If a man promises you a hat, check his head first – Edward Adeti writes

Estimated read time 21 min read

Ghana award-winning investigative journalist and anti-corruption crusader, Edward Adeti has advised Ghanaians on their choices ahead of the 2024 general elections. Adeti who has done several ground-breaking investigative pieces, especially about corruption in the Upper East Region warned Ghanaians of political promises.

Using a story to send his message, Adeti whose work in 2021 led to the sacking of a senior State Attorney on grounds of corruption said most Ghanaians express anger towards corruption because they didn’t get their share. As soon as they get it, he said they will turn a blind eye.

Enumerating some of the incidents that the ruling NPP used as a springboard to win power in 2016, he said the same things have become godly under the very people who criticized them while in opposition.

He cautioned Ghanaians to be vigilant and critical of the promises politicians will make as they seek power because even those who promised heaven while in opposition have offered hell in power. Edward Adeti made references to then-candidate Akufo-Addo’s humility where he drank sachet water and Kalypo in public to portray himself as a man equal to the people.

According to Adeti, the same person acted as the magic sword to end Ghana’s corruption battle but turned to be the fuel that inflames it. The president has successfully earned for himself the name, “clearing agent” of corruption. Those who promised heaven and drank sachet water which cost 10 pesewas at the time have supervised the creation of a hell where the price of the same sachet water has quadrupled.

Read Edward Adeti’s full writeup

Ghana’s 2024 General Elections: A Wise Cripple Does Not Die in a Predicted War

Some years ago, a man suddenly snatched a bag from a woman under a busy bridge at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

Instantly, a crowd broke into a hot race after him, calling him a thief at the top of their voices as they pursued him religiously. In their midst was the owner of the bag, wailing in motion with both arms in the air. There was a lot of money in the bag.

The more the man ran with the stolen bag, the bigger the pursuing crowd grew behind him as more people joined the chase and narrowed the gap. Later, he began to show signs of tiredness. He looked back and, seeing that his chasers were close to grabbing him, dipped a hand into the stolen bag, fetched some of the money in it and threw the notes into the air in the direction of the crowd.

Even before the notes landed, a chunk of the crowd stopped running after him, grabbed the notes and went in different directions, abandoning the race they started a long way back. The remaining few good people, who did not show any interest in the share of the stolen money the thief threw at the crowd, paused and stood in shock.

The thief, by that tactic, succeeded in confusing and dividing the crowd. That gave him a chance to regain his comfortable lead, and he escaped. The few good people felt more disappointed in their compromised colleagues who turned out to be no different from the bag snatcher.

The owner of the stolen bag stood in complete bewilderment, feeling betrayed. She realised that there were more potential thieves to deal with than just the one who was bold enough to openly snatch her bag away for himself. She realised that among the crowd who supported her in pursuing the now-escaped thief was a large number of people who were only with her not because they were concerned about recovery and justice but because they had not had their individual share of the stolen money yet.

I am one of those who strongly believe that the skulls of some Africans should be opened at surgical laboratories and their brains examined to find out why our thoughts are generally inward and backward.

I think it is only when this is done something can then be done about what has been wrong with us for donkey’s years.

When the European missionaries introduced formal education to our forefathers even before our land broke free from colonial dominion by dint of costly struggles, our forefathers received it for us as a trusted light to guide us through a path they were not privileged to walk. They expected that the light would make us more reasonable, more truthful and more responsible towards humanity and the environment than they were.

That light, imparted and imbibed only within the four walls of the schools designed by the foreign initiators, spread across the continent. It gave us some opportunities our forefathers never had. But it did not make us any more honest or any more selfless than they were.

As we acquired the knowledge progressively, the inborn wisdom in us also left us gradually. And we rather became more sophisticated in stealing the public resources our ancestors expected us to protect and more heartless in destroying the environment they expected us to sustain.

How Deception Arrived

Between the middle of July 2012 and the first week of January 2017, Ghana was under the governance of John Dramani Mahama.

The country’s state of affairs during that period can be likened to the volume of a television or a radio set which a mother considers loud enough to prevent her sleeping baby having a sound sleep. So, she asks the baby’s elder sibling to turn down the volume so the infant is not inconvenienced. But the elder sibling, instead of turning the volume down, turns it up to a deafening degree that causes the baby to wake up and cry.

Ghanaians complained about political corruption, unemployment, energy crisis and economic hardship under Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC). The level of the distress they experienced under him was like how the volume was when the baby was still able to sleep.

During that time, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was campaigning as the opposition leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). By his side throughout his campaign tour was an economist, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, as his vice-presidential candidate.

Akufo-Addo’s background as a forceful human rights lawyer and his front-line participation in major anti-government demonstrations, which were staged much earlier during the Jerry John Rawlings era in the 90s, convinced Ghanaians that the corruption that was growing under Mahama would wither naturally under Akufo-Addo. And with an economist as his second-in-command, the electorate strongly anticipated that Ghana would be a prosperous nation with a better-managed pool of natural resources.

