Lately in the news has been the suspension of the General Secretary and Youth Leader of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) under the most bizarre of circumstances. It is believed that they were suspended based on their disagreement with the flag bearer of the Party, Mr. Ivor Kwabena Greenstreet, on the Ford Gift scandal that has rocked Ghana’s President, John Dramani Mahama.
The General Secretary of the CPP, Mr. Nii Akomfrah, is said to have called the Flag bearer to order for publicly stating that he doesn’t see anything wrong with what many hold as a clear case of conflict of interest, involving the President. Many pundits and anti-corruption crusaders hold that the revelation of the acceptance of a Ford Expedition Gift by the President, from a Burkinabe Contractor Oumarou Jibril Kanazoe, was clearly unethical and an incontestable case of conflict of interest. Mr. Kanazoe was given a road construction contract, after which he gave the said gift and had been invited to bid for another contract by the government of Ghana. However, Mr. Greenstreet disagrees with the anti-corruption crusaders and some sections of his party. He referred to the charges of conflict of interest as ‘bogus’.
Subsequent events saw the Youth League of the party taking the issue to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), so that the issue is clarified once and for all. The Youth League of the CPP held that, such an allegation hanging on the image of the Presidency does not cast Ghana in any good light and brings the whole nation into disrepute. They argued that, lack of clarity on issues of corruption encourages other politicians to do same, knowing that the issue will be engulfed in media outcries with no punitive consequences whatsoever. The Youth therefore said they had petitioned CHRAJ on the matter to bring some level of closure and transparency to Ghanaians. This development angered the Flag bearer of the CPP who, during his turn at the IEA Policy Platform, threatened suspension of the Youth League Leader, Commander Ernesto Yeboah.
Notwithstanding Mr. Greenstreet’s threat, most Ghanaians were shocked when the Media eventually broke the news on Thursday June 30th that the General Secretary and Youth League Leader had been suspended by the Central Committee of the party, pending their facing the disciplinary committee. The more intriguing aspect of this suspension saga was the fact that interviews with some members of the Central Committee, who were in attendance that day, appeared shocked at the decision. They revealed that the Central Committee meeting had come to an end, and they had left the meeting venue.
However, they revealed citing some members of the Central Committee coming in rather late. They indicated that the decision must have been taken after they left the meeting venue. They explained that the claim by Kadiri Abdul Rauf, The Communications Director of the party, that the decision to suspend the duo was unanimous cannot be entirely true. Interestingly, Mr. Kadiri couldn’t disclose to the media the Central Committee member who moved the motion for suspension, nor the seconder. Neither could he provide the exact basis on which they were suspended. Though he was part of the meeting, he said he could only speculate that it was due to the Ford Gift Saga and other charges, which he could not articulate when he was questioned.
The development has left many anti-corruption advocates dumfounded, with the likes of Vitus Azeem, of Ghana Integrity Initiative, accusing Greenstreet of not being fair to Ghanaians. One will recall that Mr. Greenstreet’s position on the Ford Saga is in direct contrast to the charges he directed at the National Democratic Congress(NDC) during their national congress in 2014. Some have argued that the suspended officers may have violated the structures and processes of the party. On the other hand, the argument is clearly made that, the flag bearer who dismissed the corruption allegations without consulting the party, and went ahead to issue threats to the suspended Youth Leader, prior to the suspensions, had also clearly flouted party structures, and Justice can’t be said to have been done by suspending those who disagreed with him; and his inclination to associate the party with such flagrant tolerance for corruption. Others have made the point that the party would have been better off addressing the issues amicably; rather than suspending those who sought clarity on the alleged issue of corruption or possible conflict of interest regarding the President. This current situation they said clearly doesn’t reflect well on the CPP.
Ivor Greenstreet at the NDC Congress In December 2014
Many, as a result of this faux pas, have sort to describe the Central Committee of the CPP as condoning corruption. However, our checks have revealed that, many are the highly placed persons and men of integrity in the CPP’s Central Committtee, who could not possibly have condoned the seemingly nefarious decision taken by some members of the Central Committee of the Party.
The decision taken by a section of the Central Committtee is however being made to reflect on the image of these men of high repute, including the likes of Mr. Kwaw Ansah, Dr. Agyeman Badu Akosa, Mr. K.T Dadize, Mr. Ekow Duncan, Danaa Nantogmah, Mr. Kwamena Benyarko, among others.
In order that the image of the CPP is cleared and the party not reduced to a pawn in the scheme of corruption related matters, it is crucial for these men of substance in our society to bring their voices to bear, to ensure that the CPP is not continuously dragged in the mud as a party filled with men and women with affinity for corruption, a clear departure from the party’s stated ideology and believes.