Opinion: There Is a Smoking Fish in the $12 Million EC’s “Thank You” Note – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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Charlotte Amma Kesson-Smith Osei, disgraced Ghana’s former EC Chief

Like most of my readers, I presume, I had the much-talked-about audiotape recording regarding the Electoral Commission’s fracas that precipitated the dismissal of Chairperson Charlotte Amma Kesson-Smith Osei and Deputy EC Chairs Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwaa dispatched to me via Whatsapp. I am, here, of course, talking about the $12 Million “Thank-You” Note or largesse that the leaders of the then-ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) are widely rumored to have sent to the then Chairperson and the senior staff operatives of Ghana’s Electoral Commission (GEC) in the run-up to the 2016 general election.

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We are also informed by the purportedly leaked audiotape recording of the voice of a GEC staff, alleged to be that of a Mrs. Pauline Dzadzawa – I hope I have her last name spelt out correctly – regarding the GEC’s fracas that prompted the dismissal of the above-named senior-most GEC officials by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, that dispatching “Thank-You Notes” in the form of liquid cash to the senior staff members of the GEC is a routine process or established tradition in which even former President John Agyekum-Kufuor (2000-2009) happily and actively participated, albeit to a relatively niggardly extent, compared to his predecessor, namely, Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, the sleazily audacious and stentorian pontiff of the self-righteous mantra of “Probity, Accountability, Transparency and Justice.”

And so what is, predictably, clear to me here and ought to be clear to the critically thinking Dear Reader, as well, is the unmistakable but patently depressing fact that corruption is a systemic architecture of Ghana’s political culture. We thus need to probe and find out precisely how much the two-term Rawlings-chaperoned governments of the National Democratic Congress proffered the Kwadwo Afari-Gyan-led GEC. As well, we need to know precisely how much, by way of hard-currency Thank-You Notes, former President John Agyekum-Kufuor had dispatched to the Afari-Gyan-led GEC as well. And then, of course, we can begin to fully appreciate the enormity of the impact of this patently venal political tradition, especially regarding the fact of how it may have either positively or negatively impacted the conduct and outcome of democratic elections in the country from 1992 to the present.

It would definitely be fascinating what we stand to learn from such significant research. We must also quickly point out the fact that the audiotape under discussion, at least the portion dispatched to me, does not tell us whether the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party has participated in this established payola tradition involving the senior staff of the GEC, as well as how much had been dispatched in the latest observance of such wantonly rotten tradition. What we also need to know regards the frequency of how such monetary Thank-You Notes had been dispatched to the GEC in the leadup to any general election in the past, in the manner in which the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress is alleged to have done in the leadup to the 2016 general election.

We are, of course, talking about impacts and/or implications here. In other words, we are looking at the question of the extent to which the transmission of such huge sums of payolas in the past has been done in the leadup to general elections, as opposed to how the transmission of such payolas has been effected in the past in the wake of a general election; and how the temporal scheduling of the delivery of such payolas has impacted the outcomes of the same. This could meaningfully tell us more about the overriding motive behind the decision by the movers-and-shakers of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress to reportedly dispatch the whopping sum of $12 Million, as a Thank-You Note or largesse, to the Chairperson and the senior staff operatives of the GEC, and perhaps the entire staff as well, in the leadup to the 2016 general election. We are talking about decisions and consequences here. We are also talking about what an increasing number of ordinary Ghanaian citizens have come to envisage as our veritably pathological culture of “Monecracy.”

Even as I write, there is a heated and rancorous debate raging over whether, indeed, the monetary Thank-You Note dispatched to the GEC by the Mahama Posse was $12 Million, and not the $6 Million that is widely rumored to have been delivered by a hip-shooting former Mahama Deputy Communications Minister. The official in question has vehemently denied ever pocketing half of his “Pecuniary Message” to the GEC and has even threatened to sue anybody who has the temerity to publicly attempt to link him to the same. The perennial puzzle of why Mrs. Osei allegedly had either a diamond-built bedstead or divan planted in her office suite was also hinted at in the leaked audiotape “rumor” forwarded to me via Whatsapp. But I strongly feel that the quiddities of this exceptionally intimate aspect of the rumor is decidedly none of my frigging business, My Dear Reader. At least not at this very early stage of the game.

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

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