Monday, March 8, 2010

Alhaji Muntaka, the albatross around Mill’s presidency?

Does the name Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka ring a bell? That might be a silly question to ask anyone in the public holding the anti-corruption torchlight.

Especially for those who have been following the footprints of the National Democratic Congress and holding them up against their commitment to fighting corruption, the name does ring a bell.

A former Minister for Youth and Sports, Alhaji Muntaka was forced out of government when it emerged he made false representation to the German Embassy in Accra to secure a visa for his ‘girlfriend’ to travel with him.

It also emerged that the same lady also travelled with the minister on a similar trip to Ivory Coast when Ghana played a football with DR. Congo at the maiden edition of a Cup of Nations involving local based players.

The minister’s conduct came to the light following reports made by a former official of his ministry who alleged that the minister had soiled his hands with filth, contrary to promises by government that they were going to ensure corruption, one of the campaign tools, is reduced to the minimum.

The incident happened barely a year when the government had taken power and it was a major embarrassment to the NDC- especially at a time when government officials and their supporters continue to accuse former government officials of the New Patriotic Party regime whom they said virtually left office with the country’s kitty hidden under the belly of former president Kufour and his cronies.

It was the perfect grenade conveniently handed out to the opposition elements or anti-government personalities who impressed upon the president to hand the minister over to the security forces for him to be prosecuted. But was government going to yield to this pressure?
That was a multi-million dollar question which still hangs on the mind of most people in the country.

The minister was one of few other youthful members appointed by the president to serve in hi cabinet. During his vetting in parliament his own colleagues advised him to serve as a role model to most of the youths in the country. He was one of three young ministers who organised a press conference and advised most of the country’s youth to stay off corrupt habits.

But did he follow that path? I am certain the debate on this will be lengthy and unfinished but for a case as sensitive as this to even choke President Mills during an interaction with the media recently, shows how hot the issue hanging around the neck of the president is.

The issue of corruption is very pervasive in the country and young people in the country have a responsibility to ensure it is curtailed. One of the tools most young people hope to use to effectively wage the war against corruption is the passage of the Right to Information Bill-which would compel state officials to voluntarily, without hesitation; hand over information requested for by one from the public.

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