Friday, August 19, 2016

Nation-Building Is A Joint Effort That All Must Contribute To

''It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."
                                                                 - U.S. President Harry S. Truman

It is such a pity that many Ghanaian politicians spend so much time arguing endlessly on the airwaves of television and FM radio stations about which political party ought to take the credit for being the original source of ideas underpinning all manner of policies that led to the implementation of sundry development projects.

It has led to the sabotaging of the nation-building effort by those  who find themselves in the political wilderness - so that those in power will have nothing much to show for their years in power: a nonsensical scorched earth political strategy detrimental to the well-being of Ghanaian society as a whole.

In any case, what exactly is the point of such pointless arguments - when political parties in the continent of Africa exist precisely for the purpose of formulating and carrying out beneficial policies that will transform societies across the continent into prosperous ones, when in power?

The question we should pose is: What is the nature of society that those who seek power in Ghana envision for our nation and all its people? And what are the policies they intend to pursue when elected to power that will lead to the coming into being of that particular envisioned society - and within what time-frame exactly will it come into being?

Above all, should those whose neo-liberal policies are responsible for the evolution of today's dog-eat-dog society in Ghana - that dysfunctional society in which so many are prepared to lie, swindle and even commit ritual murder on occasion, to enable them get to the top of the greasy pole, which we are now lumbered with - still be allowed to continue taking turns to govern our nation in perpetuity?

Today, incredibly, even casual labourers are being taxed -  just so that the many square-pegs-in-round-holes appointed to man top positions in the public sector can continue to live the life of Riley at their expense.

Instead of killing personal initiative in Ghana by piling on tax after tax on hardworking people merely to provide more opportunities for those who engage in egregious white collar crimes - such as siphoning taxpayers' money into private private pockets through rip-off public procurement deals - to grow super-rich at the nation's expense, why do politicians not rather think of more creative ways to fund Ghana's development through win-win public private partnerships (PPP) that do not call for the spending of any public money?

Instead of needless taxation merely to find money to develop a network of poorly constructed  roads that will only end up becoming pothole-ridden, for example, why not, at a time of global climate change, give Ghanaian entrepreneurs the opportunity to build and maintain a network of durable plastic roads, which will remain pothole-free throughout their extended lifespans?

Could they not be suitably icentivisied by being given the opportunity to collect fees for the use of tolled plastic roads by motorised vehicles for a period of 25 years, during which they would be required to maintain those roads in perfect condition: failing which they will face heavy fines and if need be have their PPPs abrogated?

In other words, let us back political parties and politicians whose vision is to transform Ghana into an African equivalent  of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia - not by overburdening Ghanaians with endless taxes, but by offering Ghanaian entrepreneurs PPP opportunities, which will help bring into being an egalitarian and prosperous Ghana: in which all enjoy high living standards.

We must no longer tolerate living in an unjust and amoral society, dominated by a greedy and powerful few who constantly scheme to enable them end up owning  what justly ought to belong to all Ghanaians  (and therefore ought to benefit all of them equally too),  by exploiting our Byzantine system for that ignoble purpose.

That is what political parties in Ghana must focus on - not never-endingarguments about who originated an idea and therefore ought to take credit for it. Nation-building is a joint effort that all must contribute to, after all, is it not?



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Government Of National Unity, Not The NPP, Is The Alternative To The NDC

If all Ghana's registered voters were rational and intelligent beings, and deep thinkers, they would vote massively for the only presidential candidate who has signaled  his intention to form a government of national unity, consisting of the finest minds in Ghana, regardless of their political backgrounds, if elected.

All such Ghanaians - where they currently live notwithstanding (be it here at home in Ghana or abroad elsewhere in the Diaspora) - would be considered for appointment to that national unity government. That is what Ghana actually needs.

What our nation most definitely does not need, is a handover of power from one of the two constituent political parties, which make up the deceitful and hypocritical NDC/NPP duopoly, to the other.

That will be disastrous for our homeland Ghana - for nothing much will change then. And high-level corruption will become even more rampant and rapacious. It is therefore important for ordinary people in Ghana to be wary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

They must not  be beguiled by the many NPP hypocrites who talk endlessly about high-level corruption under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mahama - but have thus far refused to publicly publish their own assets and those of their spouses: as a sign of their good intentions in seeking power to govern our homeland Ghana.

No wise voter should help elect such disarming-dissemblers into power ever again - especially when they criss-cross the nation making absurd empty-promises that they themselves know perfectly well will not be kept should they win power, in the December elections (God forbid!). What perfidy.

It is an indictment of the media in Ghana that journalists seldom point out the fact that politicians criticising others for being corrupt, who themselves refuse to publicly publish their assets and those of their spouses, must not be trusted either by voters.

Why are the media in Ghana so blinkered in that respect, I ask? What happened to the trillions of old Ghana cedis of HIPC funds that simply disappeared into the ether when the NPP ruled Ghana for 8 solid years?

Who does not remember the unfathomable greed of the well-connected gang-of-hypocrites, who profited mightily from the massive high-level corruption, which was so rampant during the NPP's 8 years in power - that catastrophe for our country otherwise  referred to by some as the golden age of business for Kufuor & Co?

So why is the media giving the NPP a free pass to power - when there is the real possibility that an even  greedier cabal - a Mk-2 gang-of-hypocrites - will surpass even Kufuor & Co's brutal gang-rape of Mother Ghana? Why do the Ghanaian media suddenly see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing when it comes to highlighting the miasma that envelopes the handling of the NPP's finances by Freddy Blay & Co, I ask?

If the greater part of the Ghanaian media were not themselves so egregiously corrupt, perhaps Ghana would not be failing to make much headway, in terms of raising the living standards of the base-of-the-pyramid poor - as most journalists who interact with politicians in the public space would be pressuring our political class to work harder and be more honest in governing Ghana. Pity.

The question is: If it is in the supreme national interest that the selfless and honest Nduom becomes Ghana's president after the elections - rather than either President Mahama or Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo who lead the dreadful NDC/NPP duopoly - why then are responsible and patriotic journalists not making that point to voters, and advising them to plump for Nduom in the presidential election, I ask: especially when Nduom is committed to probing all the regimes that have held power since the 4th Republic came into being?

Would that not help Ghana to claw back some of the zillions of Ghana cedis of stolen taxpayers' money, salted away by the many crooks-in-high-places who participated in the gang-rape of Mother Ghana, whiles in power?

A direct result of the lack of close media scrutiny in Ghana, is that despite both the two parties that make up the NDC/NPP duopoly having been in power before  - and governing our homeland Ghana between them for all of the 24-year period since the 4th Republic came into being - our nation has still not fulfilled even a quarter of its full potential yet: and, alas,  Mother Ghana still continues to mark time,  unfortunately.

Yet many politicians and their business cronies have profited hugely from high-level corruption over the years, and their personal net worth risen to stratospheric heights - in inverse proportion to falling living standards and the continuing impoverishment of millions of ordinary people across the nation. Amazing.

To lull the minds of ordinary people to sleep,  many of those in power in Ghana, often resort to propaganda - churned out on their behalf by their unprincipled rented-press and their conscienceless bought-media outlets - to hide their animal-farm-philosophy of governance: in which ordinary people are constantly asked to make never-ending sacrifices for a better tomorrow that never comes, whiles lucky fatcats across the nation grow super-rich, through sole-sourcing public procurement deals.

It is the reason why so many of those who have been in power in Ghana, since the return to constitutional democracy, in 1992, have always dabbled in the dark arts of the politricks-of-equalisation - in which failed politicians play the blame-game: to cover up their abject failure to improve the quality of life of the teeming millions of marginalised fellow citizens trapped in the bottom strata of Ghanaian society.

To end that charade, ordinary Ghanaians must bring the era of the NDC/NPP duopoly's hold on power in Ghana, to a swift and abrupt end, in this December's presidential and parliamentary elections - by rejecting the NDC/NPP duopoly's candidates for the presidential election: President Mahama and Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo.

The time has come to begin the transformation of Ghana into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia, by voting Paa Kwesi Nduom - the only presidential candidate who has promised to form a government of national unity, consisting of the most talented individuals in our country, irrespective of their political backgrounds - to power as Ghana's next leader.

Ghana needs the selflessness, honesty, wealth-and-job-creating-genius of Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, to lead a government of national unity to propel the enterprise Ghana forward, and transform it into a prosperous and fair society, in which hard work actually pays - and those engaged in egregious chicanery and cronyism  at our nation's expense always end up in jail after their prosecution.

The alternative to the NDC regime of President Mahama, is a new government of national unity led by a President Paa Kwesi Nduom - not yet another corrupt, vindictive, divisive and super-ruthless NPP regime. Period. Haaba: Ghanafuo abre papaa pa o. Hmm, asem ebeba debi, ankasa.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Why The Vast Majority Of Ghanaians Want The Mahama Administration Probed

It is amazing just how easily some Ghanaian politicians can delude themselves. If that were not the case, how could the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), possibly think that their party would be returned to power again, by voters, in this December's presidential and parliamentary elections?

Is that not whistling in the dark and wishful thinking? Big, time? Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

The bald truth, is that both the NDC and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) - the two corrupt and opaque political parties that constitute the NDC/NPP duopoly, which have dominated our nation's politics since the 4th Republic came into being - are no longer fit-for-purpose entities.

That is why the truly democratic, non-tribalistic and patriotic one-nation-politicians in leadership positions in the two parties, ought to  summon the courage to wrest control of their parties from the  iron-grip that the ruthless vested interests - which control both parties from the shadows for private gain at public expense - have on the two parties.

They must then carry out root-and-branch reforms in their parties, and rid themselves of the super-greedy, verbally-aggressive, violence-prone and criticism-averse hardliners, in their midst.

