Tuesday, 25 December 2007

LETTERS TO A FRIEND IN INDIA

Hello Nitin,

How very kind of you to remember me - thanks very much, indeed. Well, let me also take the opportunity, to wish you, personally, a merry Christmas - and a very happy 2008! I must say, I admire your commitment to your community, very much indeed.

The determination of so many young people like you, Nitin, across the globe, to improve the quality of life of the communities in which they live, gives one hope for the future.

Whenever I come across determined and idealistic young people like you, my faith in the future is restored - and I am able to hope again, that my grandchildren, living in far away London, as well as all the grandchildren of the rest of my comtemporaries, around the world, just might have a chance, to inherit a world, in which all of humankind, is united, in protecting our planet: and the peoples of the world, care about each other, and see themselves as one.

And that will happen, because your generation of Nitins, cared enough about your fellow human beings, and about the natural environment too, during your stewardship of the planet Earth - unlike my generation, whose greed has resulted in global climate change; international catastrophes like Iraq; and the tragedy of young boat-people from West Africa, risking their lives every day, crossing dangerous oceans, in flimsy boats, to find a better life, elsewhere.

And why are they leaving their own shores to go abroad: to nations where they are despised and not wanted? Because, Nitin, the wealthy EU, has deliberatly closed its eyes firmly, to the crimes against humanity, committed on a daily basis, with arrogant impunity, by thousands of rampaging fishing trawlers, from Europe.

These trawlers are fishing illegally, in the 200-mile economic zones, of nations, too poor, to police those waters. Incredibly they are from the same nations which despise our young people, who, having lost their livelihoods, as a result of the depletion of fish stocks all around the coastline off West Africa - which used to provide them with their livelihoods, have now become desperate. It is the need to feed their families and secure their futures, which drives them to make those suicidal journeys, across dangerous ocean waters.

The rape of the oceans off the West African coastline, by trawlers from Europe, which the criminal activities of those boats represents, can be stopped by the EU today, if they chose to do so: and it is typical of the hypocrisy of the EU, in much of its economic relations, with sub-Saharan Africa.

Europe just doesn't care: and it is a pity that it does not realise that it is in its own interest to help the nations of the West African sub-region protect their fish stocks and the 200-mile economice zones, off their coastline. A booming local fishing industry in the nations of West Africa, will end the waves of boatloads of economic refugees, seeking a better life in the EU.

But, sadly blind and short-sighted (in this instance!) Europe, just doesn't care: for, it brings valuable fish that provides protein for European consumers - and dazzling wealth for the owners of the European fishing fleets, ruining West Africa, and destroying the futures of its next generation, daily.

It is the combined effect of the actions of millions of the caring and sharing Nitins, Nitin, in scores of Vadgams, all over the planet we inhabit so precariously, which will save humankind, in the end! Stay blessed, Nitin - and continue to care about your fellow human beings - for, in so doing, you are also saving yourself, our planet, and safeguarding the very future of your children, and their children!

Best wishes,

Kofi.

Posted at http://www.nabuur.com/ on: 2007/12/23 23:01 (With slight changes for this blog on: 2007/12/25 8:49)




Hello Nitin,

Yes, all of us have a lot to thank Siegfried Woldhek and the organisation, which his far-sighted vison, has produced. And it is concievable, Nitin, that Nabuur.com, may very well win the Noble Prize for peace, at some point in time, during your lifetime! Have you noticed the many cross-cultural friendships, which are being formed in the various villages, at http://www.nabuur.com/?

Nitin, India has made tremendous progress since its Independence, and today, it has a woman as its president. I hope that one day, the caste system, will disappear from Indian society - and that your nation, will consequently be enriched, by the unleashing, of the huge potential, of the outcasts: fellow humans, such as you and I. It is scandalous that any human being is labelled an "untouchable".

Just think of the numbers of potential brilliant inventors; medical doctors; computer scientists; visionary politicians; space explorers; Noble Prize-winning research scientists, etc. etc. that India is missing - because a part of India, is excluded from participating actively, in the mainstream of your national life, and regarded as outcasts.

I am sure it is an uncomfortable subject for many Indians, including you; but one must always be open to new ideas, Nitin: I am sure that we have learnt a thing or two, from each other, and have been enriched by our friendship across the oceans, thousands of miles from each other - but still able to connect with each other, through http://www.nabuur.com!/

Why don't Vadgam's young people, start that journey of a thousand miles, to equality amongst all the peoples of your great and dynamic nation, known as India: by making friends with some untouchables? Stay blessed, dear friend!

