The issue of corruption in the John Mahama administration reared its ugly head in Parliament yesterday when some MPs reacted to a publication in the current edition of Africa Watch magazine during the debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address.
In the course of the debate, the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, intervened on the issue of corruption in government and brandished the Africa Watch magazine which had one of its front page stories headlined, “Ghana, the Republic of Corruption,” to demonstrate the level of corruption in the present government, with the Minority Leader stressing that the group was ready to debate the deep-seated corruption in President Mahama’s government – which had gone ‘international’.
Government has expressed outrage at the magazine reference to Ghana as the republic of corruption.
The magazine, which culled the views of personalities such as Rev Fred Deegbe, former Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana and Nana Akomea, former Member of Parliament among others, stated that “corruption in the West African Nation of Ghana is as old as the country’s modern political history.”
However, it said “Under John Dramani Mahama’s presidency, corruption is becoming a wide ranging phenomenon.”
It also stated that while corruption had dogged all of Ghana’s post-independence governments, President Mahama’s administration seemed to have suffered most in the eyes of the public because of what some have described as the “laissez-faire attitude” of the President to the canker.
The article further called for a revolution to tackle the corruption canker.
The MPs including Ursula Owusu-Ekuful were very vocal on the deep-seated corruption in government.
The debate on the State of the Natio Address by parliamentarians began with most ministers of state and Members on the Majority side absenting themselves to attend an ‘important’ National Executive Committee meeting of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the party’s headquarters.
The Minority New Patriotic Party Chief Whip, Dan Botwe, in the course of the debate, drew the attention of the First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton Odro, who was then presiding, to the importance of Members, especially ministers of state, being present while debate on the address was going on, but unfortunately, most ministers were not present during the first day of the debate.
“Mr. speaker, I want to draw your attention to the fact that this debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address is a very important debate but unfortunately, on the Majority side, I can count just about 40 Members being present – out of the 148-Member Majority – with no minister of state present,” he said stressing that the debate on the address was a very important parliamentary duty that required the presence of ministers, and as much as possible, greater number of Parliamentarians.
The Majority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed, explained that it was not the intention of the ministers to absent themselves from such an important parliamentary debate, adding that most of them had to take permission to attend “a very important NEC meeting.”
The Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, on Friday advised ministers to be present during the debate.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu, opened the debate, touting the achievements of the Mahama administration.