with the media is you always rely on social media for information, you will always get it wrong if you go that way.”
Hon Agyapong’s revelation was in response to publication by The aL-hAJJ that the bribery scandal was engineered by NPP bigwigs who were lobbying for their favorite to be appointed Minister of Energy but had their hopes dashed following the nomination of Mr Agyarko.
The paper reported that the NPP members against Mr Agyarko’s nomination and subsequent appointment decided to kick the Energy Minister out of office by blowing the lid on the alleged bribe money to members of the minority MPs on the Appointment Committee of Parliament.
This was later confirmed by NDC MP for North Tongu and member of the committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who, together with his colleague Minority MP for Tamale North, Alhaji Alhassan Suhuyini, corroborated Hon Ayariga’s bribery allegation.
“I can tell you on authority that there were some NPP MPs who helped us blow the alarm, and gave us the hint about where the money is coming from,” the former deputy Minister of Education in the Mahama administration noted.
The Energy Minister was alleged to have bribed minority MPs on the committee with GHC3000 each. The supposed bribe was said to have been channeled through Chairman of the Committee, Joe Osei-Wusu, and Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka.
However, Mr Agyarko, Hon. Joe Osei-Wusu and Hon. Muntaka Mubarak have all denied the allegation. This has led to the Speaker of Parliament forming a five member committee to investigate the matter following a petition by Hon Ayariga and his two colleagues. The committee is expected to begin sittings tomorrow.
But some Ghanaians, including Kennedy Agyapong, have criticized Parliament’s decision to investigate itself. Those who hold this view argue that the Speaker should have referred the matter to an independent body outside parliament.
“This time around an independent body should investigate Parliament; we shouldn’t leave this matter with the Speaker to settle. Once Parliament is investigating itself, we might not get the full brief; an independent body like CHRAJ must come in and do the investigations. We’ve had enough allegations of bribery about Parliament, let’s have another body go into the matter and bring finality to the issue,” Hon Kennedy Agyapong argued.
He added: “The Chairman of the Investigative Committee, Hon. Joe Ghartey himself is a ministerial nominee who will also later appear before the same Appointment Committee which has been accused of bribery to be vetted so I have a problem with his choice.”
In the midst of the criticisms, others have also called for live telecast of proceedings of the committee. One such person is Director of Communications of NPP, Nana Akomea, who said “The issue involves parliament itself and senior members of parliament. Parliament itself is investigating the matter and so the public interest will be served if the proceedings are done in public – that is, televised.
“I will wish that parliament itself will insist [on that] because of the problem of conflict of interest. It is not an external body that is investigating parliament; it is an internal parliamentary body investigating the conduct of Members of Parliament. So, to improve credibility and the public accountability, they should have these proceedings televised.”
In response to these concerns, the committee, Daily Graphic reported, has decided to open up the enquiry to the public.
Meanwhile, acting General Secretary of the NPP, John Boadu, has said that President Akufo-Addo will not hesitate to sack Mr Agyarko if it turns out that he indeed attempted to bribe the minority MPs. “If there is evidence to prove the allegation against Mr Agyarko, Nana Addo will not hesitate to sack him, he is capable of doing that. Mahama
Of 2020 Polls
-Says “Leave when the applause is loudest”
Ghana’s immediate past President, John Dramani Mahama, has yet given the strongest indication he may not be a candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress for the next presidential polls.
Since his recent advice to members of the NDC to stop arguing over whether he will make a comeback and rather, focus on reorganizing the party; it seem its now obvious, the ex-president may have reasoned with his immediate family and the advice of his late father, Mr Emmanuel Adamah Mahama, to quit “when the applause is loudest”
Short of confirming he firmed up on decision not to make a comeback in 2020, Mr Mahama last week in faraway Kenya told a Nairobi audience, his decision was reinforced when he attended the inauguration of his successor, President Akufo-Addo, on January 7 this year. “Last month, I attended the inauguration of president Akufo-Addo. When I exited my vehicle and my arrival was publicly announced at the Black Star Square, there was a loud round of applause… again; I thought of my father and those words – ‘leave when the applause is loudest’.
The Ghanaian ex-president made this profound revelation when he delivered a lecture on democracy and rule of law in Africa in Kenya as guest speaker of the “Mindspeak” series.
An astute political pundit who wants to remain anonymous, interpreting Mr. Mahama’s reference to his father’s allegory; “leave when the applause is loudest”, told this paper that, the ex-Ghanaian leader was signaling his disinterest in leading the NDC into the next presidential election. He added that, “I wouldn’t be surprise to hear former President Mahama formally announce his retirement from active politics any time soon”.
Mr Mahama narrated how he has drawn useful lessons from his father’s “leave when the applause is loudest” advice which, he said, was contained in a letter his late father, Mr E.A Mahama, who was also a former Commissioner in the Nkrumah regime, wrote to then Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong to pat him on the shoulder for some radical decisions he took during his reign as Head of State.
