Monday, 31 March 2008


Like many ordinary Ghanaians, I am extremely worried, about our country's future. Today, many greedy and dishonest African politicians, who yesterday, when out of power, and in the political wilderness, did not have the nous, to call for the cancellation, of the largely-tainted foreign debt, piled up across the continent, by crooked and repressive regimes (many of which grew rich stealing foreign aid and local taxpayers' money!), are now busy finding, ever more sophisticated methods, to rip their nations off.

A classic example, was Ghana's irresponsible foray, into the piranha-infested capital markets, of the West (the outrageous US$750 million sovereign bond issue - now looking even more daft: for, with US interest rates tumbling to record lows, its an even heavier debt burden, for taxpayers to carry!).

And cheeky public officials, asked, when that madness was first mooted, what plan they specifically had in place, to meet the regular interest payments (to the overseas investors, who were prescient enough, to pile into that naive African bonanza), simply stonewalled!

And as we speak, even parliament, apparently, does not know, what exactly we borrowed the money for; how we propose to meet interest payments; and precisely how much Ghana paid, in underwriting fees, to the extremely well-connected, financial wizards - who manoeuvred our country, into this madness, for private gain (in the golden age, of endless self-seeking, under the most hypocritical regime, ever seen in Ghana, thus far!).

By now, our greedy and hypocritical high net worth oligarchs, have, of course, got the art of "chopping-Ghana-small," down to a fine art. And well-rewarded mercenary hacks, with cotton wool between their ears, and clueless about the financial services industry, were dispatched to pollute the airwaves, with their ignorance - to make ordinary Ghanaians feel, that their nation had somehow, suddenly become the financial equal, of solvent nations!

It was precisely the same well-funded media blitzkrieg, which decent people were swamped with, when our country was also manoeuvred, into giving away the "golden share", in a company, which owned the richest single gold mine, in the world (alas, also for private gain - at mother Ghana's expense!).

And now, apparently, in spite of the fact that we are said to have a thriving stock market, which has seen the over subscription, time and time again, of one IPO after the next, Ghana Telecom, has chosen the fixed income securities route, and has issued bonds in London, to enable it refinance existing debt - at what rates of interest, and for what level of existing debt, we are not told.

And if you live in a nation, in which secrecy in corporate boardrooms, makes the shenanigans concerning shipments, and movements, of small arms, by our secret services, look like a model of good governance transparency, its extremely worrying, to see media headlines, celebrate the rather murky and risky business, of debt refinancing, announcing proudly: "GT lands 200 million bonds."

Yet, we are actually talking about a company that is possibly putting its continued existence at risk - not one that has been blessed with a bountiful windfall! And this, dear reader, is the profession,which proudly calls iself, the 4th branch of government - and claims that it exists to protect the national interest! Hmmm, Ghana. Erye asem, O!

What hope is there, when possible trouble ahead, is celebrated, by the very professionals supposed to pose the right questions, who apparently don't even know, what to ask? Who, in the media, is asking, for instance, whether Iroko's torturous genealogy, is designed to hide its loss-making past, perhaps?

And who is wondering aloud, if the choice of an offshore location, (Mauritius) as the domicile of the company, hides anything? Who are the individual shareholders of the company - and is there a Ghanaian or Nigerian connection, to the company? And who are their Ghanaian associates, if any?

Has any one questioned how a company making losses not too long ago, found its way into the GT boardroom - and talked its way into being appointed the issuing house for the bonds? Was it not actually a loss-making entity, hived off by its parent, because it was hemorrhaging badly?

And above all, how much did they charge as underwriting fees - and how does that compare, with the industry standard? We must also not forget that the famous"light touch" of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the UK's financial services' regulatory authorities, has led to a lack of transparency in certain sectors of the industry.

Consequently, we must never think that companies based in London, are angels, in terms of ethics and full disclosure, in the industry: which has spawned all manner of "smoke-and-mirrors-type" of financial products and instruments. Clever Africans, may base their operations in London, precisely to get the benefits, of the cathet, in Africa, of being based there: to lure the unwary, and innocents abroad!

The reported remarks of GT's board chairperson about making improvements, in the mobile and fixed line services, were extremely vague. Precisely what is the debt for? Is it to pay back or restructure old debt, for which the company possibly cannot maintain payments - and if so, just what is the quantum, of existing debt?

Clearly, any company that is over-geared, is not at a good place - for, it will find it difficult to create a cash surplus: which means it will require new earnings.Question is, in a telecoms climate of such fierce competition, will GT make enough money from its wireless broadband internet service; mobile; and fixed line services, to secure those new earnings?