Until they carry out those much-needed reforms, which will make them truly tolerant one-nation political parties dedicated to the well-being of Mother Ghana, and committed to the welfare of all the people of our country, none of the two constituent parties that make up the corruption-riddled NDC/NPP duopoly, deserve to govern Ghana again. Period.

Luckily for ordinary Ghanaians,  the era of impunity in our homeland Ghana,  could finally  draw to a close: for, if elected, Nduom, who is selfless, dynamic and principled will serve as a unifying and disciplined leader whose presidency will be truly world-class.

He will ensure that all those involved in high-level corruption are always prosecuted when caught ripping Mother Ghana off.

A government of national unity made up of Ghana's best brains - regardless of party affiliation - led by Nduom, is the alternative to the NDC, not the NPP as presently constituted.

The question is: Why would Ghanaians return President Mahama and his party to power again - after their party has been in power for eight long years: during which the eardrums of hapless Ghanaians have been assaulted by story after story of egregious high-level corruption?

Who in this country is not livid that dishonest companies like Smarttys Management and Productions Limited have been able to rip-off the enterprise Ghana and gotten away with it - because their promoters happen to be the cronies of some of those in power at the moment?

And who has not felt insulted by the various Kweku-Ananse-stalling-schemes employed by that scoundrel Woyome - the so-called NDC "financier" - who swindled Mother Ghana out of the sum of some GHc51 million: and yet still continues to sleep in his own bed despite ignoring the Supreme Court's ruling that he refunds the money?

Woyome is one of the reasons why so many Ghanaians want the NDC out of power - so they can finally read his long list of compromised big-shots who aided and abetted him to swindle Mother Ghana: and how much they were each suitably rewarded for their hard work on that viper's behalf.

The plain truth is that millions of  ordinary people simply want the NDC turfed out of power- so that President Mahama's regime is probed: and all those who have served in that  administration found to have stolen taxpayers' money prosecuted and jailed for their crimes against Ghanaians and their nation.

That is why the NDC's leadership need to understand one thing clearly: Even if their regime succeeds in turning Ghana into a paradise-on-earth before the December presidential and parliamentary elections are held, the vast majority of ordinary people will still vote against them, in the December elections.

Many Ghanaians have neither fogotten, nor forgiven, the insufferable, unspeakable and unpardonable arrogance, of the Stan Dogbes - and the actions and inactions of the greedy and corrupt denizens of the corridors of power at the  presidency: over the years since the NDC assumed power nearly eight years ago.

Ridding Ghana of the greed-filled NDC  is what the December presidential and parliamentary elections are actually about for many voters - in case the Stan Dogbes haven't cottoned on to that yet.

Many Ghanaians want genuises like the Stan Dogbes out of government - and in jail if they are guilty of amassing wealth unlawfully.

Hopefully, on polling day, millions of voters will remember that Paa Kwesi Nduom, intends to probe all the regimes that have held power, since the 4th Republic came into being, should he become Ghana's next leader - and vote  massively for him to finally become President of the Republic of Ghana, when he is sworn into office on 7th January, 2017. Hallelujah. Amen.

Now thoroughly fed up with the Mahama regime, the vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians just want his hard-of-hearing regime to leave the scene - because they feel that Mahama & Co have overstayed their welcome: and voters will therefore make sure that their departure is signed and sealed on polling day this December. End of story. Case, closed.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Practical Demonstration Of Paa Kwesi Nduom's Personal Philosophy Of Creating And Sharing Wealth Honestly Earned

''It will be acknowledged even by those that practice it not, that clear and round dealing is the honor of man's nature, and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it."
                              - Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

The decision by the Nduom family to float shares in their conglomerate, Groupe Nduom, shows what an innovative, forward-looking and generous-spirited family they are.

It offers Ghanaians an insight into Paa Kwesi Nduom's personal philosophy of honest stewardship and abundance-sharing made possible by the fruits of wise investments.

The fact that they were thoroughly scrutinized by the U.S. authorities in due diligence checks before being given permission to acquire and operate a then ailing Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loans  - now know as IFS Bank after its acquisition - for U.S.$9 million speaks volumes about the integrity of the Nduoms.

The question is: Would President Mahama and Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and members of their nuclear families have survived similar scrutiny by the U.S. authorities? Alas, one doubts that very much, for a number of reasons.

President Mahama would definitely have been disqualified from owning a U.S. bank, becuase of the odd trip he undertook to Turkey when he first came to power.

The purpose of that particular trip was to help free a U.S. registered business jet - owned by one of his brother Abrahim Mahama's companies - that was carrying gold worth some US$84 million destined for Iran, but had been seized by the Turkish authorities, when it landed in their territory.

Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo would also not have been allowed to acquire and operate a U.S. bank either - because the Kufuor regime failed to protect Ghana's vital interests, when it discontinued a London court case in a matter involving the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), and Societe General: similar to one that the GNPC had won when it countersued Societe General, which had sued it in the U.S.

The fact that after Ghana settled the matter with Societe General,  that French bank then subsequently acquired a bank owned by a government pension fund in Ghana - for U.S.$9 million: a figure less than the annual bonuses of many of their senior executives  - would have also raised a red flag against him in any due diligence checks by the U.S. authorities.

Years after entering the Ghanaian market, Societe General then also went on to purchase a hotel belonging to Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo's family,  for U.S.$3 million - which it then had demolished to enable it build a new headquarters building on the land it was on. That would have definitely also raised a red flag against him too.

Thus, in the world of Ghanaian politics, Nduom and his family are in a class of their own, in as far as their personal integrity goes: They survived close scrutiny by the U.S. authorities. Nduom is therefore someone Ghanaians can trust will never sacrifice the national interest for personal gain, if elected as Ghana's President. Ever.

Through their honest stewardship of other people's money, they have been successful in increasing their own  family's wealth too - and now want to offer others the opportunity to profit from investing in their profitable and dynamic conglomerate, Groupe Nduom.

Aside from the family of the late R. A. Darko, who floated shares in their family business, Mechanical Lloyd, on the Ghana Stock Exchange years ago, virtually no high-profile Ghanaian family business has since opened its shareholding to the general public, by floating shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Naturally, such a strategic move will provide Groupe Nduom with interest-free capital to fund the operations of its subsidiaries as they expand. But, above all, it shows the confidence the Nduoms have in Ghana's future - a future that Paa Kwesi Nduom wants to help shape and secure for all Ghanaians.

From the point of view of Diasporans wanting to invest in Ghana's economy, Groupe Nduom represents a fantastic opportunity - both in terms of buying the company's stock, and in executing their own projects through the company's many well-run and profitable subsidiaries.

It ought to be possible, for example, for a Diasporan in the U.S., with an investment portfolio  made up of parcels of land in all the 10 regions of Ghana, who wants to build warehouses and establish a logistics business here, to do so with the assistance of relevant Groupe Nduom subsidiaries.

Dispirited Diasporans who have been ripped-off by people they trusted in Ghana - such as a childhood friend of mine who over the years has virtually seen over U.S.$500,000 of his personal savings siphoned off into the pockets of a long line of dishonest people he relied on to execute his projects in Ghana - can now turn to Groupe Nduom to realise their ambitions of setting up businesses in Ghana and executing sundry projects of theirs through Groupe Nduom subsidiaries.

It is that proposition that makes Groupe Nduom's business model such a winsome one - and purchasing the company's shares such a wise investment decision.

Diasporans constitute a powerful economic force that can be harnessed for accelerated growth of our national economy. Groupe Nduom's various businesses offer Diasporans a multiplicity of services and investment opportunities that they can tap to help them achieve their wealth-creation goals in Ghana.

GN Bank, for example, has the potential to evolve into a pan-African internet banking giant, through which Diasporans could avail themselves of the many products it will put together to empower them, to gradually build up their African investments to a level that transforms their status to that of high net worth investors.

It is a well-run bank that has the potential to outpace and grow bigger than Ecobank within the next five years.

One of the ways the GN Bank could do so would be to create a niche in which it enables Diasporans selling goods to importers in the markets in which it has a presence in the African continent (such as Ghana and Liberia), to do business safely and securely using escrow accounts.

Thus, a Ghanaian-American selling brand new Caterpiller spare parts bought at rock-bottom prices at government auction of ex-military stocks in the U.S., for example, could sell them to an importer in Ghana, who is perhaps a member of the Caterpillar Spare Parts Dealers Association at Kokompe, who would pay for the parts in cedis, into an escrow account at a GN Bank near him or her, set up for that purpose.

The U.S. bank owned by Groupe Nduom would inspect the spare parts, arrange for their shipment to Tema, clear them, and have the parts delivered to the importer, at a designated delivery point. The Diasporan exporter then gets his money released from the escrow account.

The process of getting the spare parts shipped  from the U.S. exporter to Tema port, cleared through customs, and delivered to the designated offloading-point for the Kokompe importer, would have been handled by relevant subsidiaries of Groupe Nduom.

Anyone who can visualise that chain of events providing business for Groupe Nduom's subsidiary companies, in the import-export business, in that one instance of the export from the U.S. of Caterpillar spare parts to an importer at Kokompe, can see an example of the manifold opportunities that buying shares in Groupe Nduom represents for investors.

The decision by Paa Kwesi Nduom to float shares in his family's conglomerate, Groupe Nduom,  is a practical demonstration of his desire to see his fellow humans prospering through honest endeavour and foresight - and shows his commitment to help create a prosperous society in which all in Ghana enjoy high  living standards.

Is that not precisely the kind of honest and far-sighted leader our homeland Ghana needs to be its President after 7th January, 2017:  a world-class doer and giver?