Best wishes,Kofi.

PS In time, I shall send your club, some organic papaya seeds, to grow. When they start bearing fruit, you can share it with visitng cricket teams - and tell them it came from an old African man, from Jawalal Nehru's good friend Kwame Nkrumah's, Ghana!

Posted at http://www.nabuur.com/ on: 2007/12/25 0:36 (With slight changes for this blog on: 2007/12/25 8:51)




Hello Nitin,

Thank you so much for agreeing to my posting slightly modified versions, of our conversations, on my personal web blog! That really is is very generous of you.

It is kind of you to say you are learning a few things from our conversation - but you must always remember, Nitin, that we are all of us, learning all manner of things, from each other.

The same enriching personal experiences, are occuring, in the many conversations, which are going on, in the various village projects, on the http://www.nabuur.com/ online volunteer platform!

It really can be a very rewarding journey of discovery - if one is broadminded: and willing to open up to people from different races and cultures!

Well, I am sure I can manage to get the hang of using the messenger chat facility in my Yahoo mailbox, somehow! So you can contact me by email at:peakofithompson@yahoo.co.uk, and we can then have conversations in real time - which will make a nice change!

The papaya seeds will be selected, dried and sent to the ministry of agriculture, to obtain a phytosanitary certificate - to enable us send it to you, Nitin. I do hope we can get all that done by the end of the first quarter of 2008, at the very latest!

Now that the Gujarat state elections are over and done with, I am sure you will try and get hold of your elected representative - and get them to partner you and the organisations that Poonam has succeeded in contacting. Do ask Poonam to let me have copies of her correspondence with the ones I recommended to her, if that is acceptable to all of you.

Based on the contents of the correspondence, I will be able to help you draw up a memorandum of understanding (MOU), for a three-way public private partnership (PPP) between your community-based organisation; the cross-cultural organisations Poonam has contacted; and the relavant local government department, which supports community-based projects, like yours. Thank you once again, Nitin - you are a real sport!

Best wishes,
Kofi.

(First posted at http://www.nabuur.com/ on: 2007/12/25 17:57)

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

NKRUMAISTS: TIME TO UNITE AND LET A NEW CPP RISE AGAIN!

I am amazed that Mr. Obestebi-Lamptey, one of the cleverest and few truly world-class political figures in the New Patriotic Party (NPP), seems to have been taken aback by the huge numbers who took part in the recent Accra Yewuo demonstration organised by the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) - a potent sign of disgruntlement with the status quo if ever there was one.

Apparently, he now recognises the depth of dissatisfaction amongst ordinary people, with the government of the NPP: and has consequently warned his party not to be complacent about the coming December 2008 elections. Wise words, indeed - but a bit too late in the day to be of much help in rescuing his party from its dwindling fortunes.

How did it come about that a man as astute as Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, came to believe in the propaganda of his own party: to the extent that he apparently believed the fantasy put about by the well-funded NPP spin-doctors that ordinary Ghanaians were actually experiencing "positive change" in their individual lives?

Fact is, dear reader, Jake Obestebi-Lamptey and Co must understand that Ghanaians have come to realise that apart from no longer having to look over their shoulder when condemning the unfathomable greed of some of our leaders, there is absolutely no difference between the NPP and the previous regime of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which preceded it.

Yes, there have been those who have had positive change in their lives: as can be seen by the vast fortunes being expended by some of the most ambitious ones in his party, to win them the right to become his party's candidate for the December 2008 presidential elections.

And then of course there are the eternal Busia-Danquah beneficiaries of that party's propensity for Kokofu-football pork-barrel politics, chief amongst whom, are: the leader of Jake's party; his immediate and extended family clan, and the coterie of regime-favourite roguish businesspeople who appear to have a stake in virtually every lucrative deal going.

Then there are the infernal, sly and greedy high net worth oligarchs, in whose collective pocket our number one hypocrite was when he first assumed power as Ghana's leader: until his own family suddenly mushroomed into one of Ghana's (and Africa's) wealthiest families - and he took to calling those who pointed it out as being envious: forgetting that not all of us are driven by greed, and furthermore, that many ordinary people operate on the basis that a good name is better than tainted riches.