And since this is a nation in which even the seat of government, apparently serves as a clearing-house for kickbacks (according to a former chairperson of the ruling party!), how do we know that secret payments to big-wigs, is not what was the driving factor, which led the company and the issuing house, to opt for the same idiotic financial equivalent, of a millstone around GT's neck, which our penchant, for opting for long-term fixed-income securities, with high interest rates, represents - an outcome, which could eventually turn out, to be disastrous, for GT: and undermine its long-term stability?

It will be interesting to know how GT's new debt compares to the telecoms industry in Ghana. And perhaps some of the overpaid analysts in the financial services industry, will give us, after the necessary fundamental analysis, comparisons, between companies in the telecoms industry, in Ghana. But above all, GT must allay the fears of those of us, who feel that not opting for the stock market, was an error of judgement, of the most egregious kind. At the very least, it must tell Ghanaians how it plans to repay the bonds!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Dear Sir,

As an African example (albeit one with virtually no formal education, I must confess!), of the breed of the species, referred to by your Mr. Roger Alton, in his March 24, 2008 First Post article, entitled: "The dump accomplices to petty authoritarianism", I am fascinated by the picture conjured up in the mind's eye, of the amazing world, which he ultimately dreams of : a nation-state, in which the Leviathan, has been completely emasculated: and puny humans, including even Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, roam completely free, doing as they please, regardless!

That paradise of the imagination, evoked by the fantasies of today's "know-it-all" neo cons, would be a very interesting place, indeed. The question is, precisely how do the Roger Altons of this world, propose to deal with the many Al Qaeda would-be mass-murderers - determined to a man, to send to early graves, countless innocents, such as commuters in London and New York?

Or would such monsters - spawned by the mad and evil ideology, of fundamentalist religious hatred, propagated by the blasphemous Osama bin Ladens, of today - simply be outlawed by a stroke of the top-dog neo con's pen?

Since the neo cons want to roll back the state, would one be right in assuming that there will be no outlawing of any brainwashed, Islamic fundamentalist would-be mass murderers, in the neo cons' new heaven on earth?

That is the conundrum, Leviathans the world over face - balancing individual freedom and the need for tough measures (including surveillance of individuals and groups!), to protect society.

And it is that, that makes "dump accomplices "( knowing perfectly well, that fundamentalists too, would also have complete freedom to do as they please, in the surveillance-free world, desired by the Roger Altons of this world), wonder, just how the free society, of this neo-con Nirvana of individual freedom, would protect itself, from such unalloyed evil!

Perhaps, to get round that little local difficulty, the mad and dangerous abomination, represented by the outrageous and blasphemous notion, put about, by the very evil Osama bin Ladens of today (and which conditions fundamentalist Islamic myrmidons, into believing, that conspiring to kill tens of thousands of innocent "infidels", just because they happen to live in London or New York, is somehow pleasing, in the eyes of Allah), would be the predominant ideology, in that cloud-cuckoo-land, of complete individual freedom (from the tiresome strictures, one presupposes, of the Aunt Sally Leviathan, that is the modern "nanny-nation-state"!) : the neo-con Nirvana of complete individual freedom? Whatever next, one wonders?

Yours faithfully,

Kofi Thompson.

Saturday, 22 March 2008


If America rejects the brilliant Senator Barack Obama, simply because of the colour of his skin, perhaps, he ought to consider running for the Kenyan presidency, some day!

Speaking as an African, who believes in democracy, I do think that Africa could do, with a man of such outstanding leadership talent. He could, indeed, turn out to be, the Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, of the 21st century - and lead us to the new African Renaissance!

But America would be wise to take a chance with this Jack-Kennedy-like political genius: for, in addition to healing that festering wound of racism, which debilitates America so much; he could also definitely repair, most of the egregious harm , done to America's image abroad, by the neo-cons' crass and shameful insensitivity, to the desire for a place under God's sun, by the rest of the world's peoples.

The truth of the matter, is that America must win friends and influence people, abroad - if it is to be successful, at living in peaceful co-existence, with the rest of the world.

It is the obduracy, of the belligerent neo cons, which fuels the demagoguery, of blasphemous and evil mass-murderers, such as Osama Bin Laden: who thinks, unbelievably, that murdering tens of thousands of innocent people, around the world, by getting misguided Islamic innocents, to blow themselves up, is somehow pleasant, in the eyes of Allah. What blasphemy!

It is futile for a major democratic nation, with such fine traditions of freedom and the rule of law, as America, to seek to dominate the world, by sheer brute military force (whether of the conventional type - or the out-sourced, private-sector, Blackwater, "contractor-variety"!), no matter how powerful it might be: for, in the end, it only diminishes it, morally. Period.