Friday, August 12, 2016

An Open Letter To Pastor Mensah Otabil

Dear Pastor Mensah Otabil,

I shall go straight to the point: It might have to fall upon you and other globally-competitive Ghanaians, such as Bishop Doug Heward-Mills, to save our homeland Ghana from the clutches of the ruthless and divisive  political parties, which  constitute the NDC/NPP duopoly.

At what is a critical juncture in Ghana's history, ordinary people in our country, also need to receive their fair share of the national cake - something that amongst all the candidates vying for the presidency in this December's elections only Nduom's astuteness can guarantee.

Clearly, there is a national consensus that given the natural resources it is blessed with, Ghana ought  to become a nation with a well-managed national economy - if it is to continue to remain stable and peaceful.

A well-managed national economy will enable our benighted country to be transformed into a stable and well-governed  society - one that is prosperous: and in which every strata of society enjoys a good quality of life and decent living standards.

Only a government of national unity made up of some of the best brains in Ghana - yours and that of Doug Heward-Mills included  - and led by a President Nduom is capable of bringing about such a transformation.

For that reason, you must all help bring Nduom to power - by endorsing his candidacy and leveraging the enormous influence that preachers such as your good self and Bishop Doug Heward-Mills wield across the nation: to appeal for support for Nduom.

How can we hand over the governance of our nation to those criss-crossing Ghana promising one factory in each district - when disruptive 3D printing technology will make virtually all those 275 or so state-owned entities obsolete in a few years? Heaven help us.

The question there is: How well do we manage even the existing state-owned entities - which are almost all over-geared financial basket-cases?

Why not assist the hundreds of micro-entrepreneurial start-ups, in all the 275 or so Districts, which only need funding to obtain certification from the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), to start operating?

Will the dynamic and ambitious micro-entrepreneurs who founded them not grow them organically through hardwork, perseverance and creative marketing?

And will that not mean that they will be much better at providing employment, for some of the scores of young people desperate for jobs, as they expand their businesses - than any Kweku Ananse state-owned factories run by square-pegs-in-round-holes party-hacks and jam-packed with party foot soldiers, ever will?

Those micro-entrepreneurs will definitely do a far better job at creating jobs galore nationwide, than those Kweku-Ananse state-owned factories - apparently planned  for each of Ghana's 275 Districts - can ever dream of doing.

Will providing the aforementioned micro-entrepreneurs with soft loans - or better still "helicopter-money" from the African Development Bank - to enable them obtain certification from sundry regulatory bodies, not be a far more beneficial and realistic policy, for any serious  regime dedicated to empowering those willing to work hard, to improve their own individual circumstances, to pursue? Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o!

And how can we hand over power again, to President Mahama and his cohorts, when they have not had the nous and gumption to negotiate win-win oil industry and  power-sector agreements, for our country, in all the 8 long years that their hard-of-hearing regime has been in power for?

And to think that some of those geniuses have the gall to insult nation-builders like you, Pastor. Hmm, Ghana - asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa!

Pastor, the simple act of your endorsing Nduom's candidature will make Ghanaians wake up - and sit up to ponder the difference an Nduom presidency could actually make to their own individual living standards.

There is no question that individuals who establish universities, which over time go on to become reputable tertiary institutions, are well-regarded individuals, wherever in the world they live. And rightly so, too.

They are valued for the important societal roles that they play in preparing the younger generations to take over the running of their countries' from older generations.

That is why highly-regarded individuals in Ghanaian society, such as yourself, Bishop Doug Heward-Mills, Reverend Sam Korankye Ankrah, Bishop Adjin Asare, Archbishop Duncan Williams, and Bishop Agyemang - who have established tertiary institutions - are veritable nation-builders whom many discerning Ghanaians admire and treasure.

And it is natural that individuals of your calibre should feel frustrated from time to time that Ghana is marking time - especially as God has blessed our nation with all that is needed to transform it into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

No one should insult you when you openly express your frustration with the condition of our country today - and it is unpardonable that some of those responsible for the problems of our country have the audacity to disparage you when you criticise them.

We must stop allowing the clueless and super-ruthless professional-incompetents who control the NDC and NPP from the shadows from wasting our time yet again, Pastor Otabil.

They will instigate their followers to plunge Ghana into chaos and violence, if either of the NDC/NPP duopoly's constituent  parties presidential candidate is  defeated by the other. A victory by Nduom will sidestep that impending doom neatly, will it not?

Sir, perhaps it has never struck you before, but all of the church founders that this blog has mentioned above, can make a real difference, at the critical crossroads-moment that our nation will face on polling day, during this December's presidential and  and parliamentary elections.

Pastor, you must all ask Ghanaians to reject the two ruthless, corrupt and opaque poltical parties that constitute the NDC/NPP duopoly that dominate our nation's politics, and have done so since the 4th Republic came into being in 1992, at the polls, this December.

Is it not unpardonable, unspeakable and abominable that they have succeeded in polarising Ghanaian society to the extent that they have? How can a badly divided society possibly progress and prosper, I ask?

Pastor, endorse the unifying candidacy  of Paa Kwesi Nduom - and ask the supporters of the NDC and NPP to plump instead for him to become President of the Republic of Ghana: and lead a government of national unity to which competent, honest and world-class Ghanaians (irrespective of their political leanings!) will be appointed.

Pastor, the plain truth, is that  both the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), are beholden to the very vested interests profiting from our corrupt system. High-level corruption in Ghana will never cease if those divisive and greed-driven parties continue to rule our homeland Ghana.

That is because, as you are aware, they are both in the firm grip of ruthless hardliners, whose scorched-earth political philosophy dictates that they sabotage the nation-building effort, whenever they find themselves in the political wilderness.

Alas, it is ordinary people, who eventually suffer from the harsh consequences of the nation-wrecking-selfishness - which the sabotaging of the nation-building effort by those sly and amoral politicians amounts to.

What Ghana needs now, is an honest and disciplined one-nation political leader, such as Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom - who clearly understands the importance of making Ghana a nation with the world's lowest taxes on individuals and businesses.

Sir, would abolishing taxes on private universities not enable Central University, for example, to lower the fees it charges, and offer more scholarships to brilliant but needy students, I ask?

There is no sense in continuing to tolerate the totally unacceptable situation in which ruling parties  pile on tax after tax on Ghanaians - just to be siphoned off by the many white collar criminals in our national economy's  public-sector.

Why overburden hardworking Ghanaians with tax after tax just to mollycoddle government ministers and other public-sector appointees? Do many of them not collude with the selfsame crooks sucking the very lifeblood out of Mother Ghana?

So why should Ghanaians entrust the NDC/NPP duopoly with power yet again - and give the powerful crooks that control them from the shadows the opportunity to rip-off our nation - and enable them to live the life of Riley at the expense of ordinary people: who have to struggle daily just to survive? It must not happen. Full stop.

Nduom is committed to transparency and accountability - which is why he will publicly publish his assets as well as that of his entire nuclear family before the December elections. Have you heard President Mahama and Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and their acolytes making a similar declaration? They will never do so. Ever.

Nduom also intends to publicly publish all the sources of his party's campaign funds, before polling day. Thus far, have you heard the leading lights of the NDC and NPP, committing to do so too? Food for thought, Pastor.

And as you know, Nduom is a truly world-class individual, who actually knows how to create wealth and meaningful  jobs - and will therefore focus on creating a conducive climate for entrepreneurs to thrive in Ghana and the Diaspora too.

A President Nduom will never allow Ghanaians and their nation to be taken advantage of in any agreement that his one-nation administration signs with local and foreign investors. All the agreements his government signs will be win-win ones.

Above all, his administration will probe all the regimes that have held power since the 4th Republic came into being - and send a signal to the world that impunity has finally come to an end in Ghana. All those who have stolen taxpayers' funds will be  made to pay them back with interest. Fantastic.

Pastor, help kick-start the transformation of Ghana into an African equivalent, of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia, by endorsing the candidacy of Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, to enable him become the next President of the Republic of Ghana, after 7th January, 2017.

Brilliant Ghanaians, with stellar track-records of solid achievements, such as your good self, and Bishop Doug Heward-Mills, will definitely play prominent roles in government, when Nduom becomes Ghana's President.

You both qualify and deserve to help run the enterprise Ghana - and will doubtless do so when Nduom becomes President on 7th January, 2017.

For the sake of the ordinary people of Ghana, you must all endorse Nduom for president  now - so that Mother Ghana benefits from your undoubted talents.

Thank you very much indeed, Pastor Mensah Otabil - and peace and blessings to all of you.

Yours in the service of Mother Ghana,

Kofi.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why The Council Of State Must Advice President Mahama Not To Pardon The So-Called Montie Three

Recent events make one weep that our homeland Ghana has come to such a sorry pass that government ministers feel compelled to engage in sychophantic behaviour - such as signing petitions that deep down in their own hearts they know are morally wrong for decent people to sign.

It is a sobering thought that as a result of the steady erosion of the moral fabric of Ghanaian society, we have ended up becoming a nation in which ruthless, amoral and uncouth individuals, who have the temerity to threaten the lives of even judges on the airwaves of FM radio stations, and are jailed for doing so, can have petitions organised on their behalf, asking the President of the Republic of Ghana to grant them pardons.

Do those who for partisan reasons sign petitions of that nature not realise the effect that such death threats have on judges -  who instead of dispensing justice without fear or favour are rather forced to think of their own personal safety when judging cases brought before them in the law courts, on which they have sat?

As reasonable and sane beings, it is well-nigh impossible for judges not to be affected by death threats,  when they are presiding over cases involving members of the general public appearing before them. Does that not deny justice  to those who seek reliefs from the law courts when their rights are infringed upon?

