President Nana Akuffo Addo has one gigantic problem on his hands, and it is in the person of his bosom good friend, Mr. Kwame Owusu, the combative director general of the Ghana Maritime Authority.
Mr. Owusu, until his recent outburst on national media was an unknown quantity. Millions of Ghanaians have never heard of this gentleman. In fact, they couldn’t differentiate him from Adam.
But those Ghanaians who had the patience to sit through the press conference where Mr. Owusu vociferously and aggressively refuted charges of corruption and double dipping, came away with the impression that he is abrasive, uncompromising, crass and downright rude.
He has had no qualms upbraiding anyone who has the compunction to question his management style. Reporters in particular have drawn his ire because they have focused public attention on his profligate spending.
The most galling takeaway from the press conference is that Mr. Owusu thinks he is an island and therefore should be left alone to do as he deems fit. But Mr. Owusu won’t have his wish; we are now a democracy, and public officials would be held accountable.
This is not the time to downplay the allegations against Mr. Owusu; they are serious and should be investigated thoroughly either to establish his guilt or innocence. Public officials should live above reproach, and Ghanaians expect them to exercise sound judgment when it comes to fiscal matters.
Mr. Owusu certainly hasn’t endeared himself to Ghanaians with his scornful and condescending attitude. Ghanaians won’t turn a blind eye to his financial shenanigans. They sure have him in their crosshairs.
It is a truism that some of Nana’s appointees came with a baggage and have largely been a pain in his neck. By their very activities outside of their offices, they have brought him shame and disrepute to the NPP administration. Many now question the President’s judgment in appointing these officials.
The President’s purported fight against corruption is laudable and is by all means the right thing to do given how pervasive corruption has become in our society.
However, every effort by Nana to stamp out corruption won’t go far or make the desired impact if individuals such as Mr. Owusu and others like him are allowed to run state agencies like their personal properties without due oversight.