It is fast turning out that President Professor John Evans Atta Mills is not a trustworthy character.
His word is not worth the paper it is written on, and all those who have been taking his words to heart would be right in taking his promises with a pinch of salt. The evidence shows that he does not mean what he says.
On 23rd February 2009, President Professor John Evans Atta Mills ordered all his appointees to file their Assets Declaration Forms in seven clear days.
Fourteen (14) months on, I can say on authority that this order by the President has been flouted after the Presidential fiat. In other words, the president’s fiat has been flouted with impunity, meaning that as far as many of his appointees are concerned, they could care less.
To them, the President’s word is not worth the paper it is written on. Do you remember he told a group of journalists to ask his appointees if they had declared their assets when he held his so called ‘meet the press’ on 7 January 2010?
But to be more serious, one wonders what clear actions the President took to ensure that his fiat is obeyed. Did he just make the public announcement without clear orders to his people to obey his fiat?
Did he set deadlines with systems of assurances? If he did not, then the President simply made a populist and public pronouncement meant to tickle the populist sentiments of the populace.
He spoke with intent to deceive the public, and then went to sleep, sure and certain that he had assured the people of Ghana that he is a man of action and now he has been exposed, again!
The President in his Manifesto for a so called Better Ghana promised that 40% of his appointees would be women, the mathematics showed that only 11% of his appointees were women, a far departure from what he promised the people and women of Ghana.
Again, therefore, in this present instance, it is turning out that the President deliberately hoodwinked the women of Ghana to win votes.
When he was questioned about this matter in London, President Professor John Evans Atta Mills said that he could not identify the women to fit the positions available because they had not applied themselves in the field of politics.
I find this claim to be laughable, and worse, rather dishonest on the part of the President.
Since this matter came up, a lot of people have expressed the opinion that women should apply themselves in order to earn the presidential recognition. I disagree, simply over the fact that the problem moves beyond women simply applying themselves.
The problem is that we have a politician who made a promise that he knew clearly before he made that he could not fulfill based on the simple facts of our reality.
In Ghana today, even though we have a higher ratio of women as against men, we have far less females in educational institutions than men.
This unfortunate situation means that in all spheres of endeavor except possibly petty trading, we have more men than women.
In the brutal world of politics, the women are even less represented. In the last parliament, we had less than thirty women in a house of 230 representatives. In a situation where the law stipulates that the President, in appointing his ministers for example, choose 50% and more of them out of parliament, it becomes immediately clear that he would have problems meeting his claim to appoint 40% of his appointees from among the womenfolk.
Again, after the nominations had been filed during the run-up to the last general elections, where we had less than twenty-percent of women applying to go into parliament, it became even more obvious that it would be impossible to appoint a Cabinet made up of40% female representation.
A simple and cursory examination of the facts would have shown the presidential candidates that a promise to make 40% of appointees from women was unrealistic.
Yet, there was Candidate Atta Mills, mouthing of and busily assuring our women that 40% of all his appointees would be made up of women. The promise, clearly, was unrealistic and insincere.
But there is a worse aspect to this whole matter. The difficulties I have outlined above towards meeting the 40% representation in government is not unique to our current situation. In fact, it has been the status quo over the years and throughout our history.
A few years ago, the situation was worse. But in spite of that, the immediate past Kufuor Administration ensured that it gave 25% of its appointees to women. The lowering of this standard to 11% by the Atta Mills administration, itself signaling a lowering of over 50%, would indicate a very serious lowering of the standards for women in public service.
In deed the word of our President is not worth the paper it is written on period!