To convince Ghanaians that he would be a humble president, Akufo-Addo ate together with common people from ordinary plates in deprived settings. And to convince them he would not be an extravagant president, he drank water from sachets and sucked kalyppo, a boxed fruit juice produced in Ghana and mostly patronised by young people, through a straw in public places. His running mate did similar things, such as joining voters’ families to prepare meals, in public.

As they continued to portray themselves in this fashion to the masses, they were also telling the electorate that the Mahama Administration was responsible for the hardships they were facing. They constantly pointed at some scandals and controversial policies that came up under the government as reasons Ghanaians were suffering and, in their desperation for power, they vehemently promised to alleviate their suffering and pains through some new policies the NPP would introduce if Ghanaians entrusted the resources of the state to them.

Because Ghanaians are quick to trust anybody who puts God first, the NPP smartly adopted some gospel songs for its campaign to create an impression that a vote for the NPP was a vote for God and his truthful children. In fact, the party’s main campaign slogan was: “The Battle is the Lord’s”.

With the opposition NPP convincing the electorate that they were the Children of Light and Sons of Abraham, the governing NDC was made to look like the Forces of Darkness and Daughters of Jezebel.

Akufo-Addo’s Promised Paradise turns into Imposed Hell

Convinced by the NPP that the NDC was the country’s problem, Ghanaians threw Mahama out in 2016 and finally let Akufo-Addo in on his third presidential bid since 2008.

No sooner had Akufo-Addo taken over power than Ghanaians realised that he was only in to raise the volume of the television or radio set they thought was bad enough under Mahama.

When Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama were presidents, democracy was “a government of the people, by the people and for the people”.

But the definition of democracy changed under Akufo-Addo into “a government of some people, by some people and for some people”.

Scandals more frightening in size and frequency than those witnessed under Mahama sprouted and thrived under Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo made the soil of bad governance fertile for corruption by clearing his appointees implicated in evidence-backed scandals. And it became a crime, punishable by mob attacks and manhunt under his watch, for journalists to expose or talk about any corrupt acts linked to his government.

Cases of political corruption or scandal have become so rampant under Akufo-Addo that it now feels strange for a day to pass without Ghanaians hearing about at least one instance.

Ghanaians are groaning everywhere today under a worsening heat wave of economic hardship. The only people who are not complaining in the country are those who are stealing public funds and those benefiting from the stealing.

Under the Mahama Administration, about Gh¢7 was enough to fill the fuel tank of a motorcycle. Today, it takes more than Gh¢30 to fill the same tank with fuel. A packet of mosquito coil was sold for Gh¢6 when Mahama was in charge. Today, it is sold for Gh¢16. Ghanaians were buying bread for fun under the previous administration. Currently, Ghanaians are buying bread only when they really need it.

The kalyppo Akufo-Addo sucked publicly when he was running for president was only Gh¢1.50 at the time he promised to turn Ghana into a paradise. The same kalyppo is now being sold for Gh¢4.50 in Akufo-Addo’s paradise. The sachet water he drank during his campaign as an opposition leader to demonstrate an empathy for commoners was only Gh¢00.10 (ten pesewas). The same sachet water now costs Gh¢00.50 (fifty pesewas) under his government.

Before 2017, Ghanaians could step into any shops boldly and buy whatever they wanted even though life was not so easy at the time. But today they feel so scared to enter the same shops, like a guilt-stricken churchgoer who feels unqualified to join his or her fellow congregants at a Holy Communion service for committing a grievous sin earlier, because the prices of just the basic things they need are more than the money in their pockets.

Unemployment was one of the main issues Akufo-Addo and Bawumia used in their campaign against the previous government. Today, hungry graduate nurses and midwives are crying for jobs and teachers are going on strike nationwide every now and then over issues related to their jobs under the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government. The highest price of a bag of cement under Mahama was Gh¢34. Today, the lowest price of a bag of cement is Gh¢85 under Akufo-Addo and Bawumia. Some bags are going for Gh¢92 and Gh¢105.

While Ghanaians now buy common already-prepared food on credit by the roadside just to survive and they keep reading news about some people committing suicide publicly in the country because of economic hardship, Akufo-Addo and his likewise arrogant appointees and confidantes are living the same extravagant life they criticised heavily when they were in opposition.

Collapse of Key Sectors

Akufo-Addo promised to make education free at the senior high school level when he was looking for power. He implemented the policy after he took over power. But Ghanaians can now see that they exchanged quality education for free education.

It is like going to a cinema to watch a blockbuster and, because the movie producer says nobody should pay any entrance fee, the cinemagoers think they have been done a favour; but when they enter the cinema, they are disappointingly rather made to watch the video of a faulty ceiling fan and nothing more. That certainly is not a favour.