“Despite the fact that Col. Acheampong had come to power by way of coup d’état, my father was hopeful that unlike a typical coup maker, he might have Ghana’s interest at heart instead of his own. In fact my father was so hopeful that he sat down and wrote Col Acheampong a letter, telling him exactly that. In that letter, my father also decided to dispense a little bit of political wisdom. He advised Col Acheampong to remember to leave when the applause is loudest,” Mr Mahama narrated.
General I.K Acheampong was later disgraced when he was deposed in a palace coup, stripped of his military title, and eventually; executed following the coup by the Armed Forces Revolutionary council led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.
After failing to secure a second term bid in last year’s election despite posting positive and unmatched infrastructural projects, there have been calls on Mr Mahama to make a comeback in 2020. National Organizer of the NDC, Kofi Adams; MP for Odododiodoo, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuije and others have all vowed to prevail on him to contest the 2020 elections.
But the Mahama family has been reported to have advised the ex-president not to make a comeback in 2020. A younger brother of the ex-president and CEO of Engineers and Planners, Mr Ibrahim Mahama told The aL-hAJJ “John has given his all in politics to NDC and Ghana and we think it is just fair that we allow him to rest. We were very supportive and instrumental in convincing him to partner late Prof Mills, and when the time came for him to contest for President; we supported him and advised him to go for it…now we have again advised him not to make a comeback in 2020”.
The former president himself until recently has remained tightlipped on his future political life except to implore National Executives of the party, NDC MPs and the rank and file of the party to channel their energies into restructuring the party instead of discussing whether he will make a comeback in 2020.
With discussions on whether he will lead the NDC into the 2020 elections still raging in the media and party meetings, Mr John Mahama said the advice his late father gave Col Acheampong to “leave when the applause is loudest” and “the subsequent lesson that taught me about democracy was especially relevant now. And I wish to explain why… Last December, elections were held in Ghana. I had served for four years as president. I was seeking reelection…during the course of the campaign that led up to the election; there was one question that I was asked a number of times that bristled me. And the question was- If you do not win, would you concede. Obviously, each time my answer was yes. But I was always perplexed because what other answer was there to give?”
The former President shared fond memories of how during his inauguration as president in 2012 at the Black Star square he “sat and listened to the applause. It made me remember those faithful words my father had written in his letter – ‘leave when the applause is loudest’. Throughout the course of my presidency, I had both been applauded and criticized, I was revered and reviled.”
Signaling how difficult it is to determine when “the applause is loudest”, the ex-president added that “when you find yourself standing at the center of all the sound and wrath, it is difficult to determine when it is indeed the loudest.”
Confessions of a Mussing Writer
…for reciprocating Abu Jinapor’s unalloyed loyalty
My opposition to the New Patriotic Party is not in doubt. It is truism that during the eight year rule of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, I was one of the few Ghanaians who took on his administration and worked assiduously to march it out of power.
When the National Democratic Congress led by late Prof John Atta Mills secured victory in the 2008 elections which was later bequeathed to immediate past President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, I defended the government even at the peril of my life with hopes of denying the NPP opportunity of recapturing power.
Typical of me in the past eight years was my strong views on the leadership style of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo. It is well documented that I am not only a virulent critic of President Akufo-Addo, but I have also spent time and resources to campaign against his election as President of Ghana.
I did all that I did and, will continue to do, not because I despise Nana Akufo-Addo or I bear grudges. President Akufo Addo and I have mutual respect for each other. Indeed, I once told him in a privileged conversation that, I have no doubt in my mind that he will make a good president.
I have no axe to grind with Akufo Addo as a person, my abhorrence and strong views against him is because of the political platform on which he wanted to prosecute his presidential ambition.
Political affiliation, like religion, is based on ideology, dogma and conviction. In this instance, my political conviction is dialectically at variance with what President Akufo-Addo’s party stands for.
Despite my open and sometimes abrasive criticism of Akufo Addo, I have on number of occasions patted him on the shoulder any time he did something I thought was worthy of commendation. When he decided to concede after losing the last election petition, I openly praised him for saving the nation from what would have otherwise resulted in civil war in this country.
My criticism of Akufo-Addo even now that is President will not change. Similarly, I will not hesitate to praise him when he does something right. President Akufo-Addo’s elevation of one his longtime loyal servant, Abu Jinapor, to the position of deputy Chief of Staff is a development that must guide every young politician.
The crux of this article is actually centered on a discussion I had with Abu Jinapor some years back when he was Akufo-Addo’s spokesman. It has not been my intention to share this story with the rest of the world without the permission of Abu Jinapor. What I am about to do may not be fair to him, but I hope he forgives me for letting the rest of the World know what transpired between the two of us in the build up to the 2012 elections.