And, above all, those who have prospered the most under this regime, are the insufferable, greedy, ruthless and totally amoral tribal-supremacist traditional rulers: to whom Jake's hypocritical leaders are so beholden - and who clearly call the shots in his party: which is why a clever man like Alan Kyremateng can openly suggest, the pure nonsense on bamboo stilts, that he will include "Chiefs" in "his government." Unbelievable. It is an open invitation for an equally clever young military man to promptly overthrow his government, for the sake of Ghana's unity - and swiftly call for fresh elections to usher in a new 5th Republic: were the clever Kyremateng to be so foolish after winning power.

Well, Mr. Obestebi-Lamptey and his crowd must understand that poverty is the worst enemy of democracy - and that their mistake was to slavishly follow neo-liberal economic policies: without considering the social consequences of those policies.

Their so-called private sector-led model of economic development, has led to the developmental equivalent of a gilded-road-to-nowhere: a tiny high-walled gated cul-de-sac community, which is an enclave of unimaginable "waa-waa" wealth surrounded completely by a vast slum that is literally, a seething cauldron of extreme anger and mobrowa discontent. Welcome to the real Ghana, Mr. Obestebi-Lamptey.

And just to let them know how their lack of original thinking has dearly cost our nation, dear reader, let me pass on a few figures about Singapore: a clever nation whose far-sighted and selfless leaders have used the Nkrumaist model of economic development to create a dynamic nation, whose citizens' standards of living has increased progressively since independence.

That tiny city-state, dear reader, happens to be the 17th wealthiest nation in the world, in terms of GDP per capita - and astonishingly, has foreign reserves of over US$ 145 billion. Yet, at one stage, the masters of the universe currently in charge of Nkrumah's Ghana, were crowing over foreign currency reserves of a little over a mere US $ 1billion - made possible, largely, due to the lifeline thrown our country by debt relief.

Similar to the direction taken by Nkrumah's Ghana, and using the model of state-led industrialisation, dominated by state-owned entities like Temasek, and boosted by foreign direct investment, Singapore has succeeded in creating a highly successful and modern economy. And today it is powering ahead with an efficient and transparently-managed, dynamic economy: which is based on electronics manufacturing, petrochemicals, tourism and financial services - besides its centuries-old entrepot trade.

Our national tragedy today, is that the progeny of those who were used by the imperialists and neo-colonialists to overthrow Nkrumah (those treacherous coup leaders of 24th February,1966, were paid US$13 million by the C.I.A. to overthrow him - with even more to come if they murdered the Osagyefo in the process), have not learnt any lessons over the years.

They still do not understand that no African nation can be turned into a prosperous nation-state, if it does not replicate Singapore's model of development: state-led industrialisation managed by honest, competent and gifted leaders - who do not blindly accept the strictures of self-seeking foreign powers and neither copy the West blindly, nor kow-tow to foreign interests!

In other words, you will never hear, for example, a defence minister of Singapore seeking to be its leader, telling reporters that: "America is too powerful" - and consequently obliges every whimsical demand it makes. And unlike Ghana, you will most certainly not see traditional leaders who were once rulers in pre-colonial times, daring to poke their noses into affairs of state either - for, Singapore is the quintessence of a meritocracy: not a kleptocracy dominated by a few pride-filled tribal-supremacists, some with absurd pretensions to past feudal grandeur.

One only hopes that the Convention Peoples Party (New CPP), now led by Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, will take Ghana along that same "Sankofa-path" to sustainable growth, which Nkrumah took, after his liberal policies practised before 1960, spectacularly failed to lift ordinary Ghanaians out of poverty.

The New CPP must also learn from the mistakes of the Nkrumah regime: it must not tolerate corruption within its ranks and it must always deal ruthlessly with those who mismanage state entities - and must stay committed to a free society: to ensure a cross-fertilisation of ideas to help propel our homeland Ghana forward.

And above all, they must offer Ghana principled leadership: One that is full of honesty; is  and puts Ghana, not their personal interests, first, at all times; eschews personal greed, nepotism and cronyism; deals ruthlessly with  family members who think that the entering into public service by their kith and kin, who are in government, is their family's golden opportunity and a passport to amass untold wealth at Mother Ghana's expense.

In short, those who now lead the great party founded by Nkrumah, the New CPP, must always remember that Ghanaians expect them to be completely different from the regimes of the NPP and the NDC. They must improve on, and build upon, the very solid foundation that was laid by Ghana's greatest ever leader, our brilliant founding father Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory - for, clearly, Ghana cannot survive yet another greedy and incompetent regime after December 2008.

