wpid-rszghanaflagnew78.jpgBy:?Okofo-Dartey Samuel

The truism that transparent governance is the linchpin for stability and development cannot be underestimated.? Democratic governance thrives on the permanent premise that it is of the people, by the people and for the people. Therefore, for any government to conduct its activities in secrecy opens the floodgate for lovers of democracy to raise questions. The Mahama led administration of late has developed an unhealthy appetite or penchant for covering up issues that are of national interest. For whatever reasons they are running the state this way, Ghanaians would want to remind them that they are accountable to us the kingmakers.

The early part of this year saw a rise in infernos that ravaged most of our markets and other installations in the country. The infernos still blaze unabated. The President boldly declared it was the fruit of arsonists although there were no concrete proofs to that effect. NDC communicators without evidence repeatedly blamed the opposition NPP for sabotaging the progress of government. Nii Lantey Vanderpuye in his usual propagandist stupor went ballistic in his attempt to blame the NPP for setting those markets ablaze.

In the midst of the needless blame game approach, the President for reasons best known to his government imported fire ?experts? from the USA to tell Ghanaians why these fires were consuming our markets. After several months of their investigations and subsequent report, one wonders what the contents of the report are.

Must Ghanaians especially the media houses plead with government before it makes public the report? For the noise and accusations government communicators and rented press houses vented on ghost saboteurs, one would have thought that they will be swift to lay bare the findings. Why is the government keeping the contents of the report close to its chest? Why did not the government commission the Ghana National Fire Service to do a thorough investigation of all these fires since such incidents are well within their ambit?

There is the need for more transparency and sunshine on government activities. The government of Ghana is not cultish because individuals gave the government of the day its legitimacy. In this regard, the government, if it has nothing to hide, must as a matter of urgency and propriety make public the unedited contents of the GYEEDA report. Some of us are tired of the tardy approach adopted by government in publishing the report.

What makes the whole situation murky is the President?s charge to the P.V. Obeng led committee to review the report. I wonder the new revelation that that committee will bring to the table more especially when P.V. Obeng is cited as a board member of Keta Salt Industrial Estates which is owned by Roland Agambire who doubles as the Chairman of AGAMS group of companies (See GYEEDA Saga: P.V. Obeng accused of conflict of interest-ghanaweb.com) Interestingly, the AGAMS group of companies per the leaked GYEEDA report is cited for corruption and financial malfeasance.

The rat that I smell from afar is government?s feverishness and desperation in trying to cover its nasty nakedness. Is the content of the GYEEDA report so damning that the President is trying to delay its publication in anticipation of diminishing interest by the public? The government without doubt is accountable to Ghanaians in all matters of national interest. Therefore, whatever money they have pumped into GYEEDA must be made public if the government has any respect for the tax payer.

As a matter of fact, this habitual delight of government shrouding in secrecy information did not commence with the Mahama administration. During the late Professor Mill?s administration, whenever a rot was uncovered, investigation was conducted and a report was duly given to the president. The EOCO report that shed light on Woyome dirty deals and connivance with state officials in looting the public purse is a clear case in point. The report never saw the light of day. The laxity and denials that met the report were not surprising because government was not willing to wash its dirty linen in public.

Even the cause and the mysterious death of Professor Mills remain a puzzle now. The cultish vibrations surrounding his demise have never ceased to amaze a section of Ghanaians. What seems to be a normal practice in other parts of the world has now become a taboo in Ghana. For example, on the internet there is a stock of information on what killed past United States Presidents.

As you read this piece, it is common knowledge that President George .W. Bush Jnr. is recovering from a heart surgery and that President Obama and President Putin have all wished him a complete speedy recovery. Why can?t Ghana experience this level of transparency in every segment of government business? We claim to practise democracy but government?s covert activities smack of a subtle democratic dictatorship or censorship.

Beyond this, now that CHRAJ has initiated an investigation into the bizarre operations of SADA, it is expected that their findings will not be kept under lock and key. (See CHRAJ initiates investigations into SADA operations-myjoyonline.com). CHRAJ as a state institution should not also take donkey?s years to establish their findings and recommend the appropriate sanctions where necessary since SADA seems to be synonymous with corruption.

It is worth noting that at the heart of government cultish activities is the urgent need for our legislators to haste cautiously in bringing into fruition the Right to Information Bill which has been approved by cabinet. The bill has been incubated for a very long time since its initiation in 2010. If the government is left alone in the implementation of this bill, only God knows how many years it will take for this good bill to materialise due to the fact that the Mahama led government has kept a tight rein on governmental activities.

Already, this government reeks of corruption. Government appointees and their cohorts also are neck deep in corrupt deals which have resulted in the economy losing billions of cedis to individuals? pockets. The President unashamedly has told Ghanaians that the economy of Ghana is now left with bones for us to contend with. The simple question that I have for him is that, is it the members of his cult who have chewed or treated themselves with the choicest meat thereby rendering the economy as dry as a bone? They should be kind enough to fill us in on how the economy has deteriorated to this extent.

As indicated earlier, Ghana is not for a chosen few. Neither is it a family business or a cult that has secrecy as it benchmark. We need an open and fair government where the free flow of information is not inhibited and access to information is not the exclusive preserve of party loyalists and state officials. We must get to a point where reports or findings emanating from investigative bodies are made available. As a law abiding citizen of Ghana, I pay my taxes. Therefore, I should not be denied the right to know whatever information that concerns the growth of this country and that of posterity. If the government has nothing to hide and afraid of its terrifying shadows, it must be a lover of open governance and demonstrate its unflinching support for transparency.

SOURCE: OKOFO-DARTEY SAMUEL

E-MAIL: [email protected]

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