Saturday, 15 March 2008


Not being very well of late, I have been reflecting on my life, a great deal. As a patriot who loves his country, my dying wish, is that our nation will be led by men and women, who are truly decent human beings - who have the vision, to transform Ghanaian society, with the revenues expected from Ghana's oil find.

The idea that our oil wealth might end up enriching only a powerful and greedy few - as it has done in Nigeria - has set me thinking about the nature of political power, in our homeland Ghana: and the ends to which it ought to be put.

In my view, Ghana ought to follow the example of Venezuela (and the other nations that have nationalised their oil industries), in managing its oil find - by nationalising it: and compensating the companies currently drilling for oil here, fairly!

It will be far better for our nation, to use the business model, of a joint-venture partnership, between the Ghana National Peteroleum Corporation, and the biggest and best-resourced, of China's state-owned oil companies (on a 70%-30% basis, with the bigger stake going to GNPC - and its shares paid for, from future profits!), to exploit our oil deposits. Ditto with the Russian state-owned gas-giant, Gazprom, to exploit our natural gas deposits. And we must be prepared to think the unthinkable, in many areas of our national life, to ensure just such an outcome.

There is no doubt that the 4th Republic, is a creature designed specifically, to suit the leadership style, of the man who led the military dictatorship, which preceded it: and to enable the dictatorship of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) to continue wielding political power, by metamorphosing into a civilian democratically elected constitutional regime.

It follows a priori, that the political party, used as the vehicle, to attain that end, is a fraudulent creature too, does it not, dear reader? And I find the idea, that because of this fraudulent creature, progressives will most probably not succeed in winning power in the December elections, simply intolerable.

Why should the Left pass up the best opportunity they have ever had, of returning to power, since the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah - just because the arrogant "owner" of that creature, does not have the humility, and the wisdom, to understand, that he must be prepared to disolve it: if that will help the right conditions to be created, to enable the fragmented Left in Ghanaian politics, to reunite, before it is too late; and prevent a terrible disaster, from striking us, in December 2008? A return to power again, at this critical juncture, in our nation's history, by the incompetent, tribalistic and greedy hypocrites, now in power, simply doesn't bear thinking, dear reader!

But before we proceed any further, we must pause: and ask ourselves a few questions, dear reader. Was the the coup of 31st December, 1981, an act of treason? And was it led by a man, who once led a regime, which came into being, as a result of an armed uprising, by junior military officers, and the other ranks? And did that regime execute senior military officers (some, top-ranking generals, who had once been heads of state), because they had previously staged coup d'etats?

If those who are elected to power in the December 2008 elections, turn out to be just as hypocritical and as greedy as those currently ruling our nation (and those who handed over power to them in January 2001), and proceed to rip our country off, in the provision of infrastructure: by delivering projects, which are not built according to design specifications - because their kickbacks have had to be factored into the cost of the project by the contractors: resulting in poor quality roads and public buildings with inherent structural weaknesses, then it would be in the national interest, to remove them from power - and by force of arms, if necessary.

For, under no circumstances will Ghanaians tolerate the appropriation of Ghana's oil wealth, by men and women with greedy ambitions - at the expense of ordinary people. If that were to happen, it will be necessary to take extreme measures, to safeguard our oil revenues, so that they can be used, to bring about social transformation, in Ghana.

I posit, that it will not be treasonable, under those circumstances, to take up arms, to bring the fraudulent 4th Republic to an end: in order to try for treason, those who illegaly removed from power, the elected regime of the late Dr. Hilla Limman, of blessed memory (and bring to a halt, once and for all, the affront to our dignity as a people, represented by that continuing illegality - protected by those outrageous constitutitonal clauses, known as the "transitional provisions"- which we have had to tolerate, since 1992), and replace it with a new 5th Republic: which will be created under conditions of true freedom, and the hallmark of which, will be a constitution, which will have clear separation of powers, between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

It will also make provision for funding the legislature and the judiciary - as well as the institutions created to fight corruption and the abuse of power, such as the Serious Fraud Office and the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice - from the consolidated fund - to ensure their independence.

We will simply not permit the frittering away of our oil wealth, by a greedy and crafty political class, which, some 51 years after our independence, has not even had the nous, to ensure a quality of life for ordinary Ghanaians, which at the barest minimum, makes it possible for them to have uninterrupted supply of treated drinking water; constant supply of electric power; affordable health-care, available within reasonable distances; to live in a society in which public safety is assured; live in a nation in which all families, not just wealthy ones, can afford to send their children to university if those children have the aptitude to study to tertiary level; and above all, to live in a nation that is not slowly being engulfed in filth!

