Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Let me also begin by saying that being a villager and a semi-literate farmer who can barely write and speak English, it is always with great trepidation that I write publicly about important personages such as your good self.
However, villagers, as you probably have heard, have a great sense of family - and are wont to make a fuss, when the well being of their family is threatened. It is precisely because of the welfare of future generations of my family that I write to you.
Opanin, my ears pricked up, when you mentioned the not inconsequential matter of the US$350 millions you said your government had "secured" from the US government, for electrification of rural areas in our country
Massa, we cannot pay for electricity in my village, even though there are frequent power outages - yet, your government of geniuses proposes to lumber future generations of my family with yet more debt to "electrify" villages in the rural areas.
For a fraction of that sum, your regime can get Mr Graham Knight's DIY Solar to provide every household in all the villages and hamlets in Ghana with at least 10 solar lanterns (converted by the villagers themselves from ordinary, cheap Chinese kerosene lanterns!), a solar mobile phone battery charger, and convert their dry-cell battery-powered radio sets into solar-powered radios. Ditto convert the smokey oil lamps used by kenkey and other food sellers at night, into solar lamps.
For good measure, you can also get Clive Norton's sustainable villages Africa (SVA), to develop one good sustainable community social enterprise in every village and hamlet in Ghana, so as to provide wealth for all villagers in Ghana - and turn our villages into model sustainable villages, to boot.
You could also approach the luminaries at "Biochar yahoogroups" to help SVA transform rural Ghana into centres for small-scale biochar production to enrich our soils to boost agricultural production, using the Swedish sustainability guru, Folke Gunther's mini-biochar oven.
Massa, if your government borrowed all that money for such ends, I wouldn't mind one bit - for, it would lead to an almost instantaneous improvement in the quality of life of every single inhabitant in rural Ghana.
Opanin, just what is it about the figure 300 that so fascinates your regime? Only yesterday, you were going to issue US$388 million (if my memory serves me right!) Ghanaian sovereign bonds to pay for GT's debt - until the Wall Street debacle, put paid to that expensive bit of financial lunacy.
If I remember correctly, out of that princely sum, we were also apparently going to pay US$72 millions "in other costs" - to quote that master of the universe, deputy finance minister, Dr. Akoto. Hmmm, Ghana, ayeasem oo - what other costs, I ask, Opanin? Can you break that down item by item, for the good people of Ghana?
Incidentally, why haven't Ghanaians been told which particular GT debt we are so eager to repay? Is it the Iroko-issued US$200 million corporate bond? If yes, did GT not have a repayment plan in place before it was inveigled by Iroko into issuing those corporate bonds in London? Would that not make it a case of criminal negligence on Iroko's part? Ditto the square pegs in round holes your government appointed to run the hapless GT - and to sit on its board?
Massa, how can the US, a nation teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, possibly find as much as US$ 350 millions of its rebellious taxpayers' money at this particular point in time, to lend to a profligate African dictatorship (albeit elected!), such as your government?
Well, the whole thing began to make sense to me, when you said that although the money had been "secured" from the US government, it would be coming from JP Morgan Chase: The selfsame bank that was accused by Enron shareholders of participating in the accounting scandal that led to Enron's collapse - and rushed, at the eleventh hour, to pay the shareholders US$2.2 billion on 14th June 2005, to avoid a court case, commencing the very next day.
It is also instructive that two years prior to the above-mentioned Enron shareholders' case (2003), J. P. Morgan Chase stood accused of financing and putting together a broad range of partnerships and transactions that contributed to Enron's collapse - and which hid debt from Enron's shareholders. In an out of court settlement, it agreed to pay US$162.5 million - so that criminal and regulatory investigations into its dealings with Enron, could be dropped.
Massa, even villagers like me constantly hear bush telegraph "stuff" that talks about a few powerful, dishonest and greedy crooks in your regime, who have set up opaque offshore companies in tax havens, with foreign fronts, to hide their ownership of those entities.
Apparently, that is where they hide their ill-gotten wealth. One gathers that foreign currency kickbacks (being their share of the gargantuan fees earned by regime-cronies in our Byzantine financial services industry!), from the many loans Ghana has been piling up under your regime, are laundered through those offshore companies. Hmmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo!
Massa, was it not just such offshore companies, which were the special-purpose vehicles used for the fraud and rip-offs perpetrated by Enron, with an assist from J.P. Morgan Chase - and for which they were indicted by prosecutors and condemned by regulators?
