Change of Governments: An Opportunity for Witch-Hunting

On 7th December, 2016, Ghanaians went to the polls and resoundingly voted in the general elections for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party as the person and party respectively to handle government business for the next four years. The incumbent government, National Democratic Congress has been in government since 2008 when the late Professor Evans Atta Mills took office from the Kuffour administration.

Typical of incumbent governments, opposition parties are accused of abuse of office and incumbency, mismanagement and corruption and a level of neglect for the people who elected them into office. As a result of this, many incumbent governments work toward re-election to allay the fears of the electorates and to buttress the point that the opposition parties were wrong in their assertions. Change of government everywhere around the world is characterized by many developments. One of the main things that every new government is always accused of is witch-hunting. This is the act of unfairly looking for and punishing political opponents. Essentially, it is a targeted attack aiming to humiliate one person or group of persons for reasons that may not be necessarily tangible. Come 7th January, 2017, President John Dramani Mahama would be handing over the mantle of governance to the president-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Both the NPP and the NDC have all had some track record in witch-hunting. It can be recalled that when the NPP came into power, its government tried and jailed Tsatsu Tsikata. Tsikata was tried for causing financial loss of GH¢230,000. After a trial through the Accra Fast Track Tribunal, one of many set up by the Kufuor government to try such cases, he was found guilty. The trial lasted for six years and he was pronounced guilty on 18th June 2008 by Mrs. Justice Hernrietta Abban. The length of the trial is reputed to be the longest ever involving a former government official in the history of the country. The same NPP government also put Victor Serlomey on trial for alleged embezzlement of state funds. After being found guilty and imprisoned. Victor Serlomey died in prison. When the NDC was in government from 2008, it put a number of NPP members on trial including Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Asamoa Boateng and Wereko Brobbey.

In the wake of many scandals and issues of corruption that were levelled against some members of the John Mahama-led administration including Alfred Woyome’s payments, SUBAH and SADA, it would only be a matter till we find out if an Akufo-Addo –led government would resort to witch-hunting under the guise of recouping money that was taking from the public purse illegally.   

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