The leaders of the New CPP must make it clear to all Ghanaians that their regime will be totally different from Mr. Obestebi-Lamptey's party leader's dreadful regime: which thinks that creating a climate in which selfishness and disdain for the less fortunate thrives (a society in which you exploit others, including the vulnerable, ruthlessly - in order to become super rich), is somehow the way that one builds a harmonious and prosperous African society. Nkrumah did not seek office in order to acquire wealth - and they must also not come to power to acquire wealth, but to serve Mother Ghana instead, by creating a caring and sharing society for the benefit of all Ghanaians.

Some of us may be ardent Nkrumaists, but we will will not spare them from criticism, if they do not clearly spell out the Nkrumaist vision of a modern and united African nation-state, in which the Ghanaian nation-state proclaims that it will not allow any Ghanaian to fall below a minimum standard of living: to enable ordinary people see clearly what their lot will be like in a Ghana run by a New CPP regime.

For, equitably sharing Ghana's wealth, and refusing to allow it to be appropriated by the greedy ambitions of a ruthless and powerful few, is the only way to enable all Ghanaians to be able to lead dignified lives - in a united, prosperous and humane society. And, above all, it is a message that will resonate with ordinary Ghanaians.

May God bless our homeland Ghana always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!

Kofi Thompson can be reached by email at: peakofithompson@yahoo.co.uk and by SMS text message on: (027) 745 3109.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A NEW PRESIDENTIAL JET FOR GHANA?

I was recently accosted by an irate neighbour, who usually calls me, every time I appear on Alhaji Bature's popular Saturday discussion programme,"Alhaji and Alhaji," on Hot FM, to berate me, for "showing gross disrespect" to the current regime - and its hypocritical leader.

So you can imagine my sense of disbelief, dear reader, as I listened to him, telling me, how right he thought I had been about our current president, and the regime he leads, all along : "Awose yedi womu enyina eko prison, Kofi!"

And why was this "my-party-right-or-wrong" fanatic, and relatively well-off stooge for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), hoping that the leaders of his party, would all end up in jail? Well, he had just heard the rumour that President Kufuor had bought a "private jet", which is apparently scheduled for delivery, in 2010 - when he would be out of office.

I tried to explain to this irate NPP foot-soldier, that although it was classified as a private jet, it did not mean that it was President Kufuor's private property - and that if the rumour was true, it simply meant that Ghana had acquired a class of jet, made mainly for private business owners: and that in that sense, the rumour was not strictly accurate. For, the plane would be the property, of the Ghanaian nation-state.

The purchase of the new presidential jet, if true, illustrates perfectly, how our hypocritical ruling elites, constantly pursue their own interests: at the expense of our nation - and its hard-pressed people. The man, who, at the onset of his tenure, refused to use the Gulfstream 11 presidential jet, acquired by the previous regime, because its purchase was shrouded in mystery (and apparent illegality), is now ending his tenure, with the acquisition of a much more expensive presidential jet: purchased without the approval of our spineless parliament. And only heaven knows what financial skulduggery has gone into the financing of its purchase - knowing the unfathomable greed that motivates our government of waa waa "super-kickback-specialists".

And to add insult to the injury done to taxpayers' pockets by this profligacy, it is apparently being funded by the same foreign bank, which was once successfully sued in the US courts, by Tsastu Tsikata, for giving the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), self-interested (and patently bad!) advice, to invest in derivatives, much to the GNPC's detriment - a case Tsatsu Tsikata won.

And if readers will recall, significantly, shortly after assuming power, the NPP halted a case Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata's GNPC had brought against that self same French bank and some of its roguish executives, in the London law courts - and hastily settled the matter out of court: ignoring the fact that the money they were going to pay out to those French rogues in any possible settlement, was a great deal more, than the legal costs, which they claimed was prohibitive: and were hence ending the case.

And today, some of those who sanctioned this rip off of our nation, are fighting each other ( spending billions in the process!), to have the chance, to become Ghana's next president - in order, presumably, to be able to supervise, personally, from the very top, the continued gang rape of mother Ghana, even more effectively (and profitably for themselves; their extended families; and their greedy favourites, amongst our anachronistic and hypocritical double-land-selling traditional rulers)! Hmmm, eye asem o!

And that, dear reader, is how over the years, our nation has been ripped off by our leaders, acting in concert with foreign carpetbaggers! If the rumour turns out to be true, Mr. Kufuor will have the dubious distinction, of being labelled the most hypocritical leader Ghana, has ever had the misfortune, of electing into office, thus far!