Incidentally, it is often said that nowhere else in world (apart from Ghana!), do so many incestuous relationships exist, between regulators and industry players. There are said to be more ex-central bank governors, who either own banks, or sit on their boards, here, than in any other nation on the planet Earth, apparently!
Massa, I know that (taflatse!) our "hypocrite-in-chief" will probably dismiss this as "rumours by lazy people who are envious of hardworking people." Well, since I have no "evidence" for the "rumours" let us leave all that aside.
You will also probably say that all the shenanigans at J.P. Morgan Chase that I have mentioned, took place before Jamie Dimon took over the bank. True - but just how much in fees is the bank charging Ghana for this EXIM Bank-guaranteed loan, if any, Opanin? Just what is the rate of interest they are charging us, too? Any grace period before we start repayments - and if yes, how long for?
Hmmm, Ghana - ayeasem oo: asem ebaba debi ankasa! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Saturday, 27 September 2008
The United States no longer has the wealth to allow it to fund prolonged foreign adventures like Iraq - and must seek to influence nations through peaceful means, not dictate to them by military force.
Gun-boat diplomacy will not work in today's new realities. One of today's realities is that that "crazy" Ahmadenejad is the elected leader of Iran - a nation assisting its Shia allies in Iraq to fight US troops with the deadliest of weapons.
The president of the United States ought to talk to him directly - if that will make it possible for the US to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions: and halt its military supplies to Iraqi insurgents.
For Senator McCain to airily dismiss Senator Obama's good sense (and straightforwardness!)during their first debate, even as his boss President Bush sends envoys to talk directly to Iran, is downright silly, hypocritical and shortsighted.
Iran is the source of supply of the deadliest IED's to insurgents in Iraq - a terrible weapon that has killed and maimed many Americans and Iraqis.
If it takes the direct intervention of the United States president to halt the supply line to militant Iraqi Shias, by directly speaking to President Ahmadenejad, so be it: for, the lives of America's soldiers in Iraq is far more important than the posturing of the pride-filled members of its political class.
Ultimately, America can never win its present war in Iraq - simply because in the end, the Iraqi people will demand that the US withdraws all its troops from their country, without exception.
Which nation in today's world wants its territory occupied by a foreign power? Does Senator McCain seriously think those stooges for Dick Chenney and Co. now running Iraq, will be in power there forever? Some judgement!
It is a shame that American politicians like Senator McCain do not have the foresight to understand that bald fact - and continue to back that deadly folly, which the Iraqi war represents.
Does it not make sense to talk to Iran's leaders in the meantime, rather than continue to see more maimed and dead US soldiers (and Iraqi citizens): casualties from roadside bombs and other weapons supplied by Iran to Iraqi Shia dissidents?
What practical sense is there in allowing the silly pride of US politicians like yesterday's man, Senator McCain to prevail - a man who thinks that talking directly to an elected leader sending such weapons into Iraq without any preconditions is "dangerous"?
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Opanin, yes, perhaps you may very well have important questions to ask Mr. Kweku Baako and Co. when they return to Ghana, eventually - but please leave out the insults to Asantes. For, that is totally unjustified. Massa, always remember how such hatred ended up spawning the pogrom in Rwanda.
You must always make a distinction between ordinary Asantes and the few greedy and powerful tribal supremacists from that part of our country, who exploit the pride ordinary Asantes justly have in their unique culture and their history.
There are tribal supremacists in all the ethnic groups in Ghana, without exception. However, thankfully for the rest of us, those narrow-minded and misguided individuals, always form only a tiny minority amongst their own tribes men and women.
Opanin, ordinary Asantes, like ordinary Ghanaians from other ethnic groups, do not care one jot about the ethnic extraction of their fellow citizens of the Ghanaian nation-state, whom they interact with on a daily basis. What they care about is the personal integrity of their fellow citizens - whom they have to deal with on a daily basis, at any point in time, in their lives.
Personally, for example, I do not care how many Asantes the current president appoints into official positions in the public sector of our country: as long as they are qualified - because in my view they are all Ghanaian citizens, too.
What you and I, as well as all decent and fair-minded Ghanaians, ought to condemn, is when those who rule us, favour their own tribal chiefs at the expense of other chiefs in our country - and abuse their power by using the state machinery to promote the selfish ambitions of those tribal chiefs: feeding and humouring their tiresome and absurd megalomania and carrying on as if there were no other tribal chiefs in Ghana, apart from those ridiculous and pride-filled personages.