Somewhere in 2012 when Abu Jinapor was Akufo-Addo spokesman, I called to advise him to be measured in some of the words he use in the media to describe his Northern brother, then President Mahama.
At the time, Abu Jinapor’s senior brother, John Jinapor, was also the spokesperson of Mr Mahama. At the same period, Abu Jinapor’s father, who is the Buipewura, was having problems with the Overlord of Gonjaland. The accusation then was that the Buipewura was riding on his son’s closeness to President Mahama to show his disdain for the Gonja overlord.
Some even went to the extent of accusing President Mahama of supporting the Buipewura against his own hometown chief. This was a dicey situation at the time and it created a whole lot of problem for President Mahama up North.
Ironically, while President Mahama was being accused of siding with the Buipewura because of John Jinapor, one of the Buipewura’s sons, Abu Jinapor, was also constantly berating Mr Mahama in the media. Abu Jinapor did not pay hid to what President Mahama was going through because of his father.
In the midst of this disturbing happening, I called Abu Jinapor to draw his attention to the torrid times President Mahama was having up North which was likely to affect his votes because of his (Abu’s) brother and father. I advised him to consider his father’s relationship with President Mahama, and be circumspect in his criticisms.
My intention was not to gag Abu Jinapor. All that I did was to call his attention to the fact he is a young man and he must be careful with some of the words he used on President Mahama. But Abu Jinapor was resolute in his defense of his choice of words and the job he had been assigned to do for Akufo-Addo.
He told me point blank that he had a firm conviction that Akufo-Addo would be President and that he was working unremittingly towards that goal. Abu Jinapor virtually “sold” out his parents in pursuit of his dream to get Akufo-Addo elected president. Not even the mention of his parent’s cordial relationship with President Mahama would prod Abu Jinapor to soften his stands.
I allowed him to have his way because I realized he was not ready to trade the pursuit of getting AkufoAddo elected president with his parent’s relationship with President Mahama. Not to talk of the privileged position his “blood” brother was serving in the Mahama government.
Lo and behold, Akufo Addo and the NPP lost the 2012 elections, and Abu Jinapor’s dream did not materialized. I planned calling him after the election to tell him “didn’t I warn you”, but for some strange reasons I shelved that idea.
But, despite all the mockery and tribulations he suffered after Akufo-Addo’s defeat, Abu did not give up on the man he vowed to taste his presidency. Even his own party members had course to doubt his loyalty to Akufo-Addo after the 2012 elections to the extent that all manner of allegations were made about him.
Just as he did not give up on Akufo-Addo despite the attacks from both his own party members and political adversaries, Akufo-Addo did not also end his “marriage” with him after the 2012 electoral defeat. Indeed, Abu Jinapor, though was not retained as Akufo-Addo’s spokesperson for the 2016 elections, played varying roles in the NPP’s campaign until his wish came to pass on December 7 elections.
When Akufo-Addo was sworn in on January 7 to officially take office as president, he did not forget all the sacrifices that Abu Jinapor made including ‘selling’ his parents in order get him elected president.
By way for paying back Abu Jinapor for his unalloyed loyalty towards the course of getting his elected president, Akufo Addo appointed him against all odds as one of the deputy Chief of Staffs at the Flag Staff House. Regardless of Abu Jinapor’s age, President Akufo-Addo found him worthy enough among the pool of talented human resource at his disposal to occupy that critical position. That is the hallmark of loyalty.
-As Akufo Addo Denies Bawumia Control
Ghana’s participation in this year’s pilgrimage to the Holy land of Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has started on a bumpy note with both vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the National Chief Imam; Shiekh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharabutu reported seething with anger over neglect.
Information filtering into the office of The aL-hAJJ indicates that vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia is not a happy man as a result of President Akufo-Addo denying him the honor to reconstitute the recently announced 14 Member Hajj Board; charged to oversee this year’s Hajj operations.
The National Chief Imam, who is the spiritual Head of Muslims in Ghana, is also reported alarmed by the decision to constitute the Hajj Board without consulting him.
Describing the 14-member committee as too partisan, spokesperson of the Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, told Citi Fm, that the Chief Imam was not consulted before the announcement of the newly constituted Board.
“It appears to me that the Board has been rashly been composed without taking time to study the structure and the outcome of the work of the previous committee so we can learn the lessons from there,” he noted.
Meanwhile, sources at the Flag Staff House have also told The aL-hAJJ that “being a Muslim, Doctor (Dr Bawumia) was of the view Hajj operations which include the appointment of members of the Board will come under his purview, but he was disappointed when the president himself performed that duty.”
Though the vice president was reported consulted on the appointment of members of the Hajj board, a source added that “persons he (Dr Bawumia) had promised key roles in the Hajj operations were not considered. Dr Bawumia had his own people he had penciled to manage Hajj even before we won the election…this was because he thought he will superintend over all Muslim affairs.”
