Opinion: The Best Response Here Is Basic Research – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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Ghana’s former President John Dramani Mahama/Photo: The Impact Crew

At his party’s ninth so-called Unity Walk at the St. John’s Park in Bolgatanga, capital of the Upper-East Region, former President John Dramani Mahama bitterly accused his successor of having constituted his cabinet along the lines of nepotism, that is, largely composed of relatives and friends of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. This is rather risible because during the 20 years that Chairman Jerry John Rawlings ran the country, most of the most powerful members of his cabinet and government were either members of his family, both nuclear and extended, or ethnic Ewes. If they were not Ewe, there is overwhelming evidence that they were “Friends of the Revolution.”

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Chairman Rawlings was not known to have packed his government chock-full with his political opponents or “Enemies of the Revolution”; and so, it is reflective of acute psychological imbalance or plain dementia for the Gonja native to accuse President Akufo-Addo of jampacking his government with only members of his family and friends. It is also quite well known that the former Atta-Mills’ “Presidential Spare-Tire” constituted a government that could be aptly described as the “Atinga Government” or better yet, the “Atinga Enterprise,” in which nearly all the major contracts supported by the money of the Ghanaian taxpayer, predominantly people of Akan descent, were awarded to either northern-born Ghanaian citizens or northern-descended Ghanaian citizens.

A cursory look at the staff of the Mahama Flagstaff House, presently renamed Jubilee House, scandalously indicated the near absence of any key player of Akan descent. It was only about a year to Election 2016 that the then-President Mahama mischievously and opportunistically started fielding Akan-descended people, for vote-getting purposes, of course, in powerful positions. Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong’s riposte to the former President that Nana Akufo-Addo has far more of his family members in key positions of his government because these appointees are far better educated than the members of the Mahama Family, is perfectly in order, logically speaking, that is; but it does not effectively address the critical and perennial question of nepotism in government.

Instead, members of the Communications Department of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) would be better off conducting research or undertaking a critical survey of the Mahama appointees and then laying bare his pathological nepotism for all Ghanaians to see. Mr. Agyapong is also right on target, when he obliquely observes that academic and professional credentials were next to useless in terms of who best qualified to serve in any major capacity or responsible administrative position in the Mahama government. For instance, it is an open secret that the younger brother of the former President, Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, was the de facto Minister of Galamsey, which precisely answers the question of why the former National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Gonja-West did a diddly nothing to halt the deadly predatory activities of this illegal mining industry, especially since most of the destructive impact of Galamsey occurred in Nana Akufo-Addo’s political strongholds of the Eastern, Asante and Western Regions.

We need to also equally highlight the fact that both Presidents John Agyekum-Kufuor and John Evans Atta-Mills jampacked their governments with their relatives and friends. The decision by President Akufo-Addo to appoint a sizable number of his relatives into his government may partly stem from the fact that even though many of these relatives are easily counted among the best educated Ghanaian citizens, nevertheless, they were invidiously and conspicuously sidelined by all the four Presidents that preceded Nana Akufo to the erstwhile Flagstaff House. Ultimately, what matters most is far less the question of the number of relatives that President Akufo-Addo appointed into his government than the quality and relative productivity of the Akufo-Addo Administration. Most Ghanaians are acutely aware of this basic fact, except jealous megalomaniacs like Mr. Mahama and his hangers-on.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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