In that sense, our current president is the worst Ghanaian leader we have ever had the misfortune to have elected into office in our country.
He has literally helped the treasonable ambitions of some of his tribal chiefs, in their absurd desire to revive the feudal entities their predecessors once ruled over, in the pre-colonial era, by stealth.
Our current president's unholy alliance with some of his tribal chiefs, is treasonable and as inimical to our country's interests, as any plot to overthrow the constitutional order. Period.
Opanin, please do not insult any ethnic group in Ghana, ever again - for, we are all one people with a common destiny.
Presumably you live in the UK - surely, you do not welcome the insults and prejudice of the British National Party (BNP) white supremacists in the UK who look down on people of colour: and sometimes murder them for that reason? So please do not do fall into the same narrow-minded trap too, in your dealings with your fellow human beings.
As for Mr. Kweku Baako and his friends they are only doing their job, in accompanying our "hypocrite-in-chief" to the USA.
What we must all condem is the insensitivity of the regime which only a few weeks ago was telling Ghanaians that it needed to sell Ghana Telecom because we were on the brink of a financial catastrophe - for, it is their profigacy that is responsible for the outrage. In the fullness of time, I am sure Mr. Baako and Co. will make full disclosure of the per diem each one of them received.
In any case, this is not a nation in which any secrets can be hidden from Ghanaians. Have we not just 'discovered' that the entirety of our gold reserves have secretly been sold off (if the bush telegraph is to be believed, i.e.!)?
That is a serious matter - and we shall demand full disclosure, item by item, of precisely what the proceeds were used for, if the story turns out to be true. Rest assured that any individual who has participated in the on-going gang rape of mother Ghana, will pay a heavy price for it, some day.
No one can recklessly cause financial loss to the Ghanaian nation-state today, and get away with it, Opanin. Ghanaians aren't fools - and no one should underestimate them: especially those whom they elect every four years to serve them!
Hmmm, Ghana - ayeasem oo: asem ebaba debi ankasa. May God bless our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
I am humbly making a few suggestions that I hope you and your team will consider, going forward. I do so publicly so that the other political parties will act on same - as we all want mother Ghana's prosperity, at the end of the day.
Naturally, for a patriot and ultra-nationalist like my humble self, there is also the small matter of the Byzantine workings of the inner circles of Ghanaian presidential candidates - which one simply has no interest in engaging!
They (my suggested ideas, i.e.!) all refer to areas of our national life that your vice presidential candidate could competently handle as part of his duties - were you to win the December 2008 presidential elections.
Opanin, may I suggest that your party looks immediately at the sustainable rural development model championed by the South African sustainable livehoods entity, Sustainable Villages Africa?
I really do believe that if your party worked closely with Clive Norton, SVA's managing director, our great party could change rural Ghana for the better, within our lifetime.
I also suggest that you contact Folke Gunther, the Swedish sustainable development expert who has developed a simple biochar processing plant for use by even the smallest hamlet homesteaders, in the developing world.
If your party champions biochar, we could dramatically improve crop yields in rural Ghana, literally in months - and help contribute significantly to the fight against global climate change, too.
You should also contact Pro Natura, who have set up a plant in Senegal to make "green charcoal". Green charcoal can help save our forests and make rural Ghana prosper.
They would be perfect PPP projects that all our district assemblies could partner farmers' cooperatives to set up and run with SVA, as joint-venture partnerships. Funding for such projects can be obtained under Ghana's clean development mechanism (CDM), under the Kyoto Treaty.
The "green charcoal" plant in Senegal gets paid by Air France - who neutralise some of their carbon footprint that way, as its carbon offset initiative.
If you contact Sustainable Travel International's (STI) Brian Mullis, he will find you companies committed to "greening" their businesses by funding small hydroelectric projects in the developing world.
Can you imagine how beneficial it would be for our nation, if we were able to fund all the small hydroelectric power projects Nkrumah had plans for, in such a creative, "thinking-outside-the-box" fashion?
And if you contacted that brilliant young Ghanaian architect, Kojo Derban, he will show you his breathtaking plans for an ethnographic museum in Tamale, using traditional northern architecture.
Opanin, such an important arts and cultural institution could make eco-tourism in the north (a niche the north has comparative advantage over other areas of our country), grow even faster.
During your first term, you must also build an international airport in Tamale to serve as a Sahelian West African hub for traffic from the landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger - and boost eco-tourism in the north, yet further.
