Mahama, Double Salaries and Economic Austerity

I don’t suppose for one-split second that Kwame Gonja has the least bit of an inkling of what the sociopolitical concept of “Economic Austerity” means. So, I am not even going to attempt to debate him on this clearly “rocket Sciency” concept with the most profligate and kleptocratic Fourth Republican Ghanaian leader. The rather ideologically loaded tag of “Kleptocrat” is not one that was attached to former President John “Akonfem-Kanazoe” Dramani Mahama by yours truly, as most students and observers of postcolonial Ghanaian politics may already know. Rather, it was ceremoniously conferred on the former Communications Minister by the very Maximum Dictator and career coup-plotter who made the long-retired National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Gonja-West Constituency his Communications Minister.

Indeed, it was the late former President Jerry John Rawlings who publicly, incessantly and emphatically, over the course of at least the last 10 years of his life, disconsolately lamented the fact that he had ever groomed the likes of Kwame Gonja for the highest office of the land because, according to the old bloody dictator, the pathological thievishness of Kwame Gonja easily made the Ignatius Kutu Acheampong Gang seem like Angels from Paradise. Well, Dear Reader, you have aptly guessed it: in this column, we intend to take up the otherwise patently pedestrian issue of the recent decision by the Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee on Emoluments to recommend that both of Ghana’s First and Second Ladies, namely, Mesdames Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Samira Bawumia, respectively, be put on the same salary scale as cabinet appointees.

Well, the problem that former President Mahama clearly appears to have with the preceding recommendations is that it had not been formulated and implemented by one of the leaders of the Jerry John Rawlings-founded National Democratic Congress (NDC), but rather by the President or leader of a political party that Mr. Mahama disdainfully considers to be thoroughly composed of second-class Ghanaian citizens (See “Paying Presidential Spouses Separately is not Legal – John Mahama” 7/9/21). Furthermore, our “distinguished” and authoritative critic tells us that the “convention” of paying allowances to the spouses of former Heads-of-State and Presidents has existed as part of the budgetary expenditures of The Presidency since the inception of Ghana’s Fourth Republic, that is, beginning with the first term of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings, the half-Ghanaian and half-Scottish leader who literally slaughtered more of his predecessors and political and ideological opponents than any other Ghanaian leader before or since.

As well, Kwame Gonja does not specifically state it, but it well appears that the “Convention” of paying allowances to the spouses of past and former Heads-of-State and Presidents and, one presumes, Prime Ministers, as well, was a reparative or palliative mode of soothing the guilty conscience of the bloody Trokosi Nationalist Butcher and, perhaps, as a backdoor or secretive means of buying the forgiveness of the wives and relatives of the leaders that Mr. Rawlings and his Gang of Mercenary Thugs slaughtered with reckless abandon in the name of “Revolution” and “Probity, Accountability, Transparency and Justice.” In short, it was a mischievous means for Mr. Rawlings, his associates and minions like Kwame Gonja to play Santa Claus or Father Christmas. This flagrant and underhandedly established “Convention” is what the key operatives of the Akufo-Addo Administration ought to have publicly exposed, first and foremost, before proceeding to implement the very progressive recommendations of the Ntiamoa-Baidu Emoluments Committee.

The egregious failure to do so has offered the operatives of the National Democratic Congress undue advantage to make undeserved and cheap capital out of them and in the process, making these NDC leaders grotesquely seem as if they cared more about the protection of “The National Purse” – my profound apologies to President Akufo-Addo – than the Judgment-Debt prone leaders of the National Democratic Congress who have bled our beloved country more economically than any other political establishment in postcolonial Ghanaian history. What especially needs highlighting here is the fact that the Rawlings-fangled “Convention” that Mr. Mahama refers to in his afore-referenced article, was and is at its very core no more legal than the present Ntiamoa-Baidu Emoluments Committee recommendations which, by the way, is actually far more legal and legitimate because at least it was submitted to Ghana’s 7th Parliament for official approval via a clearly unimpeachable process.

Now, we may not all agree with the process by which such approval was granted. But it still stands to reason that the proper procedure was followed, whereas in the case of the Rawlings-fangled “Convention,” the payment of quarterly allowances to the spouses of former Ghanaian leaders was clearly done illegally and downright criminally. It is also rather absurd for Mahama to assert that our present economic austerity does not make it conducive for the salary emoluments to be so liberally and generously extended to Mesdames Akufo-Addo and Bawumia when under the then-President Mahama’s tenure, under even harsher economic conditions, dozens of his own ministerial appointees were allowed to criminally draw double monthly salaries. On the latter count, however, the greater degree of the blame must be placed on the doorstep of President Akufo-Addo, who scandalously and flatly refused to lead by letting Kwame Ali Baba’s cronies get away with their “capital” criminality.

Mr. Mahama also shamelessly advertises his gross administrative incompetence, when he bitterly complains that his calls for the establishment of an Independent Emoluments Commission had literally fallen on deaf ears. Now, this is a man who “served” at the Presidency for some 8 years! Precisely who did the former President expect to establish the sort of Independent Emoluments Commission that he is bitching about here? My profound apologies to my rights-fighting mothers, sisters, daughters and granddaughters. Of course, it is quite obvious that Kwame Gonja expected “The Little Man from Kyebi” to so all the Monkey Work, while the former “Baboons” his way around the Presidency.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department. SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

July 10, 2021



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