Head pastor of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) has seen merit in the decision by the Mahama government to launch a criminal trial against the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Chiana Paga, in the Upper East, Abuga Pele, over the massive rot at the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).
“You don’t fight corruption by attacking your enemies; you start by cleaning your house,” Dr. Mensa Otabil, who is also the Board Chairman of First Capital Plus, noted.
He likened what is going on to a slum demolishing exercise in the Zimbabwean capital; Harare when the country’s president, Robert Mugabe, commendably ordered the razing down of his party’s; Zanu PF head office.
The NDC MP is on trial with Philip Akpeena Assibit, who is a consultant to the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Goodwill International Group (GIG) consortium.
Alfred Agbesi Woyome’s criminal trial over the 51 million Ghana cedis judgment debt, is also ongoing without President John Mahama, asking his Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, to file for a discontinuation of the case, although Mr. Woyome has been said to be a supporter of the NDC.
President Mahama, has come under severe criticism from within the NDC for putting his party members on trial and ignoring lots of New Patriotic Party (NPP) members, who have in one way or the other, being involved in some corrupt practices; something which never happened during the Kufuor era.
Mentions, have been made of the Ghana Airways-Ghana International Airlines cases, which have been left unattended to by the Attorney General’s Department.
The Ghana@50 rot, the Ghana Oil Palm investigations, which indicted some NPP members, including ex-Ministers of State, the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone by the Kufuor administration, the prosecution of the ex-Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Board, Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko, who is now the NPP MP Ayawaso-Wuogon in Accra.
The 3 billion cedis financial loss case involving a minister in the Kufuor administration, Prof. Kasim Kasanga, who purchased and planted mango seedlings in the dry season.
But while, Dr. Mensa Otabil, appreciates the enormity of the task of leading a country, he was quick to add that “leadership is not by force” and anyone who applies, campaigns and ascends the throne of presidency, must be ready to take on the difficult decisions, including the fight against corruption.
Corruption is simply a failure of the application of the law, according to the General Overseer.
Speaking at a public forum on confronting corruption, organised by a pro-NPP policy think tank – IMANI and pressure group Occupy Ghana, Dr. Otabil said until the law bites, corruption would never be eradicated from our society.
“Americans are not more moral than Ghanaians, British are not more moral than Ghanaians, the only difference between us and them is that the laws work there and the laws don’t work here. Corruption is simply a failure of the application of the law,” the motivational speaker said.
“If you go to other countries people religiously file their taxes at certain points of the year, it is not because they are more patriotic but it is because they are afraid of the law, until the law bites corruption will never be eradicated, it is a failure of law.
“Until we make the law work this discussion has no future, the question is who makes the law work?”
“Leadership is very difficult…I can almost imagine the magnitude of the responsibility of a President…he has a huge responsibility, it is a very tough responsibility, it is a responsibility that means that he has to juggle a lot of interests, in trying to please one, he offends the other, it is very difficult to be the President of a country and it is very easy for people to refer every responsibility to you because you are the President.
“So I can imagine the sense of frustration if you are President of a country and the sense of loneliness that you feel, that people don’t understand you, that people don’t really see it the way you see it and it may all be true but that is why leadership is not by force,” Otabil pointed out.
Unlike chieftaincy where prospective chiefs are ‘caught’, sometimes against the will of the chiefs, he said for the presidency, “we don’t catch a president; you pay and campaign for it.”
He said, the presidency was a hard, tough and lonely place but it is also a choice, one that comes with responsibility.
Dr. Otabil was one of four speakers at the forum to speak out against corruption in Ghana. The others were lawyer, Ace Ankomah, investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni, and gender advocate Dr Esi Ansah.
Dr Otabil was convinced that the anti-corruption laws in Ghana do not work.
He said citizens in every country are inherently corrupt. However the only difference between the cases of corruption in Ghana and that in London is that in London the law works and anybody found to be corrupt is dealt with.
But that does not appear to be the case in Ghana, he stated, adding until the law bites; corruption will not be eradicated adding, the one who has ultimate political responsibility, must apply the law and fight corruption.
Quoting Ecclesiastes 5:8, the head pastor maintained the fight against corruption must begin from the top, insisting the president has the biggest responsibility to fight the canker.