Personally, I can count the number of times former President John Kufour has made any public statement since leaving office. He has pretty much kept to himself, except one or two instances where press statements had been issued in his name by Frank Agyekum, his aide. He is most of the time out of the country, something he loves to do even when in office. He competed fairly with former Nigerian President Obasanjo on presidential trips. No wonder they are friends.
But, like I said, he has spoken very little unlike colleague Jerry Rawlings. And anytime he speaks he’s been well measured in his statements. Apart from, and ridiculously so, his refusal to accept a number of vehicles given to him by the government as part of his ex-gratia. He could have gone to hell if I were in the shoes of the learned professor. But I’m not. I’m just a lonely journalist working hard to ensure at the end of the day I earn my daily bread. It appears the man often referred to as gentle giant has stepped on the political ‘balls’ of the learned Professor’s led administration, accusing it of corruption. And this has not been taken lightly, I must say.
Mr. Kufour, on Saturday 7th August, 2010 at a party’s function where once defeated presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo was re-elected, said the learned professor has sat down and allowed corruption to flourish. He said “ccorruption is becoming incarnate. We see corruption everywhere.” I don’t know but politicians behave rather foolishly and strangely anytime they see malnourished, jobless and unkempt party supporters. As if to excite them to escape from their own incompetence, they say silly things to keep their (supporters) minds from examining their jobless status. JAK was motivated by that and he said things which have ignited this whole pointless finger pointing game.
His comments did not go down well with ruling government who quickly, and unsurprisingly, launched a stinging attack on Mr. Kufour reminding him of those multi-million dollar pre-paid meter contracts his then struggling son back in the United States, and that of the famous hotel ‘waaaawaaa’ owned by another son soon after he became president. According to Deputy Minister for Information Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, the former president should be the last person to speak on the issue of corruption because he stings more than anyone.
He said the former president, while in office, had his private “residence renovated under suspicious circumstances.” The benefactor for the renovation of the house was said to be a farmer based in the Ashanti Region. It however turned out that the said farmer was a cook at the residence of the former president who, unable to cope with life, was drafted into his home to prepare late afternoon ‘ebunu-ebunu’ so the ‘oldman’ could get something to eat when he returns from work.
“We wish to also remind President Kufuor that it is his own associates and former working colleagues like Mr. Kwame Pianim and Hon. P.C. Appiah Ofori who have publicly lamented and condemned the nasty levels and quantum of corruption which he President Kufuor presided over when he was President,” Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa said in his statement.
Again, the statement made reference to the allegation leveled against Mr. Kufour by former NPP party chairman Haruna Esseku, who insisted that the castle, then under Kufour, had become a reservoir where ten percent kickbacks collected from contractors(both qualified and unqualified) are sent to, to the detriment of the party’s own coffers.
“It is significant to stress that despite the fact that President Mills is centuries apart from President Kufuor’s sordid corruption record which even the opposition including Mr. Kwame Pianim and several others concede to, President Mills has not awarded himself at state expense.”
The young minister who has a rather stinging tongue and good for such exercise said the former president’s unsavory remarks about how free expression has ‘stalled’ under the professor’s watch is nothing but petty. Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa reminded a man who could be his grandfather of how vindictively added more judges to the Supreme Court so that Tsatsu Tsikata would be sent from the comfort of his bed and family.
It’s rather sad that in the 21st Century you have the leadership of a country (both past and present) using their energies to throw mud at each other while the population wallow in abject poverty. The number of jobless youths is still on the rise, Accra, the capital, is in a messy state and provisions of quality social amenities still a distance dream to many. Rather than focus on these and other issues and resolved them, our politicians are foolishly busy telling us whose anus stinks and whose doesn’t.