Four-letter words are unprintable, and it is for a reason: they are offensive to decent people in society. In Parliaments all over the world, certain words are un-utterable. No matter how foolish an MP sounds or looks, you don’t call him/her a fool.
It is said about Britain’s war-time Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, that one day he was so incensed by a lie uttered in the Commons that he could not control his rage. Yet when he caught the Speaker’s eye and got to his feet, he could not use the word, ‘liar’. “Mr Speaker,” he began, “the Member from ….. is uttering the very opposite of the truth.” That saved him.
John Mahama is not only a former President; he has also been a former Member of Parliament. Even outside of Parliament, there are certain words that cannot (should not) be used in public by a former President on anybody, least of all, an officer of state.
Am I playing holier than thou? I concede that in Ghana, to be tagged ‘Government Official One’ – a synonym for corruption – will pull the hair out of anybody’s nostrils, especially two months to a crucial election. In reacting to the Special Prosecutor’s one-paragraph reference to the Airbus scandal in his Agyapa deal corruption-risk assessment report, the former President lost his cool. Using words that will be remembered by generations yet unborn as the most unguarded language of the Fourth Republic, the former President accused the Public Prosecutor of being a coward; worse, stupid.
Yet, while Ghanaians may forget about the moral inappropriateness of these utterances by a statesman, what we must not forget, and what I will do my best as a writer to let society take note, is that the former President’s finger-pointing was not entirely an honest act.
Of course, I still struggle to understand why the Special Prosecutor, in pronouncing judgement on the Agyapa Deal, smuggled in matters to do with Airbus scandal. If that is what makes him “stupid”, I have no comment.
Fact remains that at the time he was pouring venom on Martin Amidu, the ex-President forgot himself.
Fact: Last week was not the first time Martin Amidu had published his conclusion about who, from his investigation, could be Government Official One. The first time he did, he got a push-back from Mahama’s party.
The NDC, through Stephen Atubiga, announced that the party had decided not to allow former President Mahama to respond to any invitation from the OSP. Worse, and more condemnable, the party, through its General Secretary, threatened that “any judge who sits on such a case will vanish”.
A Special Prosecutor who proceeds to make the type of announcement he put out about the NDC flagbearer is no coward.
Four months ago, I vowed, three times, that I would not relent in my crusade to mobilize Ghanaians to unmask Government Official One. At the time I did, the Public Prosecutor had not concluded its investigation, let alone, name a name.
It is in that same mode (anger at the rape of an economy, frustration at the helplessness of Ghanaians, and sadness that we are on the verge of consigning this scandal to the dustbin of history without finding out who is Government Official One) that I return to that crusade.
If NDC wins the 2020 election, it is likely Ghana will never get to the bottom of the Airbus scandal. Not that Mahama is guilty (no-one has proved it), but it is inconceivable that a party that has warned all judges to hands-off this case, will investigate itself or any of its officers.
I repeat my humble submission: no citizens or groups in Ghana, no matter how many and how loud they are, must be allowed to feel free to set their own set of rules for governance and proceed to issue threats like these. The righteous indignation of 30 million Ghanaians must be mobilized against such acts of impunity.
Come to think of it, all we are doing is protecting one un-named Ghanaian who, with his brother and some foreigners, has pocketed a three million euro bribe money and bought for Ghana three aircraft which came with defects!
For the information of those who may not know, Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer, has been found guilty by a court in the UK of paying bribes to certain Ghanaian government officials, through the brother of a top elected Ghanaian politician, when it sold three military aircraft to Ghana.
The court found that this high ranking Ghanaian elected official, who was in office from 2009 to 2016, made direct contact with the Airbus management about the purchase of the aircraft a few months after he took office.
Who was he/she?