Anti-corruption campaigner, Sydney Casely Hayford believes Ghanaians are placing too many expectations on Martin Amidu after he was named as the Special Prosecutor, pending Parliamentary approval.
He, however, explained that this was a by-product of the overwhelmingly positive reception to what he described as the “fairy tale” appointment of the former Attorney General.
“…We are putting too much [hope in Martin Amidu], but it is normal. That is what happens when you land the right decision for the people,” Mr. Casely Hayford said on Citi FM‘s news analysis programme The Big Issue.
“The expectations have always been high. It is a fairy tale appointment simply because whenever we have been on air to talk about these things, a lot of the time, the recommendations have always been the most ideal situation we could find and most people, even before this appointment, have speculated that wouldn’t it be nice if we had Martin Amidu…”
In Mr. Casely Hayford’s view, Mr. Amidu’s appointment also presented Ghana with the opportunity to set an example to the rest of Africa as far as fighting corruption was concerned.
According to him, Ghana’s leading role on the continent, including becoming the first sub-Saharan country to gain independence, had declined significantly in recent years.
“There is a lot on his shoulders. There is a lot resting on the Independent Public Prosecutor [IPP]. I think Ghana would like to showcase its democratic credentials to Africa and to the world and if the appointment of the IPP is going to herald the beginning of this whole anti-corruption crusade then we are going to be a shining example going forward.”
There are however some skeptics who have questioned Mr. Amidu’s appointment, with some citing possible bias against the opposition National Democratic Congress, whom he has had a public falling out with.
Some have also stopped short of calling him overrated, with a Private Legal Practitioner and Greater Accra Regional Youth Organizer of the NDC, Edudzi Tamaklo saying Mr. Amidu had limited success when he served as Attorney General.
But Mr. Casely Hayford stated that he had absolutely no doubt “that we couldn’t have had a better person.”
Mr. Amidu earned the nickname ‘Citizen Vigilante’ for his no-nonsense attitude to corruption, particularly in the NDC administration, under which he served.
He was eventually relieved of his post on Thursday, January 19, 2012, by President John Evans Atta Mills for alleged misconduct.
Ahead of his sacking, Mr. Amidu had made allegations relating to alleged financial impropriety on the part of another cabinet minister.
Mr. Amidu was widely commended and celebrated for his fight against corruption when he dragged businessman Alfred Woyome to the Supreme Court and secured a ruling for the retrieval of the GHc 51 million judgment debt paid to him by the state under the NDC administration.
Among the glowing praise that met his selection as the Special Prosecutor, Former President Jerry John Rawlings said Mr. Amidu has proven “to be a fearless anti-corruption crusader whose pursuit of truth and justice has won him national admiration.”