Photo: Victoria Hammah, former Deputy Minister of Communications Credit: Google
Did someone at the Flagstaff House fall and hit their head? I thought I’d begin with this question since it’s the question I ask privately anytime the presidency makes a poor decision. And I consider the swift firing of Ms. Hammah as one of those. Like us, folks at the presidency must have been stunned at how much she dished in that conversation. I’m also sure they are still working on the tale they would spin for us hence that terse statement.
This is not in defence of Ms. Hammah but I’m upset that someone recorded her private conversation and played it to the hearing of all 24 million Ghanaians. It is such an intrusion of her privacy and we shouldn’t condone this new culture of leaked tapes. There was no committee, no review committee to review the work of the first committee, and no propagandists to Ms. Hammah’s rescue. 24 hours after the tape was leaked, she is out of government. It is the kind of swiftness you expect from a president who is committed to the fight against corruption.
No one should let anyone who says she is in politics to make a million dollars anywhere near a letter-head with Ghana’s coat of arms on it. It’s the kind of action that should impress me but I’m not. In the last few months, calls on government to act on increased level of corruption in the public sector have grown louder.
Everyone including prominent members of the NDC has asked President Mahama to sanction officials under whose watch the GYEEDA and the GRA/Subah mess occurred. Martin Amidu has literally been begging the president to “stop protecting party hard-core party associates suspected of crime.” But all we’ve heard from the president are platitudes. So for him to quickly fire Ms. Hammah who was only caught gossiping on tape puts no feather in his cup.
Like most gossips, she didn’t expect her dreams, tales of her influence in the NDC, and her chatter about party folks to be made public. By firing her over a leaked tape, the president has set a bad precedent. What would he do if the next leaked tape contains his voice or that of his friends may not be gossiping but saying things a president and his friends shouldn’t say. Many such secretly recorded tapes preceded Ms. Hammah’s but none of the people were fired.
Baba Jamal wasn’t fired when he told workers at the Information Ministry to lie for government. Is it that government didn’t find that embarrassing because it wasn’t party secrets and he was only insulting Ghanaians. Or some of the things on that Victoria’s tape are true. Is Tony Lithur truly controlling three ministries even though he has no electoral or ministerial power? Did Nana Oye Lithur work to help sway the position of the Supreme Court judges? Whatever it is, I would have preferred that the president fired her for incompetence instead of gossiping. And Ghanaians would have been impressed and happier if he had fired all those under whose watch GRA paid Subah millions for no work done. Nonetheless, Ms. Hammah is gone and president has shown he can take swift decisions. We would be grateful if he could take swift decisions on the list below.
- Retrieve monies illegally paid to Woyome/Isofoton/Waterville
- GRA/Subah scandal
- Footbridges on the N1 Highway
- Complete all affordable housing projects
- Complete the BRT project
- Constant water and power supply
- Cantonment Police brutality
- Custom bonded warehouse tax scandal
- Suhum/Nsawam road
- Reform the public sector