The things that make history and change our perspectives and our lives have a way of intruding, unasked and uninvited in our daily lives.
Who would have imagined the beloved Ghanaian game of football would be the vehicle for such stunning revelations about the game itself and our government? One would have expected that the much-heralded Anas Number 12 investigative video featuring corruption in football administration would have been welcomed by all Ghanaians as a positive respite from our disappointing and mediocre performance in football on the national and international scenes. But much more was offered in the Anas video.
However, I am not one of those who throw up their arms helplessly complaining about the politicisation of all issues. Without political mobilisation behind any issue, that issue will lose legitimacy and relevance in our democracy. It is so in every serious nation. If the loud charismatic and pentecostal churches and their pastors lose political patronage, they will die off, made irrelevant by being denied the oxygen of political backing. This is just one example of the primacy of politics in society.
Some people in this country have an extremely corrupt and immoral view of corruption. This may seem a strange conclusion to reach, but it is true. What do we need the background or character reference of Anas for at this late stage of his professional career? That suddenly journalism must not be a well-paid profession and that journalists should remain impecunious state employees and political mercenaries with no hope of matching the material acquisitions of their counterparts everywhere? That an adult with a house or two or more is ipso facto a suspicious character? That having a widowed woman friend is impermissible in any circumstance? These are typical useless June 4 questions being asked 39 years after the event and best ignored.
Kennedy Agyepong championing this weird angle may better spend his time urging our Attorney-General to organise sting and entrapment operations and infiltrations of this kind to reduce the attractiveness of brazen corruption in Ghana. From as low a level as landlords who cheat tenants collecting enormous advance rents and sharing in our public services, we need desperately official entrapments and infiltrations, followed by prosecutions and convictions to raise the anti-corruption fight to new levels. Our judges will then come around eventually to see the need to assist the fight against corruption by looking favourably upon such initiatives.
But there are aspects to this video which may or may not play out in the coming weeks. The mention of the name of the President, the Vice-President, ministers and some presidential staffers linking them to business very far removed from football is sure to ignite calls for impeachment, censure, resignations, dismissals and the rest of doomsday scenarios for any sitting government. The circumstances are a bit different though. No one held a gun to the head of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, to mention these names. Even more important, he is only known as a wily football administrator, not the lawyer he is too or the banker and political fixer this video shows him to be.
Those aspects involving the main subject matter, football administration, are easily disposed of if our government and the GFA are so minded. The political aspects, however, will drag us all along. The government of President Akufo-Addo will be distracted by the absolute need to respond to every calumny founded or not as if we are in campaign season. A straightforward opportunity to clear our system of political fixers and corrupt powerful men in suit will be lost in the fierce but understandable partisanship in the coming weeks. It will not be a fight against corruption but rather one for pointless gamesmanship in Ghanaian politics. I must say I do not envy our government one bit because this video is solid proof of the unexpected twists and turns in politics. And as it progresses, nothing will get done which will stick in the minds of the electorate.
This is an opportunity the recently appointed Special Prosecutor and his deputy must seize with both hands to justify the office created only months ago. He has no choice in the matter because I heard him loud and clear at his vetting saying something like there are ways and means to track monies and properties acquired corruptly.
In all this, President Akufo-Addo is the person who stands to lose the greatest. The public officials mentioned all work under him. His name is also mentioned in unflattering situations. It is very easy to say in his defence that his party has a comfortable majority in Parliament and that the next election is more than two years away, enough time to put things right.
However, democracy is basically government by public opinion and that is where his greatest test will come. As I said earlier, the mentioning of his name was not forced out of the lips of the protagonist in this video. This means a lot in the estimation of all right-thinking men and women in this republic.
A few insights from the reactions and commentaries of those who watched the video are in order. First, Nyantakyi displayed a deep and intimate knowledge of the ruling party belied by the view of Deputy Chief of Staff Abu Jinapor that he was a mere passing acquaintance of the President. And that knowledge is very unflattering of the government to be charitable.
Second, the vaunted crusade against corruption never ever even got off the ground with the change in government. Third, the official and ruling party panic and reaction is well grounded. The sudden unexplained dismissals of certain chief executives of state institutions who happen to have been accused of corruption by the opposition in recent times last Wednesday is proof of that panic. Fourth, our politics will not be the same again. Never will we easily believe things told us from political soapboxes again. We have been rudely shortchanged. Good luck to all of us as we face the fierce political storms ahead.