The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has presented names of persons it says are relatives and cronies of President Akufo-Addo in his government, including Virginia Hesse, a “baby mama”
Madam Virginia Hesse, bore President Akufo-Addo’s first daughter, while the two were students of the University of Ghana (UG). She is currently the ambassador to Czech Republic.
At a press conference yesterday, the National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, listed 51 names of relatives and cronies which he said pointed to “classic and unprecedented” nepotism within the Akufo-Addo government.
The list includes, the entire nuclear family of Nana Asante Bediatuo, who is a cousin to the President and is also his Executive Secretary.
He has his father; Kofi Darko Asante as Chairman of the GIMPA Council, his mother, Vida Asante, as Head of Presidential Household, his sister;Mrs. Laurette Asante Otchere, as the Deputy Director General of SSNIT and his brother, Kwesi Kuntu Asante, as Board Member of Ghana Hostels.
Sammy Gyamfi, referred to Nana Akufo-Addo’s vow to eschew nepotism and cronyism, a pledge he made in January 2016 ahead of the general elections.
“I will not operate a family and friends’ government”, he quoted the then NPP Presidential candidate.
The NDC listed relatives of the President, Vice-President, Mahamudu Bawumia and his wife, Samira Bawumia, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, and relatives of the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who are in the Akufo-Addo government. Mr Osafo-Maafo, has two sons working with SSNIT and National Communication Authority (NCA) respectively.
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a cousin of President Akufo-Addo, has his wife; Nana Adjoa Hackman on the GNPC Board and his Brother in-law Ekow Hackman, as the Chairman of the BOST board.
The NDC National Communications Officer, described the level of nepotism as amounting to “total state capture” and called for the enactment of an anti- nepotism legislation to check abuse of power by governments.
According to them, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is running a nepotistic government contrary to President Akufo-Addo’s promise to Ghanaians in 2016.
The NDC, argues that over fifty members of the current administration are directly related to President Akufo-Addo.
Addressing the press at a moment of truth series at the NDC headquarters in Accra, the National Communications Officer for the party, said the President, could have changed the narrative after accusing the NDC of doing same when in it was power.
“The enactment of an anti-nepotism legislation to help check abuse of power in the advancement of the nepotistic agenda of President Akufo-Addo, his appointees and any unforeseen recurrence is long overdue in Ghana,” he said.
“We contend that notwithstanding the enormous constitutional powers conferred on the President, such powers must not be exercised in a whimsical manner in furtherance of the interest of family members, friends and cronies. And we believe that the time has come for Ghana to enact an anti-nepotism law that imposes clear restrictions on the employment of close relatives as it is done in other jurisdictions,” he added.
The Communications Officer further stated that this law can take the form and even be an improvement of section 3110 of title 5 of the United States Code, which forbids a public official from appointing a relative to a civilian position in any agency over which that official exercises jurisdiction.
The NDC, called on Parliament and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country, to support they party in promoting the law.
“We think that Parliament should consider the passage of such an anti-nepotism law which threatens our collective fight against corruption. To this end we call on civil society organisations and all well-meaning Ghanaians to join us as we advocate the initiation and passage of an anti-nepotism law,” he said.