“We know that under late Prof Mills, Mahama as vice-president was allowed, in consultation with the National Chief Imam, to oversee Hajj operations because he is a Northerner. So being a Muslim, it would have been fair that Dr Bawumia was given the opportunity to choose people he thinks could manage the Hajj very well, but unfortunately the president thought otherwise,” another source added.
Apparently, former Greater Accra regional minister, Sheikh I C Quaye, a close confidant of President Akufo Adddo; had to up-his lobbying skills in order to go pass NPP NASARA Coordinator, Kamal-Deen Abdulai and two other Bawumia loyalists to snatch the Hajj Chairmanship Job.
Though all those who missed out on the Hajj Chairman post have subsequently been made members of the Hajj board to oversee the annual holy journey to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, reports indicate that all was not well with the board’s composition and functions.
President Akufo-Addo last week named Sheikh I.C Quaye and 13 others to oversee this year’s Hajj operations. A statement issued by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, named Sheikh I C Quaye as Chairman of the board who will be supported by 10 others.
The statement also named Dr Seidu Zakaria as Head of Medical Team, Abdulai Rahman Alhassan Gomda as Head of Communications and Dr Sani Abdulai as Head of IT.
In a related development, some regional Chief Imams have also reacted to the names of members of the Board, saying there was no consultation to include regional representatives.
Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, Sheikh Abdul Mumin Harun, is demanding that the Board be dissolved and reconstituted to include regional representatives.
“It will allow for all the regional Imams to be informed. We don’t want some people to blame government and say that the government doesn’t like Muslims and that is why some people couldn’t perform Hajj,” he stated.
Members of the newly constituted Board, who have commenced work even before the official announcement, sources say, have been picking on each other. “So far their working relationship has been anything but cordial. Almost all of them had intentions of becoming Hajj board chairpersons and though they missed out, they still see themselves as such. If nothing is done about it, it may affect the smooth running of this year’s hajj,” a source close to the newly constituted Hajj board disclosed to The aL-hAJJ.
Another disturbing development that is most likely to impede smooth operations of Hajj, according to the source, “is the elbowing amongst the Hajj Board members. All members believe they are at par since they were all appointed by the President and therefore are answerable to him rather than the Hajj Board Chairman.”
The source further explained that “conventionally, the President only appoints the Hajj Board Chairman in the consultation with the National Chief Imam and he in turn appoints members of the Board he thinks he can work with. But presently, the president appointed all members of the Board, and some of these members were persons who were lobbying for the Hajj Chairman post.”
This, according to the source, if not checked, could create a situation where aggrieved members of the Board could sabotage the Hajj Chairman to ensure he fails.
“In the case of those who have been appointed to Head the specialized teams, previously; it was done by the Hajj Board Chairman in consultations with others but this time round the president directly or personally appointed these persons. These are some of the things creating problems at the initial stage of this year’s Hajj organization and I fear it may degenerate very soon. Already some members of the Board who should have been part of the delegation to the recent Hajj conference who were dropped allegedly on the instructions of the Chairman are reported harboring anger.”
Prior to the official announcement of members of the board, Sheikh I C Quaye and the Minister of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Abubakar Saddiq Boniface were engaged in “cold war” over whether the Hajj board will operate under the newly created ministry.
The new Hajj Board Chairman recently flared up when The aL-hAJJ sort his views on suggestions that the newly created Inner Cities and Zongo Development Ministry will superintend the activities of the Hajj Committee.
“That is stupid… Tell the man going round saying this thing that he is stupid…foolish. The Hajj Committee is under the office of the President not the Inner Cities and Zongo Development Ministry. How can the Hajj Committee be under the Zongo Development Ministry? Whoever is going round saying this thing is stupid. Tell the person I said he is stupid,” Sheikh I C Quaye fumed.
He angrily said Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique cannot “go round saying the Hajj Committee is under his ministry. Hajj Committee can never be under that ministry…Hajj Committee is directly under the office of the president. Nonsense! How can he go round saying this thing?”
This was after the Inner Cities and Zongo Development Minister had said on an Accra based radio station, Marhaba Fm that part of his ministry’s job will be to supervise the activities of the Hajj Committee, adding that; the Hajj Committee will be an agency under his Ministry.
Meanwhile, sources at the presidency have told this paper that Shiekh IC Quaye has managed to convince the President “to give clear instructions to Boniface that Hajj Board is not an agency under his ministry. The Board will report directly to the president so it’s an agency under the presidency.”
But with the concerns being raised by the National Chief Imam and leaders of the Muslim community, President Akufo-Addo and the NPP government may have to find ways to win the trust and confidence of all stakeholders or risk marring this year’s Hajj.