The Pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), will today kick start the campaign machinery of the party with corruption as its theme, following the failure of the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) campaign promise in the last elections.
The AFAG demonstration dubbed, “Aagbe Wo Demo”, is expected to be replicated across the country as part the NPP electioneering campaign strategy for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, with Nana Akufo-Addo, as the main beneficiary.
Two other pro-NPP groups, IMANI Ghana and OccupyGhana, will today also begin a two-day seminar claiming massive corruption in the John Mahama government, after countless poorly patronized demonstrations and meaningless press statements.
The IMANI Ghana and OccupyGhana event, has no government representation, but a line-up of anti-Mahama elements, and known members of the NPP, including Madam Elizabeth Ohene, an ex-Minister of State for Education and Information in the John Agyekum Kufuor administration.
While, the AFAG demo commences at 6am from the Obra Spot at Kwame Nkrumah Circle –Accra, the IMANI Ghana and OccupyGhana seminar starts at 4: 00pm inside the Christ the King Parish Hall, with a heavy representation of NPP bigwigs.
AFAG, had claimed that it is demonstrating against the inflation of the cost of projects, such as the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, the Kasoa Interchange and the Tamale Airport.
However, despite rebuttals from the head of the Department of Urban Roads, Alhaji Abass, the group intends to demonstrate, suggesting that there was more to the demo than inflated contract prices claim. The demo is, meanwhile expected to record a low turnout.
The IMANI Ghana and OccupyGhana, recently staged the “Occupy Flagstaff House demonstration in July; heavily attended by members of the NPP, including campaign cash managers of the NPP Presidential Candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, Ken Ofori-Atta, Yoofi Grant and Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, Kofi Capito etc.
They were served expensive pizza and iced-Hennessy, chilled Beer, Coca cola, Fanta and other expensive soft drinks, while matching and crying poverty, among Ghanaian middleclass citizens.
Stepping on the IMANI Ghana stage are, Most Reverend Charles Palmer-Buckle, a Ghanaian Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, Pastor Mensa Otabil of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD).
Other speakers are Manasseh Azure Awuni, Ghana’s Leading Anti-Corruption Journalist and 2012 Ghana Journalist of the Year, an Assistant Professor at the Ashesi University, Dr. Esi Ansah; Lawyer Ace Kojo Ankomah, who is a Managing Partner at Ghana’s largest law firm, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah (BEL&A).
A statement sent to The Herald by Franklin Cudjoe, mentioned him and the former Marketing Manager for Guinness Ghana Limited (GGL) and MTN Ghana, George Andah, as the organizers of the event. Interestingly, George Andah, has been a friend of President Mahama, who has been of tremendous assistance to him in the past, whilst serving as Vice- President.
Ex-Joy FM Super Morning Show host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, who is eyeing a Parliamentary seat in the Koforidua area in the Eastern Region on the ticket of the NPP, is mentioned as the moderator of the event to be staged at the Christ the King Parish Hall, Switchback Road-Accra, near the seat of government, Flagstaff House.
The IMANI statement quoted Elizabeth Ohene as saying, “When a classroom block that is known to cost GH¢ 200,000 to build, is given out on contract for GH¢ 800,000, the name of the game is stealing; or if you want a fancy name, you might employ fraud. The engineers and quantity surveyors who pad up the numbers to get to GH¢ 800,000 are engaged in fraud, and they should be treated as such.”
The seminar is under the theme, “#Occupycorruptionghana for National Development– Saving Our Nation”.
According to the statement, “Ghana has been plagued with weak institutions since independence. In the decades that have followed, the country’s leadership has ‘danced around the monster in the room,’ simply to secure personal interests at the expense of the taxpayer. Keeping the institutions weak and inefficient has served as a convenient incentive for corruption”.
It went on, “Whiles corruption is usually seen in the form of bribery. These days rather, sadly after 22 years of undisturbed democracy, corruption appears to have given way to more and more naked theft of state funds. Theft is defined as the taking of a property that does not belong to you without the consent or permission of its owner or custodian with the intention of depriving the rightful owner(s) of it permanently”.
According to IMANI, “In the past few years, thievery of state funds, whether in the form of inflated cost of projects or payment for no work done, has witnessed an unprecedented surge and spike. As the incidents of stealing of state funds hike, the country’s economy takes a plunge”.
“The country’s massive expenditure and accrued debt have not been development-driven nor yielded any visible results or foreseeable future gains. That monster in the room, no doubt, is theft clouded in corruption. It occurs in various forms, one being the abuse of the deliberately-weakened institutions or deliberately-created gaps in the legal framework to both carry out unchecked expenditures and engage in flagrant flouting of the law, for personal gain. In a nutshell, government expenditure is not delivering value for money and has significantly impeded Ghana’s development”.
It added that “…importantly, the weakness of the institutions and associated corruption have weakened confidence in the country’s economy and democracy, which has had a negative impact on economic activities. Ghana’s fiscal deficit stands at GhC10bn. Government continues to spend more than it can afford; yet critical services such as health and education are not receiving their statutory funding. We need to confront thievery and corruption in Ghana’s Public Institutions even us we consider options for reversing the responsibility on accountability as concerned citizens”.
“OccupyGhana” was identified as “a social and political non-partisan pressure group with the vision of engaging Ghanaians in development process and ensuring good and responsible governance. We are passionately committed to ensuring that Ghana develops to its full economic potential and remains a strong democracy”.