The students are entering the schools freely but they are not being taught thoroughly for sheer lack of commitment on government’s part to infrastructure and logistics. The students, unlike before, now spend weeks at school and months at home for lack of space on campuses.

The lessons they receive are so scanty that Ghanaians believe the ‘good results’ the students ‘achieve’ at the end of their senior high education are believed to be cooked up for them so as not to show that the NPP’s free education policy has failed. A free education minus quality is equal to a free relegation, and if you multiply it by faked results the answer you will get is a future affliction on our society.

While the country’s educational system is in serious danger, its criminal justice system, for that matter its democracy, is in jeopardy, too. This is so because Akufo-Addo has made some controversial appointments and elevations in the judiciary on a massive scale that is eroding the public trust in the judicial system.

The Ghanaians who are involuntarily sleeping outside their bedrooms at night nowadays are not few. There is a crisis in the energy sector, causing frequent power cuts across the country. When Ghanaians recently asked for a power-outage timetable from the government to enable them programme their activities particularly for safety reasons, the reply they received from the energy minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, was widely considered insulting. He brashly asked them to draw up their own power-outage timetable if they wanted one.

In July, 2017, Akufo-Addo said he was prepared to put his presidency on the line to fight illegal mining in Ghana. Later, some of his appointees were found to be involved in illegal mining. But he did nothing to have them punished for the offence. In January 2020, a former environment minister, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, announced that some excavators seized from some illegal miners and illegal mining companies had vanished.

A number of people, including some NPP members, were later arrested in connection with the missing excavators. In March, 2020, Akufo-Addo removed Prof. Frimpong-Boateng as chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM). In March, 2023, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng revealed that he was removed from office because he became a stumbling block to some big shots in Akufo-Addo’s government who were involved in destroying the environment through illegal mining activities. In October, 2023, he said he was disappointed in Akufo-Addo for showing no support in the fight against illegal mining.

The exchange rate of $1 in the Ghanaian currency was Gh¢3 under Mahama. A dollar currently under Akufo-Addo is valued at Gh¢14.

The mess in Ghana’s economic sector under Akufo-Addo and Bawumia saw an unprecedented collapse of indigenous banks. And it attained a rare height where a former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, who was appointed in 2017 as the leader of Ghana’s bench by Akufo-Addo, unexpectedly joined bondholders in picketing the premises of the Ministry of Finance against government’s inclusion of pensioners in its Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP). Never have Ghanaians seen anything close to this in their history.

The Vice-President who is Promising Hats but he’s Wearing none himself

Mahama announced plans to probe Akufo-Addo’s government and to recover every coin and every note that went missing from the public purse if he won the 2024 elections.

In response, Akufo-Addo, who had vowed to protect the same public purse if he became president and whose term ends as president on 7th January 2025, declared that he would do everything in his power and strength to help his vice-president, Bawumia, to defeat Mahama at the upcoming polls.

Recently, Akufo-Addo also stated strongly in public that he “can’t” hand over power to the Mahama he defeated twice.

In contrast, when Mahama was president, he never said he would not hand over power to the Akufo-Addo he defeated in 2012 even after he had supported Prof. Mills as a running mate in 2008 to defeat him. And when the time came to hand over to Akufo-Addo, Mahama did so peacefully.

The current food and agriculture minister, Bryan Acheampong, also has declared twice in public— in 2023 and in 2024— that the NPP will not hand over power to the NDC.

With the NPP’s Bawumia now in front as a presidential candidate, Akufo-Addo and Bawumia are back on the campaign trail trying very hard to use the old tricks the NPP used in 2016 to secure another victory in 2024 for another four years in power.

Once again, they are playing and singing gospel songs at their campaign events to delude Ghanaian voters into seeing them as God’s children.

Once again, the same old faces are making questionable promises to convince Ghanaians that they will deliver a paradise if given another four years in addition to the eight years of massive mess they have already had.

Just as Akufo-Addo went to Jerusalem and knelt in prayer before the Wailing Wall ahead of the 2012 general elections, Bawumia, very desperate to be the first Muslim to lead a Christian-dominated Ghana and to protect the current scandal-loaded government (of which he is part) from accounting its stewardship to Ghanaians under a different government, was in Rome last month and met with Pope Francis for support ahead of the 2024 polls.

What Ghanaians find so astonishing about the utterances Bawumia has been making since he emerged the NPP’s presidential candidate is that he tells Ghanaians everyday he is going to do away with the same harsh policies he and Akufo-Addo imposed on Ghanaians if they vote for him as president. These are campaign scams, not campaign messages, and they should treated as spams.