In that sense, is threatening the lives of judges, not tantamount to attacking the justice system? That is why all Ghanaians who believe in due process and the rule of law, ought to support judges, whenever they are threatened by reckless individuals - by refusing to sign petitions asking the President of the Republic of Ghana to pardon them: when jailed by the selfsame judges they threatened.

How can we preserve our democratic system and deepen the roots of Ghanaian democracy yet further, when society does not show judges clearly and without equivocation that they will always be protected by the state, when vile individuals threaten to harm them?

That is why the President of the Republic of Ghana must show the world that that is not behaviour he will either countenance or support - by refusing to grant pardons to those who threaten judges: when they are sentenced to prison by properly constituted courts of law.

In the hope that some of the more independent-minded, principled and patriotic members of the Council of State, who might chance upon this blog post, will read it, we are posting a culled published transcript of a U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) programme - "TALK OF THE NATION" - hosted by Neil Conan, which was aired on 1st April, 2013.

Hopefully, having read the transcript of Neil Conan's programme that discussed the issue of death threats against public officials - including judges - in the U.S.,  members of the Council of State, who have held on to their sense of fairness and maintained their integrity, thus far, will be persuaded to resolve to advice President Mahama that he must not pardon the so-called Montie Three, under any circumstances: because ours is a society underpinned by common decency.

We must always be mindful of the fact that the genocide in Rwanda occurred because ruthless and amoral individuals wirh direct access to a radio station went on air to urge their followers to kill their fellow humans - whom they referred to as "cockroaches".

We should never underestimate the harm done to society, by vitriolic attacks on the airwaves of television and FM radio stations, against public officials - such as the issuing of death threats against public officials (including judges): because it makes them fearful of their lives in the performance of their official duties.

How can our country continue to remain a free and liberal society in such circumstances? If such things are tolerated will we not eventually end up seeing the law of the jungle operating in Ghana? We must never tolerate such abhorrent behaviour in our homeland Ghana - which is why President Mahama must not pardon the Montie Three.

To do so would be sending the wrong signal to Ghanaian  society generally - and to the younger generation in particular: who will come to believe that this is a nation in which impunity is alive and well, because even those who issue death threats on the airwaves of radio stations against judges can rely on  the President of the Republic of Ghana to pardon them when they are jailed.

Please read on:

''Life Under Death Threats: Dangers Faced By Judges, Prosecutors

Transcript
April 1, 20131:00 PM ET
Heard on Talk of the Nation

Guests

Mike Cicconetti, municipal judge, Painesville, Oh.
Carl Caulk, assistant director of judicial security, U.S. Marshals
Sid Harle, district court judge, San Antonio, Tx.

The recent shooting and killing of a Texas District Attorney has local law enforcement and prosecutors on high alert for other threats. Threats against prosecutors, judges and DA's have been on the upswing in the U.S. in recent years. In 2012, 1,370 threats were made against federal judges.

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. We've received many kind messages since last Friday, when NPR announced that this program will cease production at the end of June. Our heartfelt thanks to everybody who took the time to write. We have a lot of programs before we sign off and a lot of stories to share.

We begin today with the threats faced by law enforcement officials and their families. Some officials in Texas say the murder of Kaufman County district attorney and his wife Saturday may be linked to the shooting death of an assistant DA on the county courthouse steps in January and maybe to the killing of Colorado's prisons chief last night. Their names: Mike McLelland, Cynthia McLelland, Mark Hasse and Tom Clements.

Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood told ABC News this is not just an attack on two very fine people but an attack on the justice system. Too often cops, DAs, prison officials and judges live under threat, and as we saw in Texas, that can include their families. If that's your story, call and tell us how you deal with those threats. Our phone number: 800-989-8255. Email us, talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. Go to npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Later in the program on The Opinion Page, an argument that U.S. intervention could contain violence in Syria just as, Jackson Diehl argues, it did in Iraq. But first life under threat of death. Judge Mike Cicconetti is a municipal judge in Painesville, Ohio, and he joins us on the phone. Thanks very much for being with us today.

MIKE CICCONETTI: I'm happy to be here; hello, Neal.

CONAN: And your story is, well, sobering, isn't it?

CICCONETTI: It was very sobering. We were coming up on an anniversary here in April. We're coming up on seven years here, seven years ago that this happened. And, you know, you still think about it every day when you had a threat of death over you and your family. And it's, as you say, very sobering.

CONAN: What happened?

CICCONETTI: Well, I had a couple in court here, and I have a misdemeanor court, and these people came in here on just a minor charge. It was a tax evasion of their village income tax. And, you know, the possible penalty, I don't even know if it was more than 30 days in jail. And they were set for a trial, which would have been on April 20th of that month.

And they felt like everybody was out to get them. And I think you find that this rings true with so many of these people who are seeking vengeance on public officials that, you know, it's everybody's out to get them syndrome that they have.

So they were plotting against the mayor of the village, the police chief of the village, the prosecutor of the village and myself, the judge who would have heard the case. And it was a death threat where they had - as a matter of fact, not planned - they were constructing and in the final phase of constructing an IED, a pipe bomb, that would explode in my house.

CONAN: And did you know you were under threat?

CICCONETTI: Well, on April 4th, the - I was called by one of the local police departments. I was at my doctor's office, and they said come meet us. So I went and I met them, sat in their patrol car, and they pulled out a CD, put it on the computer and played it. And I heard the voice of the defendant. They had - there was an informant that went to the police and told them hey this - you know, I'm not a good guy - the informant, matter of fact he had a felony charge pending - but this is way out of my league here. This is wrong, this is sick.

So he went to the police, told them. They put a wire on him, and he went and recorded it, and that's what I heard. And I heard the death threat being made and the plans as to how it was to be carried out on this CD. And then it was six days of actual living hell, of living like a nomad and hiding and having the FBI, ATF, local police departments all involved in this.

CONAN: And your family?

CICCONETTI: Well, you know, I had - I have two sons, and at the time they were eight and 10 years old. And we had told them that we had to move out of the house, that there was a gas leak. Well, kids are pretty smart and intuitive, and they, you know, they said to us, well, mom and dad, if there's a gas leak, why aren't we taking the guinea pigs out of the house.

So I said OK, got me. So then we had to really - we had to sit down and explain to them what was going on, and it had an adverse effect on them psychologically. I mean, they're kids, they're little kids. They were scared. You know, grades, you could see the grades were dropping just in a period of a week. And we had to live in secret places in other houses for that period of time, until they were apprehended, which was about a week later.

CONAN: And thank heavens it was only a week, but then something like this incident happens in Texas, I'm sure you get flashbacks.

CICCONETTI: I mean every time it happens, it sure does, Neal. And you look at that, and you go just how, you know, how many sick people are there out there in this world. And, you know, you talk about gun control bills, and all this is up in the air. And, you know, it's - I don't care what you do in this country, it's not going to stop somebody from building a pipe bomb.

It's easier to go on the Internet. It's easier than making a batch of cupcakes to put together a pipe bomb. So, you know, it's a society that - our thinking in this society that needs to change. You know, rules, laws, you know, that's not going to change anything. We have the laws. There's a law against murder. Well, does that stop people? No. There's a law against tax evasion here. Does that stop people? No.

It's, you know, the entire society has to change, our mode of thinking.

CONAN: And did it change the way you did your job?

CICCONETTI: You know, I want to say no, but honestly I'd have to say yes - that I hope that it doesn't, but I know that it probably does, when I get someone in court that looks a little off-balance or a little eerie, or, you know, or perhaps threatening. You know, when you sit on the bench for 20 years like I have, you pretty much get a feel of how this is going before they even get up to the bench.

On their walk, you know, the 10, 15 paces that they make up to the bench, I pretty much tell - I can know where this is going just by body language. And it's - you know, it's - you don't even think about it. And do I become a little apprehensive, at times, with certain defendants? Yeah, I probably do, that I didn't do seven years ago. Yes, you know, I'd be lying if I said I didn't.

You know, I carry stun guns on my bench now, and I never even thought about that before. When I leave the court in the afternoon, you know, I look around the parking lot before I go down the stairs to my car. Sure, yeah, I do things that I didn't even think about doing before.

CONAN: Well, I'm sorry you had to go through it, judge, and...

CICCONETTI: Well, thank you, Neal.

CONAN: And we'll let you get back to work. But thank you very much for sharing your story.

CICCONETTI: OK, you're welcome. Good luck with your show.

CONAN: Thanks very much.

CICCONETTI: All right, take care.

CONAN: Mike Cicconetti is a municipal judge in Painesville, Ohio, currently in his third six-year term in office. Joining us here in Studio 3A is Carl Caulk, assistant director of judicial security for the U.S. Marshals. Thanks very much for coming in today.

CARL CAULK: Good afternoon, Neal.

CONAN: And U.S. Marshals, obviously a municipal court judge outside of your jurisdiction, but these kinds of things happen to federal officials, too.

CAULK: Absolutely, and we literally have hundreds of threats and inappropriate communications that are made against judicial and prosecutorial officials at a federal level every year.

CONAN: And how do you decide which to take seriously?

CAULK: Well, to be frank, we take all of them seriously. We have a cadre of threat investigators around the United States, and those individuals investigate each and every one of those threats and inappropriate communications that are received by our protectees.

CONAN: And when do you decide to disrupt the lives of someone who's been threatened?

CAULK: Well, after an initial assessment is made of a threat, then we generally put in a set of protective measures that can run the full gamut all the way up to a 24/7 protection detail with any number of people around a protectee's home and their travel, et cetera.

CONAN: Now the FBI is involved in this case in Texas. I - again not your bailiwick, but I wonder, when you hear something like that, what's your reaction?

