Ghana: ‘Those Who Want Me Out Should Wait for 2016’

President John Dramani Mahama has replied his critics, saying those who want to see him out of the presidency should bide their time because 2016 is not far away.

The president, in a muted response to stalwarts in the governing National Democratic Congress who questioned his governance style, said "For those who disagree with me and are anxious to see my back, [they are] not to worry, 2016 is not too far away. I will urge them to be patient; in this difficult job the least one expects is comradeship and solidarity"

He was addressing an orientation workshop for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives at the Local Government Training Institute in Accra, Tuesday. The president told the MMDCEs that "Leadership is a very difficult task and a lonely one."

He also used the occasion to reply his critics who say his inaction is allowing corruption to fester in the country. He said those who question his commitment and ability to fight corruption don't really know him well.

President Mahama and his government have come under intense criticism over their lax attitude towards fighting corruption.

A preponderance of media reports on graft, relating to government contracts and pilfering and plain stealing at governmental agencies, have at best attracted committee investigations commissioned by the government.

Civil society organizations have expressed worry over the lack of demonstrable commitment to fight the canker, with a former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administration Justice, Mr. Emile Short, saying the failure to apply punitive sanctions to persons found to have engaged in corrupt acts was aggravating the situation.

A senior member of government and former Majority Leader, Mr. Alban Sumana Bagbin, last week told Joy FM that he was yet to see any political leadership in the fight against corruption.

Mr. Bagbin said the use of ministerial committees to investigate allegations and reports of corruption was the wrong way of dealing with the canker.

However, the president, without mentioning any names, says those who doubt his ability the deal effectively with the increasing spate of corruption have misjudged him. He charged all MMDCEs to institute measures to fight corruption in their respective municipalities and districts.

"Recently, the issue of corruption, transparency and accountability has become topical. Our people expect us to demonstrate that we able to deal with the canker of corruption decisively, both in terms of putting in place the systems that make is difficult for corruption to thrive and also deal decisively with cases of corruption wherever they may arise. They also expect us to be transparent and accountable in everything we do; I send you to your posts with my full backing to do everything you can stamp out corruption," he told the MMDCEs.

He said although there were many anti-corruption legislations, some loopholes in the laws were being exploited by corrupt persons to "perpetrate the canker."

Government, he said, would in the next few announce new measures designed to tighten controls and make it impossible for corruption to thrive.