President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s victory in the 2016 presidential poll is partly attributed to his campaign message. He made so many promises and rode on the back of alleged corruption in the John Mahama government to come to power.
His 2016 Campaign took a dead aim at the then administration criticizing it for what his team described as “mismanagement of the economy.”
Former President John Dramani Mahama
The 2016 manifesto of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) catalogued several alleged instances of corruption in the Mahama-led administration such as the rehabilitation of the runway at the Kumasi Airport at the cost of $23.8 million when it had estimated it will cost $25 million to build a new Airport at Ho in the Volta Region. There was also the past government’s used of nearly $1 million out of $3.65 million oil money earmarked for railway development for the rebranding of the 116 Metro Mass buses.
To cure the corruption in the system, the NPP promised an anti-corruption policy based on three key pillars: institutional reform, legislative reform and attitudinal change/public education.
A rebranded Metro Mass bus
Six months after his stunning victory and subsequent swearing in as the country’s 5th President, Akufo-Addo Tracker asks what the new leader has done to keep corruption at bay as he promised.
The President promised to set up, by an Act of Parliament, the Office of the Special Prosecutor who shall be independent of the Executive to be able to investigate and prosecute certain cases and allegations of corruption. The government said this will address the challenges posed by the lack of prosecutorial powers by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO). However, the President has not exhausted the process six months into office. One wonders how President Akufo-Addo hopes to fight corruption if nearly a year out of his four-year mandate he is yet to wrap his mind around who will best fit the Prosecutor position. This is a major setback in the fight against corruption. This means the system used by the past administration which he said encourages corruption will still be in use by members of his government.
Assets Declaration Regime:
It’s refreshing to know the President and most of his appointees have adhered to the asset declaration regime which was promised in the NPP’s 2016 manifesto page 136. But the promise to amend the law that require the Auditor General to publish periodically the list of all persons appointed under Chapter 24 of the Constitution to make way for an effective monitoring of the regime has not commenced.
Code of Conduct:
The governing NPP also promised to enact a “comprehensive” Code of Conduct to regulate public officials in order to give full meaning of Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution but this has not been done. It’s non-availability might encourage subtle corruption in his government.
Legislative and other reforms:
In the area of legislative reforms, the government has not done anything in this regard. The NPP promised to review the legal, regulatory and institutional framework for anti-corruption. It said it will
(a).amend the relevant sections of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act29), particularly sections 3, 151, and 239-257, to make corruption a felony rather a misdemeanor.
(b).reform laws to set time limits within which an appointing authority must fill any vacancy or confirm a person acting in that office where that institution has a watchdog role.
(c).ensure the passage of the Right to Information bill if the six Parliament delays in doing so [which it did with the help of both NDC and NPP MPs].
Attitudinal change/public education:
At least something is being done in the area of attitudinal change and public education though not well coordinated. President Akufo-Addo has often used any opportunity he gets to hammer on the relevance of protecting the state’s kitty from abuse. Some of his ministers have also made similar remarks but calls for attitudinal change appears disjointed which might affect the message itself. The NPP promised to resource the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to provide public education and sensitization on the negative effects of corruption. The Commission has been starved of funds by previous governments. Although we are yet to know how much has been allocated to the NCCE after the successful approval of the 2017 budget, I think retooling the Commission is one of the best way forward.
Gleaning from the above promises and matching them with what the government has done so far, it appears very little has been achieved by way of eliminating corruption.
Akufo-Addo tracker believes the President might be able to tackle corruption head-on if he translates his everyday rhetoric into action. The current state of Ghana does not need good speakers’ rather good doers.
Akufo-Tracker is dedicated to neutrally reviewing the actions of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and comparing them to his promises made on the campaign trail. Follow Akufo-Addo Tracker on Instagram: @realbrakopowers