By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Folks, when it was reported that President Mahama had nominated Emmanuel Habuka Bombande (former Executive Director of the so-called non-political civil society organisation called the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP)) as a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and a John Bless Oti as the Deputy Minister of Local Government, I wondered what might be prompting such a move at this time.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been without a Deputy for some time now, leaving the substantive Minister (Hannah Tetteh) alone to do the job of selling Ghana to the international community.
Not so in previous circumstances when there were about two Deputy Ministers for that sector. So, what has woken up the appointing authority to bring in Bombande? And why Bombande? An attempt to compromise him as critics have alleged in the appointment of the anti-corruption campaigner, Batidam?
The nomination of John Bless Oti came as a huge surprise, clearly because he isn’t known. Who is he and why does the appointing authority think that he is the most suitable appointee for this all-important portfolio? Now that there is tension as a result of the inability of the political authorities at the Ministry of Local Government to reach an agreement with the CLOSSAG for the smooth-running of affairs at that Ministry, is it really necessary to nominate someone who is carrying so much baggage by way of authentic identification? Credibility problems at issue here already!!
Hardly has the dust settled than interesting occurrences have cropped up to give us some anxious moments about these nominations and the intricacies. These moments provide some comic relief, even as they reflect a lot about our Ghanaian condition in terms of political office-holding. They do so too to remind us of how the injection of religiosity into national politics is more of a problem than a solution.
We take on what happened during the vetting of Mr. Bombande to set the stage for the comic relief. According to him, there is nothing wrong with his being nominated for the post because he has always been tilted toward the NDC for its social democratic ideals. Without a card-bearing member of the NDC or not, he believes that social democracy is the route for human salvation.
Buttressing his belief with allusions, he noted that even Jesus Christ was a social democrat. To him, “although Jesus was born for the entire world, He was largely fighting for the poor and the down-trodden and protecting their interests…. “Jesus Christ was the first social democrat.” (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/I-m-NDC-Jesus-Christ-was-a-Social-Democrat-Bombande-457505).
His claim is interesting for all that it entails; but the rejoinder by the NPP’s Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu adds a different complexion to the comical aspects. To him, Jesus Christ did not only work for the poor, but also for the rich… Jesus Christ loved good things and always associated Himself with the rich because he believed in prosperity.”
Really? Why would Jesus then tell Nicodemus to go and sell his property (to become poor) and “be born again” if he wanted to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Or for him to establish the eye-opening paradigm of the “eye of the needle”? Or to enter the temple and lash the money lenders and others seeking to enrich themselves while desecrating his “father’s house”?
This part of the proceedings in Parliament stand out for all that it is. Jesus worked for the “poor in spirit” to redeem them, even as the rich in material things ridiculed him and worked hard for him to be crucified.
Bringing this issue to the workings of our Parliament and using it to undermine the integrity of Bombande really spices our politics for the wrong cause. Perhaps, Bombande’s elevation and inclusion in government only confirms suspicions that all those parading as a-political or Non-Governmental entities are nothing but disguised partisan political activists with biases that they nurse into fruition for political appointments!! And there are many on our Ghanaian horizon. Their public posturing and rhetoric belies all that they claim not to be doing. Liars and hypocrites to be pooh-poohed!! What are the implications for our democracy, then?
I have little to say about the controversy and embarrassment surrounding John Bless Oti. Naming is important, and the fact that he is himself not sure of what constitutes his official name(s) should alarm us. In our kind of situation where people indulge in fraudulent acts to gain undue advantage, his particular example is regrettable, and he should be told the truth.
Where is he coming from? He is not known for anything. What exactly are the qualities that have recommended him for the position that President Mahama wants him to fill?
Folks, until anything new happens, we see these developments as a huge comic relief, even if they are disturbing enough to jolt us. We end with these questions: What is the urgent need for Deputy Ministers for Foreign Affairs and the Interior at this time if we have lived without them all this while? And why nominate those who raise more questions than answers?
It is likely that Bombande will prevail; but John Bless Oti may not, clearly because of the credibility problems aroused by his chain of names!! It is not good for an appointee to be so caught up. His fate will cast a serious doubt on the appointing authority and catalyze the Sam Okudjeto-led campaign of calumny. Not good for President Mahama and his government at this time. It is not too late for President Mahama to change his mind and nominate a different person. This John Bless Oti is a wash-out and should be brushed aside to help matters. I’m off for now, unhappy at these developments, but will return!!
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