It will certainly be interesting to know the actual details of the loan agreement for the purchase of the new presidential jet, from that greedy French bank, which has aided and abetted our leaders' financial skulduggery since they assumed power, in a number of questionable deals - a prime example being the cynical role they played in the takeover of Ashanti Goldfields (the so-called "merger"!).

The main problem, however, is that the parliament we are currently lumbered with, and which could effectively trace the paper trail that would reveal how this regime financed this outrageous deal, which was clearly entered into without parliamentary approval (and should put those who carried it out in prison, for a very long time, some day: for recklessly causing financial loss to Ghana!), is now showing its deficiencies: and it is being exposed to be the toothless bulldog, which those who gave birth to the 4th Republic, intended it to be - so that their dictatorship could successfully metamorphose into a democratically elected civilian regime, in 1992: and enable them carry on exactly as before, with their high-handed ways!

And if the hypocrites now running our country think that they are being clever, by building a new and modern prison: so that those of them who will be tried and jailed for wilfully causing financial loss to the state, when they are turfed out of power in December 2008, will be able to serve their sentences out in comfortable conditions, they had better think again - for, they will be made to serve their sentences, in the worst of the prisons in Ghana. And they can then experience first hand, the consequences of their years of neglect, of much of our nation's public buildings!

It is clear, that the regime President Kufuor leads, is blithely mortgaging the anticipated oil revenues, of our country - for how else could the apostles of the rule of law, have had the audacity and nerve, to purchase a presidential jet, for nearly US$ 40 million, without parliamentary approval: when we have still not made it possible, for example, for all our law courts to be adequately equipped, with recording equipment and computers, to relieve our judges, of the unacceptable drudgery, of having to write down the proceedings of court cases they are hearing, in longhand (in the 21st century ICT world!)?

President Kufour, and the regime he leads, must remember the Ghanaian saying: "No condition is permanent". They must not think they can continue to find endless clever ways to shortchange Ghana, and get away with it. One fine day, the ordinary people of Ghana, will bring the Rawlings-Kufuor era to an end, by dismantling the creature spawned by the sly architects of the December 31st 1981 military coup: the discredited 4th Republic - and replace it with a new 5th Republic, which we shall create in the current conditions of freedom (one of the current hypocritical regime's few truly significant achievements!), as opposed to the days of silence and fear, that saw the birth of the 4th Republic.

President Kufour certainly has the dubious distinction, of leading the most profligate government, ever elected to power, in our country. Today, the man who began his tenure, telling Ghanaians that as a people, we would have to learn to cut our coat, according to the size of our cloth, is building a new presidential palace complex (which I predict will end up costing over US$150 million, by the time it is completed!), to leave as his main legacy. Perhaps having built himself a palatial home before becoming our leader, he knows what benefits such an obvious outward sign of "achievement" brings.

Apparently (if the bush-telegraph is to be believed!), for years, after he built his own monument of personal success at Airport West, it made it possible for him to project an image of a successful man: even though rumour has it, he had to struggle financially, after making his very public statement of having arrived in society, with the completion of his new mansion! And now to top it all, he is also going to leave another sign of his idea of 'success' as Ghana's leader: by acquiring a new presidential jet, costing the impoverished Ghanaian taxpayer, close to US$ 40 million!

Obviously, the mentality of our current leader and his profligate crowd, is that as long as they can point it out to Ghanaians that an expensive acquisition will not benefit them personally, but rather benefit their successors of the future, they can get away with dissipating as much of Ghana's projected future oil revenues they can get away with, today. But it is flawed and dangerous thinking - for, Ghanaians know who the waa waa kickback-specialists are, in the Ghana today - and they will all be made to pay for the reckless errors of judgement they are making on a daily basis, as they near the end of their tenure!

It is a pity the obtuse gang of ruthless tribal supremacists now controlling Nkrumah's Ghana, appear not to have heard of the new developments in the private jet sector - the very light jets (VLJ): most of which cost less than US$ 3 million: but can do all the things larger and infinitely more expensive business jets like the French-made Falcon, do.

Against that figure, the nearly US$40 million they have spent in acquiring the new Falcon from the French plane maker, positively looks criminal. Hmm, eye asem o, Ghana! Asem abeba debi! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana always. Long live Ghana! Long live freedom! Kofi Thompson can be reached by email at: http://uk.f264.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=peakofithompson@yahoo.co.uk and by SMS text message on: 027 745 3109.