CAULK: Well, you know, our reaction quite frankly is - I mean, we share reaction that is, you know, any time we see an attack on a prosecutor or a judge at any level, it shows a general disregard for the rule of law. And anytime we see that, obviously it's concerning to us because from where we sit it does not matter whether it's a state or a local judge or a prosecutor. You know, an attack on the law is an attack on the law.

And so it does give us pause, and obviously, you know, we try to work as closely with our law enforcement partners to not only track what's going on in this case but in all types of threat cases, even if they involve state and local officials.

CONAN: And is your job strictly reactive, you wait until there's a threat, or is there a proactive element, as well?

CAULK: Well, I think there's several proactive things that we like to do. One, I mean, we're charge with a physical security of court facilities around the United States, and so obviously there's some proactive steps that we put in place. There's an education part of this for our protectees. As the judge just mentioned, being aware of your surroundings, being aware when you commute to and from work.

And so there's a whole education piece about personal security awareness when you're not in those secure facilities, when you're at home, when you're commuting. And then of course there's the work that we do to share our knowledge and work closely with state and local law enforcement so they have benefit of our experience and vice versa whenever they're providing protection for state and local officials.

And so that relationship building is very important to us, and then that whole education piece for our protectees is very important from a proactive standpoint.

CONAN: And it was interesting, when Judge Cicconetti was talking about, you know, the feeling that even in a municipal court case like his where at worse somebody might get 30 days in jail, everybody's against him, the feeling that some people have that this is, you know, a terrible wrong that needs to be righted.

CAULK: It is. It's a common - as he pointed out, it's a common feeling that a lot of individuals who threaten, they have that feeling. They have a paranoid feeling that the system is stacked against them. And at the end of the day, judges and prosecutors make decisions that change people's lives. So whether it's a murder case or whether it's as simple as a bankruptcy case, at the end of the day people's lives are being changed, and people react to those decisions that are made by prosecutors and judges.

CONAN: And do these snowball? If one case happens, Atlanta courthouse a few years ago, do you worry that other people may get the same idea?

CAULK: I think, you know, anytime you see a crime perpetrated in a particular way against a judge or a prosecutor, again I go back to it makes us think, it gives us pause because we do worry about individuals taking, you know, like steps to - if they feel that, you know, the system is not giving them a fair shake, so to speak.

CONAN: All right, we want to hear from those of you whose story this is, from judges and prosecutors, from cops, prison officials, as well. Sadly, we are having difficulties with our telephone system. If you're trying to call in, we apologize. We'll try to get it straightened away. We'll give out the phone number again when we do. And please, we want to hear your stories, as well.

I'm Neal Conan. Stay with us. We're talking with Carl Caulk, assistant director of judicial security at the U.S. Marshals Service. If you're in law enforcement, if you have a family member who is, tell us: How do you deal with threats? We'll try to get that phone system sorted out. In the meantime, you can send us email, talk@npr.org. Stay with us. We'll be back in a minute. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This morning, deputies escorted courthouse employees into the building in Kaufman County, Texas, a measure of security just two days after District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were found shot to death in their home.

Elsewhere in Texas, law enforcement agencies are offering extra protection to their staffs. For example, Mike Anderson and his family accepted the sheriff's offer of 24-hour security. He's district attorney in Harris County, which includes Houston. He told ABC News that district attorneys across Texas are still in a state of shock.

If you're an officer, a DA, a prison official, a judge, if you've lived under threat, call and tell us how you deal with it. Our phone number, well, our regular phone number is still not working, but you can give us a call, 202-513-2531. Again the number, right now, 202-513-2531. You can also reach us by email. That address, that's the usual one. That's talk@npr.org.

Carl Caulk, assistant director of judicial security for the U.S. Marshals Service, is our guest. He's with us here in Studio 3A. Joining us now, Judge Sid Harle, a district court judge in San Antonio, Texas, also a former prosecutor. He's on the line with us from his office there in San Antonio. And Judge Harle, nice to have you with us today.

SID HARLE: Thank you, Neal, thanks for having me.

CONAN: And I know you used to be a prosecutor, as well. So this must be an alarming situation as you think about what's happening in Kaufman County.

HARLE: Well absolutely, and I'd like to start by offering my deepest condolences and sympathies to the McClelland family, the Hasse family and of course the Clements family. They were dedicated public servants, and it was a great tragedy. But it is concerning and alarming.

CONAN: Mr. Hasse of course the assistant district attorney in Kaufman County who was killed on the courthouse steps in January; Mr. Clements, the heads of prisons in Colorado, who died last month, shot at his home. And, you know, there's a suspicion, and it's just a suspicion now, that these may be connected.

HARLE: That is true. That's what I'm reading and from the briefings we're getting. They're taking that as a very serious possibility.

CONAN: I wonder, Carl Caulk, as you sit here with us in the studio, when you're thinking about one incident, well, one threat bad enough. When it might be an organized group, how does that change your thinking?

CAULK: Well, in terms of the investigation itself, it does not change it significantly in that our entire investigative thrust is to mitigate whatever threat has been made. That's done through a variety of means, be it subject interviews, be it cooperative interviews with family and friends. Certainly if you introduce a group dynamic with group thinking and a group hierarchy, it makes it more difficult in terms of span of control of an investigation.

The investigation certainly becomes exponentially larger, in terms of possible threateners.

CONAN: Judge Harle, did you face threats as a prosecutor? Do you face threats as a judge?

HARLE: Certainly everyone in this line of work at some point in time has threats leveled at them, and it is part of the job, and you can't let it change the way you run your court or the way you prosecute or frankly your quality of life. You worry more about your family than yourself, but you just need to be aware and take precautions and always, you know, just be aware of your surroundings and know what's going on.

But we rely heavily on the law enforcement end to evaluate the credibility and the seriousness of the individual threats. We get briefings from, here locally, in San Antonio, the U.S. Marshalls Office has come over and helped us with our security. And our head of security here, the sheriff of Bexar County, is excellent at keeping us apprised of potential threats.

CONAN: And how do you decide when to notify the authorities that you've received a threat?

HARLE: Oh, we notify them about anything, something that occurs in the courtroom, something that occurs by mail or telephone. We've got some harassing phone calls going on in Bexar County right now that the sheriff is keeping everyone apprised of so everybody knows what's going on. So everyone takes every threat seriously, but the level of preparation and concern kind of changes.

We had one a couple of weeks ago against one of our local judges that was originated by someone that was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, and that's obviously very concerning because they are a well-organized and dangerous group, and you can't prepare enough for something like that.

And as we've discovered, there's no level of preparation that's going to be absolute. You can carry a gun. You can be aware of people coming to your home. You can have absolute security. But if it's someone lying in wait in an ambush situation or a home invasion, there's not much anybody can do in that regard.

CONAN: And we had been told that District Attorney McLelland, particularly after Mr. Hasse's murder, was, well, very aware of the possibility that he might be under threat, too, carried a gun, and that didn't - do you also try to protect yourself like that as well?

HARLE: I have on occasion carried a gun on my person. Typically I do not carry it daily. I have many weapons at my home. I have a concealed weapon handgun license. I'm a magistrate, so I can carry a weapon. I do have them in my vehicles. But unless I'm concerned about an overt threat, I don't carry it on my person generally.

But frankly you don't want to rely too much on weapons. you want to rely on awareness and knowledge of your surroundings and varying your, you know, time you get here and what time you leave and just take general precautions, rely on that over and above weapons, because someone else could certainly be out - you could be outgunned, and someone else could be in a situation where they're going to be lying in wait in an ambush like we saw, and there's really not much you can do in that regard.

CONAN: One place anybody knows you're going to be is at your bench. We heard Judge Cicconetti tell us earlier that he keeps a stun gun at his bench when he hears cases. What about you?

HARLE: Well, I rely on my bailiffs in the court. We have some excellent sheriff's deputies assigned. And, you know, we're talking about criminal cases, but really some of the worst cases that we deal with on a daily basis are family law cases, child custody, divorces, and those individuals are at a high level of emotional state, distraught and concerned. And we've had threats of judges that are hearing those cases here in Bexar County.

And they have one bailiff to my two bailiffs. So everyone has to be prepared and be ready. But mostly the judges rely on their security in the courtroom.

CONAN: Carl Caulk, I guess you have to rely on security in the courtroom, though as we've seen, sometimes that does break down, very rarely. But outside the courtroom, varying your habits, this is not living your life in a normal way.

CAULK: No, you're 100 percent correct. And the judge referenced the education and that personal security awareness when you're outside of the courthouse. Unfortunately that's become the norm for both prosecutors, as well as judges, at all levels. And you're correct that it takes away some of your flexibility, it takes away some of your freedom, if you will, but unfortunately it's become a requirement to vary those commuting habits, to be certainly aware of your surroundings, to look at home security, home alarms, how you can harden your residence, if you will.

And then as the judge said, anything untoward whatsoever, reporting that to law enforcement so that it can be investigated whether it's an overt threat or even if it's what we call an inappropriate communication, which is somewhat more veiled in nature, but anything that's inappropriate or out of the normal course of business.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get a caller in on the conversation. Again our regular phone line is not working today. We apologize for that. 202-513-2531. And we've gotten some emails, as well. This is from Barbara in Red Bluff, California: Please don't limit this problem to judges and prosecutors. My husband practices criminal defense exclusively, private and indigent, through contracts with our superior court system.

Believe me, when an angry and irrational defendant is reactive, the defense counsel is also a target, and my husband's dealt with threats through his career, as well. We believe the situation is growing more and more dangerous as people seem to lose respect for the judicial system and human life in general.

This from Helen: As the child of an adult circuit court probation and parole officer, I understand these concerns. As a child if we bumped into one of my mom's parolees in the grocery store, she would be cordial, but she did not introduce us. We were trained never to ask someone's name nor introduce ourselves. She was required to keep our home phone number published, and that included our address. Early on, you learn to be careful.

