When the NPP was kicked out of power, Kwadwo O. (is it Odisika or Opesika?) Mpiani must have known that he would be required to answer a lot of questions to answer over so many things including the blatant thievery that characterised the needlessly flamboyant Ghana@50 celebrations and the criminal sale of government property to NPP stalwarts.
Kwadwo Mpiani is nicknamed the “headmaster”. That name, which he seldom objects to, has as much to do with the shape of his head as with how he ran roughshod over almost every minister in the Kufuor administration. Until just a few months ago, Mpiani was considered to be one of the most powerful men in Ghana – second only to his boss. In fact, he was more powerful than the vice president. Kufuor took his word as the gospel truth and the members of the administration took whatever rolled off his tongue as the law.
No one was surprised when news broke that BNI agents were looking for Mpiani. The agency was lenient enough to allow him to offer the spurious excuse that he couldn’t make himself available for questioning because he was attending funerals (plural!) in his village and that he would hand himself in when he returned to the national capital. The BNI obliged and I wonder if the BNI will extend such niceties to me if the need ever arises for them to ask me a few questions.
Under Mpiani’s government, the BNI followed a man to his place of worship and arrested him there. The current government decided, quite rightly, that two wrongs don’t make a right and therefore allowed Mpiani to bury his dead in dignity.
After the funerals he returned to Accra and dutifully reported himself to the BNI. About six hours into the interrogation, NPP stalwarts – including those who defended the arrest of Tsatsu Tsikata in a church and the long hours of his interrogation – decided that they did not understand why the BNI had held Mpiani for so long. These same people did not see anything wrong with the BNI interrogating Jerry Rawlings (a former president, no less) for well over eight hours. Today, they feel it’s wrong for their former chief of staff to be held for more than six hours by the same agency.
One cannot take away the right of members of the NPP to speak and challenge whatever they may. No one can stop them from blatantly exhibiting their hypocrisy.
But the action they took on Tuesday – storming the offices of the BNI in the manner they did – was the height of irresponsibility, especially considering that these are men and women who pride themselves as advocates of the rule of law. The NDC did same in 2001 when Rawlings was being questioned and the NPP condemned it. What has changed so much that what was wrong eight years ago is right today?
In any case, the BNI did nothing untoward in detaining Mpiani for that long. It wasn’t the first time a man has been held for that long and it certainly will not be the last. The law allows the security agencies to keep anyone for not more than 48 hours and as proponents of the rule of law, the NPP know better. It was a dangerous thing to do. It could have degenerated into violence and people would have been maimed and lives possibly lost.
I can only presume that they acted the way they did out of fear. They are pissing in their pants, fearing that Mpiani would crack under pressure and start singing. The man knows too much and his words could implicate dozens in the NPP’s looting brigade.
What the NPP supporters did at the gate of the BNI (practically staging a demonstration at night) was a shameful strategy, in what appears to be a psychological war with the Mills administration. With that action, they were simply sending a message to the government that they will try and do whatever it takes to frustrate any attempt to unravel the terrible rot Kufuor presided over. Their aim is to get President Mills and his lieutenants scratching their heads over the possible repercussions of their intended corruption probes on safety and security.
The government should not budge! No one is above the law in this country. I will be very disappointed if the government allows the NPP’s nonsensical show of political machismo to weaken its resolve to delve into the corruption Kufuor and Mpiani supervised. Ghanaians want to know. Ghanaians need to know and all those who might have some of the answers should be questioned for as long as the law allows.