A classic example is from the post-independence era. The young state of Ghana had huge prospects (also for black people worldwide) to lead Africa by showing that “…after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.”
However, mistrust and in-fighting, not just between the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the United Party (UP,) but also within the CPP itself and, incidentally, corruption (also) saw to the downturn of the economy, threw the state into political chaos that eventually led to the overthrow of President Kwame Nkrumah in 1966. That was the beginning of the end for Ghana; though we can reverse it if we try.
The tragedy today is that such mistrust and infighting, having donned new vestures, still plague our politics and hence economy and social life. The challenge is that these negative factors have a habit of draining enthusiasm and euphoria in our prospects of how new policies and even programmes must work. In a nutshell, these drain off the zeal and march towards positive change.
Again, some indigenous traditional authority and religious leaders, by their habit of going to beg a president to forgive ministers whom the president has punished (or is about to punish) over breaking a law, have turned themselves into entities that encourage bad behaviour in public office. It happens during every administration, but one of the starkest cases is during the Kufuor era. His minister for Central Region, Isaac Edumadze, misbehaved, yet again, and President Kufuor was set to sack him. An entire delegation of traditional authority from the Central Region and led by a king went to the Osu Castle to beg Kufuor to spare Edumadze. Kufuor spared him, but (later did well, for) on his very next reshuffle he asked Edumadze to step aside.
I do not see President Akufo-Addo succumbing to that type of pressure. However, if he does what he will be doing, effectively, is asking Amidu the Special Public Prosecutor to back away from investigating a particular person. Thus if that Special Public Prosecutor must attain the president’s dream of fighting corruption, he himself (the president) will have to control himself not to succumb to the historical and cultural pressure (also from cronies) to interfere with the man he has appointed. However, in the unlikely event that the president does, Amidu must be strong enough to resist the official pressure and continue his work nevertheless.
Another example shows how Amidu is likely to collide with national administrations or its appointees. The Public Procurement Act, 2003 Act 663 was made to streamline the purchase of commodities and logistics by public agencies, and one of the means frowned upon by the law except in few allowed instances is sole-sourcing. However, there is more than ample evidence of how several national administrations (or appointees of these) have misused this discretionary means to satisfy itself and its cronies. If the very entities that initiate the laws, national administrations, are in the habit of violating those very laws when it suits them, then did we go or did we come? For Amidu, that represents a huge challenge, since fighting the abuse of sole-sourcing (and other ills) is very likely to pit him against national administrations or appointees in such administrations.
That is why Amidu needs not lie to himself that after President Akufo-Addo swears him into office the journey into the future will be smooth-sailing. No, the pressure will be massive and the going very rough indeed. Our history and our general culture guarantee that. The going will not be easy for at least three reasons.
First, the real challenge of the task of the Special Prosecutor is fighting persons in national administration and other public officials who conduct or misconduct themselves in ways that make the state lose finances or other resources. Or – as a philosopher and former lecturer at the Department of Philosophy and Classics, University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Emeritus Kwame Gyekye – described Amidu’s target: They are the set who in one way or another breaks rules of ethical conduct in public office and state laws for their personal (and cronies’) benefit.
Second, there will be pressure and fight back against his work. That means once he gets into office two factors will strike – the (identified) historical and cultural weeds (and more) that strengthen each other – and these will grow to try to choke out the prospect of efficiency in ways that drain out the euphoria. And they will strike very hard. In a nutshell, this is what Ti-Kelenkelen is saying: It is not enough to have good laws or policies, etc. It is also not enough to have the right person in the right jobs. It is equally important to defend all these from those who benefit from the situations the laws or policies, etc. (and the right person) are set to eliminate.
In the end it all comes back to one point – how Amidu conducts himself as Special Public Prosecutor. It will take his personal strength and respect for the law and actually working the laws without fear or favour for him to succeed and deliver; at that point, his background and character will be secondary. The biggest question is whether Amidu can retain his inner strength to rather choke out the historical and cultural weeds that will come to work against him and his work. In other words, it is Amidu the Special Prosecutor’s future personal battles that will define his capability to be efficient and productive in the job.
And then he should be very careful of his own family and friends. (The elaboration of that falls outside the pages of a newspaper. However, Ti-Kelenkelen trusts Amidu is smart enough to know what it reeally means.)
Yet there is a broader prospect if Amidu succeeds. Because of that same historical and cultural background of Ghana (and Africa), his success, if he attains it, will permeate territory beyond the scope of his work, for he would have shown, in principle, how to deal with factors that are a block to progress in every aspect of our lives. And to call the creature by name, there are those (internal and external entities) who do not like that because they benefit from the antithesis.
In a nutshell, the task is more awesome than we are conceiving it. And it is not Ti-Kelenkelen’s place to scare the man who cannot be scared. It is, however, his (Ti-Kelenkelen’s) task, by the principle of this page, the welfare and progress of the people, to paint for Amidu the clearest, holistic, “live-and-coloured” video for him to know what he is reaaally walking into.
“…Some indigenous traditional authority and religious leaders, by their habit of going to beg a president to forgive ministers whom the president has punished (or is about to punish) over breaking a law, have turned themselves into entities that encourage bad behaviour in public office.”
“Thus if that Special Public Prosecutor must attain the president’s dream of fighting corruption, he himself (the president) will have to control himself not to succumb to the historical and cultural pressure (also from cronies) to interfere with the man he has appointed.”
“The biggest question is whether Amidu can retain his inner strength to rather choke out the historical and cultural weeds that will come to work against him and his work.”
(This concludes last week’s article)