Your address, Judge Harle, I assume you are very cautious with that.

HARLE: Well, it is, it's easily accessible. We have to file reports with the state that list properties that we own, and it wouldn't take very much for anybody to find out where you live. So you just have to be aware of that. But let me echo that first email. I was a defense attorney for a long time, and trust me, they get equally as serious threats because they have to deal with court-appointed clients that they didn't choose, that are irrational, as she stated, and those threats are often and perhaps even more often than what we see on the prosecutor and judges' side.

CONAN: John's on the line with us from Oklahoma City.

JOHN: Yes, hello, how are you?

CONAN: Fine. Thank you very much for calling.

JOHN: Yeah. I was going to comment on - the actual event, as transpired recently. I'm a security consultant for a company out here in Oklahoma City, and we work exclusively with the district attorney's office and the municipal courts. Now, we all privately hire, though, and I know in our situation, some of the prosecutors and judges that we protect and their families, we actually stay in the courtrooms with them and sometimes stay at home with them, up to 24 hours a day, and we do wear plain clothes. But we're in the courtrooms with them just a member of the actual court, so to speak, but...

CONAN: And this is presumably after some sort of credible threat?

JOHN: Absolutely, absolutely. Now, the only downfall is here in Oklahoma City, they currently don't have, in the city limits, an area in which the city or the state will help foot this bill, so to speak. So this is entirely out of these individuals' pockets, and it does get quite costly after a while.

CONAN: I can understand that. This is - these are highly trained professionals, and obviously, you don't want somebody who isn't highly trained.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHN: Yeah. See can say on firsthand knowledge, though, just really quick for your callers, is mitigation. You know, if one is aware of their surroundings beforehand, two-thirds of the time, you can alleviate any initial threat. It just - you have to be really, really aware and think outside the box, especially some of my clients. When they are targeted, a lot of times, you know, they'll focus the security on themselves, but their families become the initial target after that, as well. So it's tough.

CONAN: All right. Well, thanks very much, and we appreciate the call.

JOHN: You bet.

CONAN: Here's an email, we have this from William in Media, Pennsylvania: Does angry criticism of a judge, prosecutor, law enforcement official qualify as a threat? Carl Caulk?

CAULK: Well, I would say angry criticism is kind of a relative term. I mean, we certainly - if it's criticism of a judge's ruling that they have made in a particular case, and we're certainly aware of and we respect individuals' First Amendment rights. So, I mean, we have a number of what we would consider to be kind of triggering events that would come into play whenever we assess whether or not somebody's kind of crossed a line. But angry criticism or criticism in of itself, we do not consider threatening. We consider it to be protected by an individual's First Amendment rights.

CONAN: We're talking about - after three murders now in Texas and one in Colorado, just in the past couple of months - about the threats received by cops, prosecutors, judges, prison officials and, as we're hearing, criminal defense attorneys, as well. 800-989-8255 is our phone number. Looks like the phone system's back up. Email us: talk@npr.org. Our guests, you just heard Carl Caulk, assistant director of judicial security for the U.S. Marshal Service, with us here in Studio 3A.

Also with us, Judge Sid Harle, a district court judge in San Antonio. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News. And Judge Harle, as you consider the kinds of threats you face, is this something you signed up for? Is this something, had you known about it, might have change your decision about your career choices?

HARLE: Well, frankly, Neal, I was a prosecutor. I've been on the bench since 1988, but I was a prosecutor for several years before that, and I was a criminal defense attorney. And, you know, I enjoy what I do. I ran for the bench knowing exactly what happens and what could happen. You don't really have a lot of concern for yourself, but you always worry about dragging your family into it. And I've been fortunate in that the threats that I've received have not been credible to the extent that I was overly concerned about them, and I didn't have to have the 24/7 security.

But we do, in Bexar County, have that, and several of my fellow prosecutors and judges have had the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week security until the threat level has been assessed to be minimal, or the individual has been caught. So it is - it's kind of part of the job, and you just, again, can't let it change your quality of life and can't let it change the way you rule on cases and run a fair and impartial court.

CONAN: Paula's on the line with us from Rockford, Illinois.

PAULA: Hi. My father was a chief felony prosecutor. And as a child, it was absolutely terrifying living with someone in that profession. We were threatened all the time, and we were told to take caution wherever we went. We had bomb threats. We had snipers trying to kill my father, trying to kill us. It was terrifying.

CONAN: And how did you cope with it, in the long run?

PAULA: Well, as I grew older, I'm a psychotherapist now, and I know now that we had post-traumatic stress. That's - all my brothers and I both developed - all three of us developed post-traumatic stress from living as children with a career prosecutor.

CONAN: And your dad?

PAULA: And my father was a tough Marine prosecutor, and he just worked through it. But that's not true for this family, and that's what's so difficult to hear in this situation, because I feel like families have been neglected in terms of their protection. One thing to the prosecutor, that's his career. That's his choice. The children are innocent victims.

CONAN: Carl Caulk, I know that families are, as we heard earlier, sometimes the first attention's deflected onto them, rather than the initial source of the anger.

CAULK: Yeah. We've actually had threats made against family members primarily, instead of our normal, what we would call our normal protectee. And in many of those cases, we've seen protection provided for not only a judge or a prosecutor or other court family member, but also for family members. I would echo Barbara's email in that defense counsel are subject to threat. We investigate threats involving defense counsel, as well, in the federal system.

I've seen defense counsel physically attacked in a courtroom more so than I have prosecutors inside of a courtroom. But certainly, family members become a part of the entire threat investigation. Our security briefings that are being given include family members and kind of what they can do from a personal security stand point, as well.

CONAN: Well, Paula, thank you very much for the phone call.

PAULA: And it works just fine as long as we know that there is an immediate threat, but the problem is those people who were prosecuted get out of prison, and then they often try to target the family. We had bomb threats put underneath our - we had to check the roofs of our cars and lids of our car before we got into them after college classes, because we were supposed to be having bombs underneath those. Now, if you know there's an immediate threat, then you can take care of it. But with prosecutors, they have cases for years that can eventually be a threat to them and their family, and they're not going to know about it until it happens.

CONAN: Again, Paula, thanks very much for the phone call. We appreciate. And our thanks, as well, to Judge Sid Harle, who joined us today from San Antonio, Texas. Appreciate your time.

HARLE: Thank you, Neal.

CONAN: And Carl Caulk of the U.S. - director of judicial security at the U.S. Marshal Service, who joined us here in Studio 3A. Thanks very much for coming in. And again, all our thoughts go out to those families in Texas and in Colorado who's - well, suffered such terrible losses in the past couple of months. We hope this can be resolved very, very quickly. Thanks very much for your time today.

CAULK: Thanks very much.

CONAN: Coming up next, we'll be going to the Opinion Page and Jackson Diehl of The Washington Post, who argues that we've got the Washington - what the Iraq War taught him about Syria. Stay with us for that, and we apologize for the problems with the phone system, as well. It's working. It's the TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News.

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Mahama Administration Must Stop Asset-Stripping The VRA


Apparently, recently, the deputy power minister, the Honourable John Jinapor, appealed to Ghanaians with power industry expertise, to put their knowledge at the disposal of the government. The question is: Will their hard-of-hearing regime listen to such advice when it is offered?

Although one is not an energy expert, one's humble advice to the deputy power minister, is that he would do well to ask his counterpart in the Bahamas, to share the win-win proposal from the U.S. energy company, PowerSecure International, to manage the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), with the government of Ghana.

That win-win proposal enabled the bid submitted by PowerSecure International to win an international tender to manage the BEC for five years. Unlike the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the BEC is both a power generator and distributor.

A key deliverable that PowerSecure International is tasked with producing, as an outcome, is to ensure that within the five-year timeframe its agreement with the Bahamian government to manage the BEC, will last for, the high electricity tariff that Bahamians currently have to pay for electricity, will be reduced considerably.

PowerSecure International's win-win agreement with the Bahamian government will be an eye-opener for the Hon. John Jinapor and his ministerial colleagues in their hard-of-hearing regime - and help the honest ones in that regime to better protect the nation's vital interests in the power sector.

What the Hon. John Jinapor & Co ought to understand clearly, is that Ghana's power-sector needs ethical investors - not fraudsters on the lookout for nations with naive leaders to rip-off.

The question is: Has the time not now come for our country to make it a national goal to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel-fired thermal power plants - and do everything possible to find partners to build the world's biggest offshore wind farm deploying giant wind turbines to produce 10,000MW?

Ditto create the conditions that will make Ghana an attractive destination for investors to partner locally-based Ghanaian entrepreneurs to invest in household, business, community and utility-scale solar power (with storage) initiaves  across the country to give more people off-grid energy independence.

Could the VRA not lead such projects with its experienced world-class power-sector professionals?

What sense does it therefore make to deliberately kill off the state-owned power producer by dismembering it - when its fortunes could be revived by making it a pan-African renewable energy giant: for the benefit of our homeland Ghana, I ask?

Instead of allowing Mother Ghana to be milked dry by signing one-sided agreements detrimental to Ghana's interests, with ruthless and parasitical companies like the so-called Africa & Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI), the Mahama administration ought to rather deal with reputable and solid companies like PowerSecure International.

Anyone who thinks creatively ought to be able to envision how a partnership with PowerSecure could easily turn the VRA into a pan-African renewable energy giant - in a continent desperate for inexpensive electricity.

PowerSecure is a reputable and experienced power company that is underpinned by an ethical ethos - and is meticulously fair in all its dealings with emerging nations such as ours.

On the other hand, with its known Norwegian and Pakistani playboy-fraudster-antecedents, in the person of Umar Farooq Zahoor, AMERI is clearly not a company Ghana really ought to be doing any transactions with at all.

