This exercise is very simple. It is even practised in our primary schools. You just respond “present, Sir” when your name is mentioned. So here I go with the names of NDC jailbirds: Sipps Yankey, Ibrahim Adam, Kwame Pepra, Abuga Pele, Assabit Asongtaaba, Baffoe- Bonnie, Tevie, Osman (all present) and Victor Selormey (absent).
In the run-up to the 2008 general election, former President John Rawlings admonished then sitting President Kufuor to better expand the Nsawam Maximum Prison because many of his appointees will be hauled to the maximum prison if the NDC won the elections. He said some of the appointees of Mr. Kufuor were corrupt and some have willfully caused financial loss to the state and as such they deserve to go to jail.
Then by the grace of God, the NDC won the elections and went on to form a government. We waited patiently for the Mills/Mahama administration to haul the suspected corrupt officials to a court of competent jurisdiction for the court to trial them and those found culpable jailed to serve as a deterrent to others. Instead of concentrating their efforts on ruling the nation, the Mills administration abandoned the onerous tax of ruling the country and set off to witch-hunt former appointees of Mr. Kufuor.
Charges were levelled against many former appointees of Mr. Kufuor, but they were all acquitted and discharged. In fact, they thought they were going to pay Mr. Kufuor in his own coin. What they did not know is that when Kufuor took over the reins of power, he quickly hit the ground running to salvage the bartered economy. The NDC thought everything was alright as far as corruption perception was a thing of the past, so they relaxed. Before they could blink an eye, Victor Selormey, Kwame Pepra, Ibrahim Adam, Sippa Yankey and the others found themselves languishing in jail. Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata followed suit, but luckily for him Mr. Kufuor pardoned him. As a lawyer, Tsatsu knew that if he failed to go to court again to seek for redress, he will forever live with the tag of an ex-convict.
Today, history has repeated itself. Barely three and half years into the Akufo-Addo administration, Abuga Pele, Assabit, Tevie, Baffoe-Bonnie and Osman are sleeping in the Nsawam Maximum Prison. Maybe this is the right time to expand the Nsawam Maximum Prison because many more will follow. Mr. Matrtin Amidu, the Special Prosecutor, is stealthily compiling a list of those who will be prosecuted, and I know in no time some former appointees of Mr. John Mahama will have their time in court. Oh, yes! It will not take long before the chickens come home to roost.
But come to think of this: where are those noisy NDC apparatchiks who used to disturb our ears that the Akufo-Addo administration cannot jail a single former NDC appointee because they are all clean and that NPP used the issue of perceived corruption to hoodwink Ghanaians to get their votes? What will they have to tell Ghanaians again now that former appointees are in jail. You see, the wheels of justice grinds slowly but surely it will reach where it wants want to stop. You reap what you sow.
As the former appointees of Mr. Mahama continue to line up at the prison gate, I know some NDC scatterbrains will begin shouting that it is a witch-hunt. But if there are witches, should we not hunt them down instead of letting them go amuck like the coronavirus? Only a foolish supporter of the NDC will move in sympathy with those in jail because when things were going good for them and they used to ride in flashy and luxurious cars and living in mansions of architectural wonder, poor supporters of the NDC, particularly the grassroots supporters, were living in abject poverty.
The Akans say those who spent the money should be the same persons to pay the debt (won a sika ba a wokye di no, se ka aba won ara na wokye tua). For me, going to prison is not a big deal. The fact that after serving your term you will forever live with the tag of an ex-convict is worrisome, if not disgraceful. Even your wife will be referred to as the wife of the ex-convict, not to talk of your children. The stigma of living the rest of your life as an ex-convict can drive you to your untimely death. The stigma of living as an ex-prisoner is like stepping on chameleon faeces, if you clean, it ‘cannot go’. That is my worry for them and it should be the worry for these men and their family members.
If you go to jail as a political figure, there is nothing disgraceful about it. In fact, if you come out of jail you are hailed as a hero. Not so with those who go to jail because they were found culpable of corruption or willfully causing financial loss to the state. The universal word for these offences is ‘THIEF’. When Mr. Mahama was in power, he opened the floodgates for his people to milk the lean cow and now that they are being hauled to jail, he has kept quiet. But what can he say since he has his own problem with the issue of corruption. They say when a stone is falling down from the sky, each and everyone protects his or her head with his own hands.
In the case of Mahama, he is lucky because of the indemnity clause which is entrenched in the Constitution. But he should not laugh yet because a Pharaoh may come who may not know Joseph. The late General Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa and his team also had an indemnity clause entrenched in the 1969 Constitution but when Rawlings seized power, he set aside the clause and executed him. We are in an era of democratic dispensation but somebody can challenge the indemnity clause in court and win. When that comes to pass, Mr. Mahama will have nowhere to hide in this global village. If he decides to hide in Dubai where he has his landed properties, that will be too close. The best place for him to hide is Wuhan in China where the coronavirus originated because anyone who travels from Wuhan to Ghana will be returned to Wuhan with the next available flight.