Politics of Saturday, 8 July 2017
The troubles of former Minister of Transport, Dzifa Aku Attivor, are beginning to resurface following a call by colleague opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) member that she should be prosecuted and possibly jailed.
Bismark Tawiah Boateng, the Eastern Regional Chairman of the NDC, says he does not understand why Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is allowing the former minister to walk freely when she has a case to answer in the infamous bus branding saga that sparked heated political debate.
The NDC Chairman told Okay FM in Accra that Madam Attivor needs to be invited by the new government without delay to explain issues surrounding the branding agreement that was reached between the Ministry of Transport and actress Sellasie Ibrahim’s Smarttys Management and Productions Ltd for the branding of 116 Metro Mass Transport (MMT) buses at a staggering cost of GH¢3.6 million.
The branding had become a wasted exercise with the defeat of John Mahama, who apparently wanted to use it to gain electoral advantage as his picture and those of past presidents of Ghana were embossed on the buses, with only his portrait appearing in full colour.
“You see some of these things contributed to the party’s (NDC) defeat, but nobody paid attention to it,” Mr Tawiah Boateng noted.
According to the NDC guru, the NPP government should be bold enough to invite Madam Attivor for questioning and not entertain the fear that the government will be accused of witch-hunting its political opponents.
“The Nana Addo government should not tell us that because of witch-hunting they will let her go scot-free. No! She should be invited by the NPP government and explain to Ghanaians issues about the bus branding,” he urged.
Sometime in April, 2016, Dzifa Attivor, who had resigned as Minister of Transport following the GH¢3.6 million bus branding scandal, at an NDC public rally at Aflao in the Ketu South Constituency, entreated the people of the Volta Region not to vote for the NPP in the December elections because it (NPP) has a track-record of putting Ewes (people from the region) in jail.
She said that the previous Kufuor administration specifically jailed former NDC appointees, who hail from the region and went on to mention some of them as Dan Abodakpi and the late Victor Selormey.
She stated that if the NPP won the December elections, it would repeat the same thing by jailing only Ewes, including herself.
“When the NPP came to power in 2001, a lot of our people were sent to prison. Victor Selormey, Dan Abordakpi and so on were imprisoned. Was it because no other persons committed crime in Ghana? But it was only Ewes that they jailed… I want to entreat you not to do anything for Fifi Kwetey and I to go to prison. It lies with you all to ensure that no Ewe person goes to prison. So I am pleading with you to work hard and deliver the 120,000 votes target for the party in the constituency,” she was quoted as saying.
Dzifa Attivor’s comment sparked heated political debate, with some opinion leaders and personalities, including former President Jerry John Rawlings, condemning her.
In late October last year – in the heat of the electioneering campaign – Tawiah Boateng, who is calling for the prosecution of Madam Attivor, had said he anticipated tough times for NDC appointees, should the party lose the elections which it eventually did.
The apprehension among some elements of the then Mahama-led NDC administration over the possibility of then opposition leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo becoming president became visible when Mr Tawiah Boateng said plainly that the NPP should not be voted for because the opposition leader was capable of jailing them.
But this time round it’s the NDC top man who is calling for the prosecution of his fellow party member.