So why do dubious swap deals that in effect mean asset-stripping the VRA to pay off debts owed it and other independent power producers (IPP) - debts that only arose because the genuises who lead our country signed daft power-sector agreements detrimental to Ghana (probably in return for secret kickbacks)?

Instead of destroying the VRA to create something-for-nothing wealth for IPPs, which have come to Ghana on their own volition in search of profits - let us not forget - the John Jinapors ought to put their thinking-caps on for once.

Instead of taking actions that effectively mean  destroying the VRA, why do they not  rather insist that those IPPs accept long-term government papers, for the mountain of piled up debt owed them, which has accumulated only because our leaders signed one-sided agreements  detrimental to Ghana with those IPPs, instead of win-win ones?

Are there not  many private entities in Ghana's financial services sector that will happily discount long-term government paper for cash, any day, I ask? Haaba.

The question is: What does the Hon. John Jinapor have to say about accusations by staff of the Volta River Authority (VRA) that the current government is in effect asset-stripping the VRA - for the benefit of AMERI? It is a very serious allegation.

The Mahama administration must not think that Ghanaians are fools. We are not. Full stop.

Members of the current government must not think for one moment that those in their ranks who cause financial loss to Ghana will escape punishment in future. They will not. Never.

They must all remember that if elected President in this December's elections, Paa Kwesi Nduom will probe all the regimes that have governed our country, since the 4th Republic came into being. God bless Nduom's quest for the presidency, for that reason.

The vast majority of ordinary people in Ghana are fed up to the back teeth with well-connected criminals brutally gang-raping Mother Ghana - and resent the fact that criminals of that ilk always get away with such heinous crimes.

Whiles we wait for Nduom to become President, for the time being, one's humble advice to those patriotic VRA staff members, who are raising the alarm about the disgraceful conduct of those who are giving away yet more of our nation's assets, to foreign carpetbaggers - in order to line their own pockets - is that they must seek the help of the Minority Leader in Ghana's Parliament.

Why do they not ask the Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu to petition the Emir of Dubai, His Highness Sheik Mohammed bin Rasdhid Al Maktoum, on their behalf, and bring the issues they are raising regarding the apparent transfer of some of the VRA's assets to the Dubai domiciled AMERI, to his attention?

Sheik  Mohammed Al Maktoum is a very principled and fair-minded leader who does not tolerate corrupt practices by his blood-relatives.

If anyone in this world could singlehandedly halt what the VRA's staff are convinced is a particularly egregious example of a very bad and unfair deal for Mother Ghana, that person is HH Sheik Mohammed Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's Emir and vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

Petitioning him will enable the VRA's protesting workers to deal effectively with the crooks in the Mahama administration who are behind this latest  rip-off of Mother Ghana that the asset-stripping of the VRA for the benefit of AMERI represents.

One's humble advice to the administration of President Mahama is that given the present mood of the country, under no circumstances must they engage in asset-stripping the VRA. There will be consequences some day if they do.

The Mahama Administration Must Stop Asset-Stripping The VRA


Apparently, recently, the deputy power minister, the Honourable John Jinapor, appealed to Ghanaians with power industry expertise, to put their knowledge at the disposal of the government. The question is: Will their hard-of-hearing regime listen to such advice when it is offered?

Although one is not an energy expert, one's humble advice to the deputy power minister, is that he would do well to ask his counterpart in the Bahamas, to share the win-win proposal from the U.S. energy company, PowerSecure International, to manage the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), with the government of Ghana.

That win-win proposal enabled the bid submitted by PowerSecure International to win an international tender to manage the BEC for five years. Unlike the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the BEC is both a power generator and distributor.

A key deliverable that PowerSecure International is tasked with producing, as an outcome, is to ensure that within the five-year timeframe its agreement with the Bahamian government to manage the BEC, will last for, the high electricity tariff that Bahamians currently have to pay for electricity, will be reduced considerably.

PowerSecure International's win-win agreement with the Bahamian government will be an eye-opener for the Hon. John Jinapor and his ministerial colleagues in their hard-of-hearing regime - and help the honest ones in that regime to better protect the nation's vital interests in the power sector.

What the Hon. John Jinapor & Co ought to understand clearly, is that Ghana's power-sector needs ethical investors - not fraudsters on the lookout for nations with naive leaders to rip-off.

The question is: Has the time not now come for our country to make it a national goal to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel-fired thermal power plants - and do everything possible to find partners to build the world's biggest offshore wind farm deploying giant wind turbines to produce 10,000MW?

Ditto create the conditions that will make Ghana an attractive destination for investors to partner locally-based Ghanaian entrepreneurs to invest in household, business, community and utility-scale solar power (with storage) initiaves  across the country to give more people off-grid energy independence.

Could the VRA not lead such projects with its experienced world-class power-sector professionals?

What sense does it therefore make to deliberately kill off the state-owned power producer by dismembering it - when its fortunes could be revived by making it a pan-African renewable energy giant: for the benefit of our homeland Ghana, I ask?

Instead of allowing Mother Ghana to be milked dry by signing one-sided agreements detrimental to Ghana's interests, with ruthless and parasitical companies like the so-called Africa & Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI), the Mahama administration ought to rather deal with reputable and solid companies like PowerSecure International.

Anyone who thinks creatively ought to be able to envision how a partnership with PowerSecure could easily turn the VRA into a pan-African renewable energy giant - in a continent desperate for inexpensive electricity.

PowerSecure is a reputable and experienced power company that is underpinned by an ethical ethos - and is meticulously fair in all its dealings with emerging nations such as ours.

On the other hand, with its known Norwegian and Pakistani playboy-fraudster-antecedents, in the person of Umar Farooq Zahoor, AMERI is clearly not a company Ghana really ought to be doing any transactions with at all.

So why do dubious swap deals that in effect mean asset-stripping the VRA to pay off debts owed it and other independent power producers (IPP) - debts that only arose because the genuises who lead our country signed daft power-sector agreements detrimental to Ghana (probably in return for secret kickbacks)?

Instead of destroying the VRA to create something-for-nothing wealth for IPPs, which have come to Ghana on their own volition in search of profits - let us not forget - the John Jinapors ought to put their thinking-caps on for once.

Instead of taking actions that effectively mean  destroying the VRA, why do they not  rather insist that those IPPs accept long-term government papers, for the mountain of piled up debt owed them, which has accumulated only because our leaders signed one-sided agreements  detrimental to Ghana with those IPPs, instead of win-win ones?

Are there not  many private entities in Ghana's financial services sector that will happily discount long-term government paper for cash, any day, I ask? Haaba.

The question is: What does the Hon. John Jinapor have to say about accusations by staff of the Volta River Authority (VRA) that the current government is in effect asset-stripping the VRA - for the benefit of AMERI? It is a very serious allegation.

The Mahama administration must not think that Ghanaians are fools. We are not. Full stop.

Members of the current government must not think for one moment that those in their ranks who cause financial loss to Ghana will escape punishment in future. They will not. Never.

They must all remember that if elected President in this December's elections, Paa Kwesi Nduom will probe all the regimes that have governed our country, since the 4th Republic came into being. God bless Nduom's quest for the presidency, for that reason.

The vast majority of ordinary people in Ghana are fed up to the back teeth with well-connected criminals brutally gang-raping Mother Ghana - and resent the fact that criminals of that ilk always get away with such heinous crimes.

Whiles we wait for Nduom to become President, for the time being, one's humble advice to those patriotic VRA staff members, who are raising the alarm about the disgraceful conduct of those who are giving away yet more of our nation's assets, to foreign carpetbaggers - in order to line their own pockets - is that they must seek the help of the Minority Leader in Ghana's Parliament.

Why do they not ask the Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu to petition the Emir of Dubai, His Highness Sheik Mohammed bin Rasdhid Al Maktoum, on their behalf, and bring the issues they are raising regarding the apparent transfer of some of the VRA's assets to the Dubai domiciled AMERI, to his attention?

Sheik  Mohammed Al Maktoum is a very principled and fair-minded leader who does not tolerate corrupt practices by his blood-relatives.

If anyone in this world could singlehandedly halt what the VRA's staff are convinced is a particularly egregious example of a very bad and unfair deal for Mother Ghana, that person is HH Sheik Mohammed Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's Emir and vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

Petitioning him will enable the VRA's protesting workers to deal effectively with the crooks in the Mahama administration who are behind this latest  rip-off of Mother Ghana that the asset-stripping of the VRA for the benefit of AMERI represents.

One's humble advice to the administration of President Mahama is that given the present mood of the country, under no circumstances must they engage in asset-stripping the VRA. There will be consequences some day if they do.

Friday, August 5, 2016

What Is The Best Contribution That The Media In Ghana Can Make To The Nation-Building Effort Before The December Elections?

Given the intense rivalry between the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), it is not surprising that there is not a single Ghanaian citizen  anywhere in the world, who truly loves our homeland Ghana, who is not worried about the future of our nation, as the date for the December presidential and parliamentary elections approaches.

For many such Ghanaians, it is inexplicable that the media in Ghana seem to be blithely oblivious of something that is blindingly obvious to the rest of the world.

The fact of the matter, is that in the immediate aftermath of the December elections, the uncontrollable and violence-prone hardliners in the constituent parties that make up the NDC/NPP duopoly, which have dominated Ghanaian politics since the 4th Republic came into being, will tip Ghana over the precipice - as sure as day follows night - if Ghanaians do not reject both President Mahama and Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo,  and vote for a third-force candidate such as Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, instead, in the December presidential election.