It is obvious that if he ever becomes a president, he will use the same reasons the current government (of which he is part as vice-president and leader of the country’s economic management team) cannot just do away with those policies today as excuses for failing to do away with them tomorrow under his own government.

Democracy tolerates unlimited deception because the constitution does not criminalise failed campaign promises.

If somebody promises you a hat, first check to see if the person is wearing one. If Bawumia is making new promises, the masses should first check if he has fulfilled the old ones he made. If he can provide tomorrow the life-saving solutions that are seriously needed today, he simply should provide them now.

The latest of Bawumia’s perplexing statements is that “churches should rather be paid instead of being taxed”. Obviously, it is one of the tricks being used to endear churches, where there are millions of voters, to himself and the Akufo-Addo government to boost up his chances at the polls.

The Disappointing Torchbearers

Some intellectuals, clerics, media practitioners, traditional chiefs, civil society organisations, youth groups and factional movements among some other torchbearers, who are supposed to be showing the way without fear or favour, are rather using every platform at their disposal to campaign for Bawumia.

Some were very skeptical and critical of every step taken by the ‘kill-and-smile’ Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government, but they now speak passionately in favour of the same government. The damage and the mess being done to the resources and future of the country are no longer their concern. They are comparable to the potential thieves who were chasing the bag snatcher at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange but withdrew from the chase as soon as the bag snatcher gave them their individual share of the booty.

When our forefathers welcomed on our behalf the schools introduced by the European missionaries, they expected that we would be more responsible and reasonable towards humanity and the environment after passing through the schools.

But the majority of us are rather worse off. A lot of our intellectuals are using the light or the knowledge they have acquired from the schools to destroy the heritage bequeathed to us.

A gang of knowledgeable looters, unreasonable Africans, are turning the ballot box into a Pandora’s box as they take over governments purposely for selfish gains. They are capturing and robbing the state through “the democracy of a few”. And there is another bunch of intellectuals outside the government backing the looters in government to stay longer in power for prolonged looting.

Both the elected looters and the self-hired backers are doing everything they can to prevent their opponents from taking over power to avoid unrestricted probe and public accountability. For these bad leaders and their intellectual allies, governance is just a deal. So, you can accurately call them democratically elected armed looters (DEAL).

They deliberately abuse democracy by using the state security services and the judiciary to protect themselves and to hold on to power while they loot the resources that belong to every citizen. That is why it is very important that when we as citizens engage some intellectuals to frame our constitution for us we should check their frame of mind first.

Africa’s democracies are on a serious decline. And I feel there is no democracy more threatened elsewhere on the continent than what we see in Ghana today where some innocent citizens now think suicide is the only escape route from a government-invented economic hardship or pain that seemingly is not going away.

There is no democracy more endangered elsewhere than what we see in Ghana today where bad governance, injustice, poverty and neglect have radicalised young and old people to a point where they are no longer afraid to die. There is no democracy more in tatters anywhere else than what we see in Ghana today where, while the governing party wants another four years, millions of voices are saying even its remaining seven months is too much.

Even though the winds blowing across Ghana suggest that the 2024 elections will see Mahama smoothly return to power to continue where he willingly left off on 7th January 2017, and sincerely or egoistically holding a contrary view that the NPP can win the polls without any unfair means could be a symptom of a serious delusional disorder that requires going for an emergency folder at the nearest health facility, a word still needs to go the Ghanaian voters who are still undecided in all of this record political mess.

A vote for Bawumia is a vote for looters and the beneficiaries of the loot. A vote for Bawumia is an extension of the ongoing massive plundering of the public purse and the resources that belong to all Ghanaians and not just a few people. Be wise when they are being nice to you again as they play-acted in the past. They were so nice to you before the elections. But remember the price you paid after the elections.

Remember how they promised a paradise but delivered a purgatory. Remember how they promised a breezy heaven but delivered a burning hell. Ask yourself if after keeping the public purse for about eight years so far, they are worthy of your trust to keep it for another four years.

Do not be like the self-seeking section of the crowd who stopped chasing the thief at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange after the thief gave them their own share of the stolen money. Do not show any respect for any intellectual or celebrity who does not show any concern for the public interest. Do not show regard for any individual or group who is not putting the country first ahead of their political party or ethnic group.

A wise cripple does not die in a predicted war. The economic hardship Ghanaians are facing today under Akufo-Addo is just a ‘battle’. What they will face under Bawumia in the event that he succeeds Akufo-Addo will be a ‘war’. A war is more devastating than a battle. Battles have fewer casualties than wars.

That ‘war’ should not be allowed to happen in Ghana. That is why I have written this piece. No abuse is bigger than a group of crafty self-seekers using the same old tricks to fool and fleece you again and again. Be a wise ‘cripple’ who will not die in a predicted ‘war’. Be that wise ‘cripple’ by voting wisely, correctly and vigilantly.

Source: Facebook/Edward Adeti

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