A democracy, which does not ensure a good quality of life for all its citizens, after 51 years of independence, is certainly not one worth preserving - particularly if it becomes obvious to all discerning individuals, that it only provides a legal framework, for clever crooks, to come to power, and enrich themselves: at the rest of society's expense.

The use of our oil wealth, for the sole purpose, of bringing about social transformation, in our homeland Ghana, is non negotiable - and ordinary Ghanaians will never allow those who come to power to enrich themselves at Ghana's expense, to lay their dirty, greedy hands, on our oil wealth - and use democracy as a protective cloak, to enable them " chop Ghana, small." Never again. Period.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


To paraphrase the famous American novelist and social critic, Upton Sinclair, we don't have to be satisfied with our country as we find it. We can change it. Compared to many an African country, Ghana is a marvellous oasis of peace and stability, in a continent, in which both, are in short supply. And in spite of the many mercenaries in the media (beholden to both the ruling party and the parties in opposition), we have one of the most vibrant media landscapes anywhere in Africa - and although we often condemn our rulers, Ghana is governed relatively more transparently, than most nations in Africa: for, in the main, our national institutions work: even if some do, only feebly!

The forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, will be the most important, since Nkrumah's overthrow, on 24th February, 1966 - for, for the first time since we gained our independence, we will, if our rulers have the wisdom to recognise, and understand, that singular fact, have the wherewithal to enable us transform Ghana, from an impoverished nation, into a prosperous society: one that exists for the common weal.

For that to happen, we must, at all costs, make sure that we devise strategies, which will ensure that our oil wealth, unlike our gold and other mineral resources, is never allowed, to enrich the shareholders of foreign oil companies, in the main, to our nation's detriment - but that rather, every pesawa of it, is harnessed, to transform Ghanaian society: and turn it into one, in which all Ghanaians, not just a powerful few, with greedy ambitions, live well: and none of our people, falls below an agreed minimum standard of living.

It is incumbent on all the political parties in Ghana, to work closely, together with the Electoral Commission (EC), to ensure that all the necessary measures are put into place, so that at the end of the day, the results of the December 2008 elections, will, actually reflect the true wishes, of the people of Ghana. The events in the aftermath of the Kenyan elections, show clearly, just how fragile the stability of nations, which were created, in effect, by the bringing together, of many different tribal groupings (some of which had been ancient rivals), into nation-states, which did not enjoy, the total loyalty, of many of their citizenry, can be.

It is in this vein, that painful though it is, to many Ghanaians, we must, nonetheless, and of necessity, point it out plainly, and clearly, to those of our traditional rulers, who constantly hark back, to the pre-colonial traditional feudal era, that for the sake of the unity of mother Ghana, they can never be allowed to revive the past glories, of their predecessors - as that can only be done at the expense of the peace, stability and cohesion, of our homeland Ghana: something ordinary Ghanaians are simply not prepared to countenance or compromise over. Period.

The time has therefore come for progressives in Ghana, to make it absolutely clear, to all Ghana's traditional rulers, that the unity of the Ghanaian nation-state, is a non-negotiable issue - and that we are prepared to bring the 4th Republic to an end, if need be: and create a new 5th Republic, which will make the Leviathan that is the enterprise Ghana, one, in which, like the Federal Republic of India, Ghana's equivalent of India's Maharajahs, our traditional rulers, play no official role whatsoever, in our national life.

It is in the light of this, that we must sound a note of caution, to those traditional rulers, who seek to force traditional rulers in other regions, to bend to their whims and caprices. It does not matter to us one jot, whether a traditional ruler's predecessors (be they erstwhile kings of pre-colonial era Dagbon; Ga Dangbe; Anlo; Denkyira; Fante; Asante; or Akwapim; or Mamprussi; etc. etc.), had empires, which were the biggest, humankind has ever seen: or that their predecessors were the mightiest rulers who ever walked on the surface of the planet Earth - it is all history, as far as Ghana's progressives, are concerned: and does not impress us, one bit.

This is a Republic, in which no kingdoms exist - and all Ghana's traditional rulers must accept that bald fact. We may respect them, but we love our country, even more, than we hold them in high esteem - and we will never tolerate any attempt to roll back the sovereign national territory, of our Republic. Period. If any Chief appoints Chiefs across regional boundaries, they must simply make room for them to sit in their own regional house of Chiefs - and not seek to impose those Chiefs on other regional houses of Chiefs, regardless: and in the process stir up ancient tribal rivalries; which could set our country ablaze - as tribal hatred, nearly destroyed Kenya, only just recently: but for the wisdom of our own Busummuru Kofi Annan! A word to the wise.... --