With pressure mounting on him to clear the air surrounding the Ford Expedition vehicle gift from a Burkinabe contractor, President John Mahama's decision to appear before the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice is a prudent one for a variety of reasons.
Going before the CHRAJ would do the president and the nation a lot of good; for starters, the appearance would doubtlessly afford him the opportunity to dispel rumors furiously making the rounds that he is unfailingly corrupt and tainted and that the gift was a quid pro quo.
But equally more importantly, it will allow Mr.Mahama to turn the tables on his opponents with a full disclosure of the facts surrounding the gift and thus push them back into their corner to continue bleating about non-issues.
The Progressive Peoples Party which petitioned and pushed the CHRAJ to investigate Mr. Mahama is obviously elated that its wish to embarrass and shame the president has been granted.
The PPP's action, which in my estimation is juvenile and purely partisan, reflects the extent to which the president's sworn enemies would go to gain political advantage. There is no doubt in the minds of many that the PPP is doing the biding of a major political party.
While I see the president's appearance before the CHRAJ as a wise move and a much needed overture to his vociferous opponents, I am surprised that it has taken the President this long to respond officially and forcefully to the charges that the gift was a "thank you" gesture from the contractor for been awarded a juicy and lucrative contract.
Charges of this magnitude and importance require an immediate and swift response, a heavy counter punch, one that would paralyze the enemy. The president's men and handlers should have jumped on the issue as soon as Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni pushed it into the public domain with his shameless documentary.
How do they accomplish this? By putting Mr. Mahama on multiple media platforms available to a sitting president to vehemently refute the charges. That this did not happened raises a lot of questions. The president's communication team is doing a shoddy job of protecting him from the barbs constantly thrown his way by a marauding army of political foes.
Now that the president has made himself available for questioning by the CHRAJ, he should be accorded all the respect and decorum he deserves as head of our nation. The chirping and down right nasty name callings emanating from partisans should stop to enable the commission carry out an effective and thorough investigation.
The commission, on its part, must eschew narrow parochialism, shed all biases and get to the bottom of the issue. Fairness and objectivity should be strictly adhered to; did the president commit an act of bribery and corruption with his acceptance of the Ford Expedition gift?
And did the act violate article 284 of the 1992 national constitution as the PPP claims? The commission should not go out of its way to please one political entity or the other. Its obligation is to the people of Ghana.
One thing that has been overlooked in the controversy generated by the Ford Expedition gift is the failure of those shouting themselves hoarse to examine the work of the contractor in question. Why did the government decide to go with him? Was it largely based on his work record or on something sinister? These are the questions any enterprising reporter would ask.
I gather from highly reliable sources that he is a remarkably good contractor whose work over the years has endeared him to governments in West African. Ghana, apparently, is not the only country to award him contracts. The individual has been the beneficiary of multiple contracts from government sources across the region.
It is morally imperative to fight corruption at its sources and at all levels; corruption weakens our national institutions and deprives Ghanaians, especially those trapped in poverty, of the much needed services they rightfully deserve. However, the crusade against corruption should not be waged with partisan colors, because doing so is counterproductive and self-defeating.