Who Is Protecting This Nation?

To borrow a phrase from Africa’s most celebrated author, the late Chinua Achebe and modify it to suit my circumstances, I would say, ‘what that man Mahama will bring to Ghana is pregnant and nursing a baby at the same time’. Our country Ghana is boiling, majority of our people are dying slowly.

Adults are committing suicide, even teenagers whose ambitions in life at their tender ages are committing suicide because they do not see what the future holds for them. Hopelessness is written on the faces of very energetic young men and women who are ready to contribute their quota in a more meaningful way to build mother Ghana and also ensure their safety and security in future.

Mothers and fathers are unsure what tomorrow will bring in as far as their responsibilities towards their children are concerned. Business people cannot predict the future and plan their activities towards that. A state of hopelessness has clouded this nation; it seems the only hope of the majority of the people of this country for salvation, rests with the outcome of what is currently before the Supreme Court in respect of the 2012 general elections.

For the four years that this nation was put in the hands of John Mahama, yes, the late Atta-Mills was virtually not in charge, and as stated, my President Mahama himself was the one running this country. Not once in the history of this country has so much government approved corruption been so brazenly exhibited and normalized as we are witnessing under Mahama. Sometimes when the figures are mentioned, it is very difficult to believe that this nation’s financial resources could be so openly and wantonly dissipated with such flagrant and callous disregard for the basic needs of the majority of the people who shout for attention each passing hour.

While individuals are enriching themselves through naked stealing, institutions of state are also ignoring the basic rules and regulations governing the management of the nation’s resources, and the state seems unable to deal with the situation or acquiesces with these crimes against the state. Sadly, the only institution of state which has the power to check the excesses of the Executive and its allied agencies on behalf of the people of Ghana seems to lack the strength to act on behalf of the people of this country.

The 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution of the Republic of Ghana gives Parliament the powers to regulate the expenditure of the Executive. Article 108 (a) states ‘Parliament shall not, unless the bill is introduced or the motion is introduced by, or on behalf of, the President (ii) the imposition of a charge on the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana or the alteration of any such charge otherwise than by reduction; or (iii) the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana of any moneys not charged on the Consolidated Fund or any increase in the amount of that payment, issue or withdrawal;.

Article 179 (2) states that, ‘The estimates of expenditure of all public offices and public corporations, other than those set up as commercial ventures—

(a) Shall be classified under programmes or activities which shall be included in a bill to be known as an Appropriation Bill and which shall be introduced into Parliament to provide for the issue from the Consolidated Fund or such other appropriate fund, of the sums of money necessary to meet that expenditure and the appropriation of those sums for the purposes specified in that bill; and (b) shall, in respect of payments charged on the Consolidated Fund, be laid before Parliament for the information of members of Parliament.

My naked understanding of the above provisions, and as has been the practice since the coming into force of the Constitution, with the exception of the 1993, which was announced 48 hours before the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution just like the smuggling of Justice Francis Kpegah onto the Supreme Court without Parliamentary vetting as required by the Constitution, all the Financial Policies of governments since the coming into being of the Constitution have been put before Parliament for approval.

Indeed, clause (8) of Article 179 also states, ‘Where, in respect of a financial year, it is found that the amount of moneys appropriated by the Appropriation Act for any purpose is insufficient or that a need has arisen for expenditure for a purpose for which no sum of moneys has been appropriated by that Act, a supplementary estimate showing the sum of money required, shall be laid before Parliament for its approval’.

The above provisions in the Constitution therefore enjoin the President to seek Parliamentary approval for any expenditure from the Consolidated Fund or any other public fund. Conversely, the President cannot appropriate any public fund for whatever reason without making a request for such an appropriation from Parliament. With these clear provisions in our Constitution, the question that has to be answered is, did the Mahama’s administration seek Parliamentary approval for the extra GHC6 billion expenditure it took in the last quarter of 2012?

If it did not, what is Parliament doing to punish the Executive for this blatant violation of the constitutional provisions aimed at protecting the finances of the state from a spendthrift government with nothing to show for wasteful expenditure? Sadly, instead of Parliament holding the Executive accountable for the criminal dissipation of our resources in the midst of shortage of basic commodities like water, electricity and gas for domestic use, Parliament has given the same Executive more money to spend on God knows what again, without asking the Executive to cough up the moneys it wasted without Parliamentary approval.

Where is this country heading towards? That the President and his bunch of criminals can decide to mismanage our resources and there is no institution to call them to order? Nay that institution even defends it and gives it more money? That we virtually burnt GHC6 billion and the National Health Insurance is in debt to service providers to the point where they withdrew their services to the public, that the GETFund was cash-strapped to the point of not paying for the fees of students studying abroad, that contractors who worked for the Government of Ghana were not paid, you add the rest. That we are in energy crisis because the VRA is heavily owed by government and TOR cannot refine because it is also cash-strapped? Yet government spent GHC6 billion recklessly and Parliament is quiet?

That NADMO overspent by hundreds of millions of Cedis, LESDEP, NYEP, corruption at the Sports Council, GNPC burning the young oil revenue, and our Parliament is not questioning how those monies were spent by those affected institutions, including the Presidency before new monetary allocations are approved for them?

What kind of governance is this? Who is protecting the collective interest of this nation? For how long should those in whose hands this nation has entrusted its destiny be allowed to mess us up and expect us to be quite, groan and moan and slowly kill ourselves out of frustration and a sense of failure and hopelessness? When in the United States, President Obama, even in the best of times, had to virtually beg the Senate to approve his Appropriation Bill for him, in Ghana, our Parliament is virtually condoning a criminal act by the Executive, and is also not bothered by the contempt that the Executive has even shown to the law making body. VRA has no money to import crude oil to provide us with electricity, TOR cannot operate because it has no money, yet government over spent GHC6 billion. On what?

If the Executive can disregard Parliament in its constitutional duties and walk away with it, what laws in this country will not be disrespected by the citizenry? No wonder this country has become one piece of a lawless society where young teenagers can in broad day light, arm themselves with deadly weapons and riding unlicensed motorbikes, take the whole of Kumasi hostage.

Ghana my beloved country is sinking. Ordinary Ghanaians have no protection from those who are expected to protect them; their lives are endangered by the President who does not care a hoot about their suffering, while the Parliament which is supposed to represent them does not seem to see its way clear. So many are committing suicide to escape the untold hardships their fellow Ghanaians have imposed on them.

Aaaaa, aooooo, Davi, please give me four tots; don’t ask me why because times are hard and only mahogany bitters can calm me down.