Why President Mahama might become the worst leader ever

When is the Mahama government going to see a problem and confront it without resorting to committees and commissions? They now want the Auditor-General to investigate the monies spent on rent for Lauretta Lamptey, the chair of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice. When you need the president to meddle like he does with striking teachers and doctors to enact real change, he chooses to ask people like the Auditor General to open a probe.

The constitution bars the president from firing the CHRAJ chair and being the nice guy, Mahama is not one to ask her to resign. This is classic Mahama –always keeping the incompetent, the corrupt and the lazy around. Alfred Vanderpuye, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, and Rachel Appoh are all still at post. He keeps people like these and turns around to tell Ghanaians that ‘his detractors will be disappointed.’ It is as if these so-called detractors are the ones who forced on him people who continuously show a lack of judgment, competence, integrity and maturity.

When it was discovered that the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) had paid $63,000 as two-year rent for an office at East Legon, the Chief of Staff ordered investigations into that. The whole issue ended at ‘it is being investigated.’ This government has been fantastic at exhibiting a terrible sense of priority and ordering investigations later.

The president has had access to at least the last six editions of the Auditor General’s report; none has been thoroughly dealt with. Are we to believe that this time, the president will act on a report from the same Auditor General? President Mahama has had tons of opportunities to show that he is indeed committed to fighting corruption. Each time the decision is handed to a committee or any state agency whose report will not be implemented. Our president seems allergic to taking tough decisions.

When Elvis Afriyie Ankrah came back with his nasty package from Brazil, the President re-assigned him and then deferred the decision on what to do about the 2014 World Cup mess and an obviously corrupt Sports Ministry to a Presidential Commission. Lawyers say this was done to help many of those who have appeared before the Commission avoid prosecution. It means the only punishment these men will get is being mocked for their fake tears.

It is unclear how the president plans to use a report from the Auditor General to resolve this Lauretta Lamptey mess. There was a Maputo report, which indicted so many people once; his government issued a white paper whitewashing all those accused. This government has set up more committees than any government before it. I’m referring to the NDC government that came to power in 2008 and 2012. A committee was established to investigate the GYEEDA/SADA scandal. We are still waiting to be amazed by the implementation of the committee’s recommendations.

It is pretty annoying that government is resorting to the same old tricks. He uses the Auditor General route as an escape path to quell the public anger. Oh, how I wish the president would add to his acts of ommissions and commissions an attempt, at least, to influence Miss Lamptey to resign from CHRAJ. He could even, for example, chastise her publicly. But there is more at stake here. The president washes her back, and she does the same. That’s how the fight against corruption will be waged and lost in this country.

The decision to delay any action to get Lauretta Lamptey out of CHRAJ by asking the Auditor General to investigate evidence already available confirms what we’ve known all along. President Mahama doesn’t plan to address corruption or the leakages in the public accounting system. Tackling that would mean sacking friends and depriving family members of access to the booty in the national kitty.

His Excellency doesn’t want to mar his nice-guy-president record. But at this rate, Mahama could go down as one of the worst leaders Ghana has ever had. When you look at Mahama’s record, you might be tempted to think that Kutu Acheampong was a much better leader than the one who currently occupies the Flagstaff House. The adults say Kutu Acheampong had a plan and he was not one to dither.

President Mahama has dithered on everything. Even on windfall tax for mining companies who only care about profits. He and his people are running this country like the woman on my street does her kiosk – they have no plan, decisions are made on the whim, and they are always fire-fighting.

Last Tuesday, pupils in special needs schools across the country were sent back home on re-opening day because the government has not released subventions for the 2014/2015 academic year. They haven’t released the one for the 2013/2014 academic too. Last month, over 90 people died from cholera in Accra alone. Some hospitals had to appeal to the general public for supplies to be able to treat the sick.
Nothing is right here. There are no systems for anything; the health-care system cannot contain cholera, the housing deficit hasn’t changed, the education system and the economy are in steady decline.

Nonetheless, in addition to discovering that over $400, 000 was spent Lauretta Lamptey’s accommodation, Ghanaians also learned that someone paid $20,000 for directions to a supermarket in Brazil. Another spent $600,000 on a fence wall in Burkina Faso.

People seek power partly because of hubris and partly because they really believe they can bring some significant change. I hope President Mahama isn’t here because his party picked the nicest handsome man for the gullible voter. While we may not be able to force him to act, we will not knowingly twist history to make him look good. It’s not too late to leave the worst president category. Lauretta Lamptey offers a good step towards the exit.


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