In February 2020, a UK court revealed one of the biggest corporate scandals that have hit the world. The scandal involved Europe’s largest aerospace multinational, Airbus, after the UK court revealed that the airline company had paid bribes intending to secure contracts in Ghana, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Taiwan and Ghana. In the case of Ghana, it emerged that some top-notch officials of the then Mills and Mahama administration between the 2009 and 2015 took bribes from the air company, Airbus in exchange of contracts. Although the judgement of the case did not explicitly mention former president John Dramani Mahama as one of the officials who was involved in the bribery, it hints of one Government official 1 who is believed to have facilitated everything. The person, Government official 1, was described by the Crown Court at Southwark as “a high ranking elected government official”. The description, amidst other reasons such as, the period within which the scandal occurred, have caused many to allege Government Official 1 to be John Dramani Mahama.
John Dramani Mahama is currently the flagbearer and the leaders of the largest opposition political party in the country, the National Democratic Congress. And with this new bribery scandal rocking his boat, many have wondered and voiced out reasons why they believe the scandal would affect the campaign and chances of the former President winning the 2020 presidential elections. According to the President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, he believes that should the NDC and former President Mahama not do anything to vindicate their leader, the scandal stands a higher chance of wrecking their chances of winning the elections. In an interaction with Accra based radio station Citi FM, Franklin Cudjoe said, “It will have some ripple effect. That is why we need damages to unveil all of this. It is most likely that because it was his administration that has been fingered in this matter, definitely his campaign will take a bit of a hit to the extent that, although he has not been mentioned in particular, it was his administration that was involved– partially as a vice president and later, a president. I’m sure he’s had to take the heat just as we are apportioning blame to the presidency when there have been several acts of corruption under this administration,” he said.
This article would explain why the NDC should not present John Dramani Mahama as a party flagbearer.
To begin with, the presentation of a candidate who is allegedly involved in multiple corruption scandals as a flagbearer projects a party that does not stand by their core values. In the 2008 NDC manifesto on page 24, here is what the party said about corrupt officials:
“An NDC Government will not make any excuses for corrupt ministers, officials and office holders generally. We shall promptly investigate allegations of corruption and allow the law to take its course.”
If the NDC does not make any excuses for corrupt officials, then they must not allow Former President Mahama to lead them into a general election. The Airbus matter has been investigated overseas, and there are hints former President Mahama was actively engaged in facilitating the purchase of the aircraft. According to their manifesto, the party ought to have made John Dramani Mahama step aside for investigation to be thoroughly carried out, and his name vindicated. Any other actions contrary to this, suggest that the NDC is not truthful to its party guidelines and as such cannot be trusted to rule the country with honesty should they be voted to office.
Also, the NDC must not allow John Dramani Mahama to lead the party into the general elections because to most Ghanaians, he is a walking and living contradiction. In his 2016 State of the Nation Address, Former President Mahama said “Corruption is a disease, which left unchecked can choke and kill a nation. It is an enemy of progress and development and a threat to peace and security. It is, therefore, an obligation on all of us to mobilize our efforts in the fight to eradicate corruption.”
In his parameters, he describes corruption as something which can choke and kill a nation, as well as an enemy of progress and a threat to peace and security. By fair application of understanding, people who are corrupt or are fingered in practising corruption can also be referred to as people who can choke and kill a nation and people who are enemies of progress and must be fought against. John Dramani Mahama has been fingered in numerous corruption scandals, from the famous guinea-fowl scandal to the brewing Airbus scandal and is yet to vindicated. By mere presentation of him as a candidate, the NDC is expressing their unwillingness to fight corruption, but should the party set an example of him and sideline the former President till he is proven innocent, then psychologically the party would be by actions emphasizing to Ghanaians their commitment to fighting corruption.
Lastly, Should the NDC keep John Dramani Mahama as party flagbearer, the party is likely to contest the elections with a candidate who isn’t well-publicized to match Mahama. In the Constitution of Ghana, it is cut and dry in Article 69(1) b (I) that:
“A President shall be removed from office if he is found to have conducted himself in a manner which brings or is likely to bring the high office of President into disrepute, ridicule or contempt”. It has not been proven yet that Mahama is Government Official 1, but the matter is progressing. If it is revealed that he is Government Official 1 in just a couple of months to the election, the damage to the John Dramani Mahama brand will be disastrous. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is probably investing money in reviving the Airbus Scandal, if that is true, it will be the very first corruption scandal which will directly have the person of the President involved. All the other ones were appointees and other members of the government, but this is himself deliberately preconceiving thoughts to ‘steal’ state resources. If the government decides to take up the matter for investigation, Mahama may be ‘ineligible’ to run for the presidency because he’s under investigation by the state. I’m sure he will even want to step aside. Furthermore, should evidence prove that he is government official one, then according to Article 69 (1) b (I), the former President constitutionally would be disqualified from contesting. At that time, the NDC cannot have a ‘reasonable’ and an equivalent replacement of John Mahama, who would have enough social gravitas to be able to contest Nana Addo and win.
In short, to prove the NDC commitment to fighting corruption and to protecting the public purse and to prevent a situation where the NDC would go to the polls with a candidate who is less appealing to voters, the NDC must rescind on its decision of maintaining John Dramani Mahama as its flagbearer.
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