The question is: Why have so many Ghanaian journalists - and the media entities that some of them are employed by - failed to make the point to ordinary  Ghanaians, that because they are in the firm grip of ruthless extremists, both the NDC and NPP are no longer fit-for-purpose political entities: and that a democratic society underpinned by tolerance and fairness ought to consign them to the landfill of African history?

Are we not at a juncture in Ghana's history, when the nation needs to be governed by honest men and women, who are competent, tolerant and fair-minded individuals - who understand clearly that Ghanaians ought to put extreme partisanship aside and unite to move their nation forward: for the common good? Haaba.

And does that not rule out from the equation the NDC/NPP duopoly because they are both political parties that are structured to enable incompetent, dishonest and corrupt politicians (some of whom are criticism-averse and violence-prone),  to band together to seek power - and enrich themselves, their favourite blood-relatives and their cronies at the expense of ordinary people and Mother Ghana?

Is it not therefore odd that thus far - with presidential and parliamentary elections a mere four months away - Ghanaian journalists have failed to make the point that until they publicly publish all the sources of their parties' funding, as well as their own assets, and those of their spouses,  politicians who accuse each other of being corrupt, are ill-intentioned, mischievous and simply being hypocritical?

If Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom is apparently willing to publicly publish not only his and Mrs. Yvonne Nduom's assets,  but that of his entire nuclear family (and, if elected, demand that of all the public-sector appointees he selects, too, as H.E. President Nduom), and publicly publish all the sources of his party's campaign funds, before the December elections, does that not set the standard for all those who want to hold the high office of President of the Republic of Ghana, I ask?

And best of all, Nduom is determined to end impunity in Ghana, by probing all the regimes that have held power since the 4th Republic came into being - and take back all the wealth stolen from taxpayers in the many crooked deals entered into by the rogues who amassed great wealth by ripping off Mother Ghana whiles in  office. Is that not the kind of leader Ghana needs? So why is the media not endorsing Nduom? Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o.

Do Ghanaian journalists not understand that to move ahead as a people, we must bring the era when the boldest of the respectable-looking-crooks in Ghana, joined political parties in order to use them as special purpose vehicles to amass great wealth, with, to an end? The time has come for  Ghana to be governed by honest and principled men and women, who are world-class professionals, who seek political power in order to be in a position to serve society - and help improve the lot of the masses of the Ghanaian people.

Henceforth, before they end their interactions with all politicians, journalists in Ghana must ask those politicians whether or not they agree that the most effective way to fight high-level corruption in this country, is to ensure that all political appointees and their spouses publicly publish their assets before assuming office, and immediately after their tenures end - and then go on to ask them whether or not they are personally prepared to publicly publish their own assets and those of their spouses, before the December presidential and parliamentary elections.

That will be the best contribution that Ghanaian journalists and media entities in Ghana can make to the nation-building effort as we approach the December elections. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa!





Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Let Us Implement Act 699 - And Enable Ghanaians In The Diaspora To Vote In Ghana's National Elections

Ten years have passed since the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2006 (Act 699), the so-called ROPA, was passed by Ghana's Parliament. Unfortunately, it is yet to benefit any of the millions of Ghanaians in the Diaspora it was meant to enfranchise.

It is a totally unacceptable situation - as the contribution that Diasporans make to Ghana's development is immense. Although not many Ghanaians realise it, the Ghanaian Diaspora does actually constitute an important economic pillar of Ghana's development.

Indeed, if Diasporans could vote in national  elections in Ghana too from overseas, it would force our obtuse political class to take their needs into account - and focus on making it easy for Diasporans to establish and effectively run businesses in Ghana from overseas.

If that is done Ghanaians will be pleasantly surprised to find our national economy surging ahead quickly. That is why it is so vital that Act 699 is implemented quickly.

If Diasporans could vote overseas in our elections, they would most probably plump for the results-driven  world-class leadership qualities  that Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom's candidacy offers our nation - for many of them know that an Nduom administration, were he to be elected President, would  more likely than not, give businesses owned in Ghana by Diasporans, tax exemptions.

Taxes on the goods Diasporans need to import into Ghana to operate their businesses here, would probably be waived by an Nduom adminstration - and those selfsame businesses  possibly given 10-year tax holidays from paying corporate taxes.

If that were to happen, will Ghana's economy not experience an unprecedented boom that will last for many years regardless of global economic conditions - for Diasporans in the main don't lack confidence in the enterprise Ghana and are thus patient investors in it for the long haul: unlike your average foreign fair-weather emerging markets investor on the lookout for short-term profits.

As a people we need to give Diasporans the same tax breaks we are so quick to give to foreign investors. A dear childhood friend, who is a U.S. passport holder of Ghanaian heritage, has had to go through many difficulties trying to set up a logistics business in Ghana, using ex-U.S. military Oshkosh and Harsco BMY truck tractors.

Most of those difficulties  arise from the fact that he has had to contend with endless taxes and levies that he has to pay to get equipment into Ghana. So instead of a large fleet of heavy duty all-terrain ex-military vehicles that he had originally planned to import into Ghana, he has brought in just a handful thus far - and has paused to reconsider his plans.

What he has gone through, has convinced me that giving Diasporans tax exemptions on all the equipment they need to import into Ghana, to operate their businesses here, makes perfect sense.

True to form, although he has not started business yet, his company is constantly being pestered by the Ghana Revenue Authority's (GRA) Weija office at the Ghana Industrial and Commercial Estates Limited (GICEL).

I am telephoned frequently by GRA staff from that Weija office - much to my annoyance - who keep calling me despite my having told them a zillion times that his company has not started operating yet, as far as I can tell. Incredible.

In the meantime, foreign investors in Ghana, particularly multinational companies, are draining the very lifeblood out of Mother Ghana through crooked schemes such as transfer pricing, whiles clueless GRA staff look on.

It makes one wonder whether or not staff of the GRA are yet to study the report of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion project - so that they can leverage it to staunch the massive bleeding that that transfer-pricing rip-off by multinationals in Ghana, amounts to.

Instead of pestering Diasporans who invest in Ghana's real economy, the GRA ought to focus on the many tax-dodging foreign  crooks busy exploiting our country, by abusing free-zone tax exemptions and making a complete nonsense of the bonded warehousing deferred taxes/import duty payments scheme.

Diasporans could help create tens of thousands of jobs for young people in Ghana if offered the same tax breaks we readily dish out to so-called foreign investors so eagerly.

Giving Diasporan businesses 10-year corporate tax holidays is a positive pro-business policy decision that will help the national economy grow quickly - no matter how difficult market conditions in the rest of the global economy become.

Diasporans actually hold the key to Ghans's future in many ways - by the example they set for many in Ghana, who emulate  their work ethic;  benefit from the exposure of Diasporans to the latest disruptive technologies and their adoption of best-practice-ethos in many fields of human endeavour.

They therefore deserve to have a say in choosing Ghana's leaders - and must be given the opportunity to cast votes too during national elections back home, in elections organised by Ghana's EC,  in the countries they are legal residents of.

That is why the usual excuse of lack of funds should no longer be trotted out by officialdom to justify the delay in implementing Act 699.

 As a people, are we saying that we not capable of thinking  creatively to find a way to empower the Electoral Commission (EC), to enable Diasporans to vote in national elections from abroad?

We need to understand that it is simply not fair that in this day and age Ghanaians in the  Diaspoa are still unable to vote in elections in Ghana - because the EC lacks the funds to make that possible. Haaba.

Surely, if we put our thinking caps on and do some lateral thinking, it ought to be possible to find a creative means of funding the EC to ensure the participation of Diasporans in presidential and parliamentary elections, in all the nations in which they reside legally?

Would the Western nations where the largest concentrations of Diasporans live, such as the UK, Germany, Italy, France, the US, Canada, not be amenable to funding the use of their electoral systems by the EC, if approached by the government of Ghana - as their contribution to the growth and entrenchment of democracy in Ghana?

To begin with, why don't we ask the nations that contribute to Ghana's development through budgetary support, to earmark some of those funds to their own electoral bodies - to enable them collaborate with Ghana's Electoral Commission to use their electoral systems to organise elections in their countries for legally resident Ghanaians?

If such a move would enable a key demographic that contributes billions of dollars to Ghana's GDP annually, in diverse ways, to take part in national elections in Ghana, would that not be far more beneficial to our homeland Ghana, than the current situation in which a portion of the funds donated as foreign aid to Ghana, inevitably end up in the secret offshore bank accounts of crooked senior public servants and rogue politicians?

The question then is: How would such collaboration between the EC and the bodies that hold elections in the donor nations providing Ghana with budgetary support (such as the UK's Electoral Commission, for example) work in practice?

In that scenario, British-Ghanaians would be registered on behalf of Ghana's EC, by the Electoral Registration Officers of the UK Electoral Commission, who would work with Ghana's EC to enable them use its system to vote in Ghana's presidential and parliamentary elections, under the supervision of the UK Electoral Commission's Returning Officers across the UK.

Naturally, the details of such collaboration could be worked out between stakeholders in Ghana - the EC, the political parties and Parliament - and the UK authorities. It really is intolerable that Diasporans are still unable to participate in national elections in Ghana.

Yet another idea, would be for earmarked budgetary-support funds from donor nations, to be made available directly to the EC to enable them conduct elections in their home countries, for Ghanaians living there - who in that case would have to travel to our diplomatic missions in the countries they reside to cast their votes in person.

Considering the immense contribution they make to the nation-building effort, as a people, we really ought to find a creative way to fund the EC to conduct elections for all Ghanaians living legally abroad - and finally implement the Representation Of The People (Amendment) Act, 2006 (Act 699).

Towards that end, let us have a meaningful national  conversation, about  finding a creative way to make it possible for the EC to implement Act 699.This has been this blog's two-pesewas. What is yours? Food for thought.