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December 2010

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This morning, I presented a petition to the Constitutional Review Commission asking for the abolishing of ex-gratia payments to politicians. It was a pretty short ceremony that took place at the entrance of the Commission’s offices at Cantonment. Commission chair, Prof. Albert Fiadjoe, received the petition in the presence of the Executive Secretary, Raymond Atuguba and a few media friends of mine.

It was the culmination of weeks of signature campaign to kick against what I consider to be one of the most senseless provisions in the 1992 Constitution.

I want to thank all those who signed the petition – both the paper and online versions – for contributing to a worthy cause.

On behalf of all those who signed the petition, I also wish to convey my gratitude to Prof. Fiadjoe and his staff for taking in our submission even though it was submitted out of time.

To those who so badly wanted to sign but couldn’t do so for various reasons, all is not lost. There is yet another opportunity to stand up for what is right and join the crusade to get ex-gratia scrapped.

The CRC is taking submissions by text. Look out for the announcements and send in your messages against ex-gratia.

Under the text-messaging phase, you can also vote for or against the most popular amendment proposals Ghanaians have made towards the Constitution review exercise. This seems like a very innovative use of a simple technology towards a very important national exercise and, as I told the commission chairman today, I hope at the end of it all we would all have contributed to fashioning out a workable, sensible and fair constitution for our dear country. So let’s get texting.

‘Muntaka cleared’. That’s how the headlines read. The story didn’t come to me as a surprise. The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice had ‘exonerated’ former youth and sports minister, Muntaka Mubarak, of any wrong doing.

I wonder if there was any Ghanaian who had expected anything different.

A so-called pressure group, which had no link whatsoever to the alleged dealings that forced Muntaka Mubarak packing out of the sports ministry, filed the complaint at CHRAJ – without evidence. They had nothing to back their case and the two men who blew the whistle on Muntaka Mubarak were in no mood to help. They were in court fighting for their jobs after they had been hounded out of office for daring to snitch on their boss.

So, most definitely, there was no evidence for the commission to go on with. And that was exactly how the script was supposed to go. After government set on the two whistle-blowers, called them all sorts of names and forced them out of office, you don’t expect them – or anyone else – to be forthcoming with any information to ‘nail’ the man.

CHRAJ’s ruling would have been more convincing if the complaint at the commission had been filed by the men who first made the allegations against Mr. Mubarak.

Muntaka Mubarak’s whitewash, which started with the president describing his misdeeds as mere “indiscretion”, is almost complete. He has everything to be thankful for and no one can begrudge him. On the other hand, however, those who blew the whistle on him have everything to regret. I wonder if anyone would rate government’s handling of Muntaka’s ‘kyinkyinga’ scandal as an excellent example of how to deal decisively with corruption and rampant abuse of office. Whatever the case may be, I am pretty sure that we have not heard the last on this case.