If you worked closely with Graham Knight of DIY Solar, we could help disadvantaged youth in rural Ghana, as well as the poorer parts of urban Ghana, make simple solar products such as: solar lamps; convert ordinary lanterns into solar lanterns; convert the oil lamps used by kenkey sellers and food sellers at night, into solar lamps; as well as make solar mobile phone battery chargers!
All those micro-entrepreneurial opportunities could make young people independent - not dependent on the state: as is currently the situation with large parts of the national youth employment programme - an idea that isn't sustainable in the long term: as has become glaringly obvious to all discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians.
Good luck in December, Opanin. May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
In any case even Mr. Rawlings knows (deep down in him!) that one day he may very well be tried for the 1981 military coup - so do not compare him to the mass murderer Omar Bashir.
As it happens, Mr. Rawlings married a black African woman - and his own mother is a black African woman. Omar Bashir, on the other hand, is busy superintending the mass murder of Sudanese citizens: for the sole reason that they are of a darker hue than his - an affront to all black Africans.
The crafty Omar Bashir and Co., who are only slightly lighter-skinned than most black Africans, think black Africans are sub-human. Omar Bashir and his ilk despise black Africans - and want to wipe them off the face of the earth, with impunity.
They regard themselves as "Arabs" not Africans - although most white Arabs of the Arab world, regard the "Arabs" of Sudan as second class humans: fit only to be their slaves.
Why should a decent nation like ours entertain this criminal, who is committing crimes against humanity on a daily basis in Darfur - and has gotten away with it, thus far?
The annoying thing about Omar Bashir and Co. is that they are getting away with mass murder - and are clever enough to get the rest of black Africa's clueless leaders to support them in resisting international pressure to end the pogrom they are busy carrying out in Darfur. This is being done through the agency of the Janjaweed - whom they train, arm and supply regularly, for that end.
The irony in all this, is that were the leaders of black Africa to have had the misfortune of being born in Darfur or Southern Sudan, Omar Bashir and Co. would be killing them like flies, even as we speak. Yet, those supposedly intelligent leaders of the continent embrace that evil monster.
We should not entertain this black racist and mass murderer in our country - for his presence in our country is an affront to Ghanaians: a dignified and civilised people who are proud to be black Africans.
Black Africa's leaders must not give succour to this African version of Adolf Hitler - a true monster and an evil ruler indeed! Ghana ought to arrest him and hand him over to the ICC the moment he lands on Ghanaian soil. If the government cannot or is unwilling to do so, then they must not allow him into our country. Period.
Common decency demands that if the government of Ghana (and that of the other member-nations of the African Union!) has no intention of lifting a finger in defence of the black African population of Darfur, then at the very least, let them not give succour to their oppressor: who is busy plotting their end and terrorises them daily!
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
It is yet another tribalistic diatribe - full of illogical statements. Ohemaa, every little school child in our country knows that inherited privilege is the greatest enemy of any meritocracy.
They see it in the many incompetent square pegs in round holes, up and down our country - living off the fat of the land in their cushy gilded sinecures: the result of nepotism gone mad.
Secondly, those selfsame schoolchildren know that when God created humankind, he did not create a special race of humans called "royals". Throughout history, it has been the most bloodthirsty and the most cunning who made themselves into "royals".
The last one we had in Africa was His Imperial Majesty Bokassa 1 of the Central African Empire, was it not? If you go to Swaziland today, you will see why we are lucky that no kingdoms actually exist in our country, in a strictly legal sense - this being a Republic (thank goodness)!
Every progressive society has abolished feudalism. It is not an accident that we still lag far behind every one of those nations that did so. The modern-day monarchs of the developed world, wield no executive power - having been stripped of power by their people: in their march towards progress and the creation of prosperous and egalitarian societies.
Is it not sad that a man who uses language like that, prides himself on being "royal" - and an ill-mannered fellow like that presumably thinks that makes him superior to his fellow human beings?
Yet, those who suffer from a "superiority complex" suffer from the same mental illness that those who suffer from an "inferiority" complex do - both make unrealistic assumptions about those they interact with and know next to nothing about: as either being better than they are or inferior to them!
Ohemaa, tribal supremacists must always be separated from the rest of the members of their ethnic group - for, they are extremists of the worst kind: totally different from their more sane fellow tribesmen and women.
You will find them in all the ethnic groups in our country, without exception. They are our equivalent of the odious white supremacists of the Western world - who ignorantly think they are superior to people of colour: whom they regard as sub-human.
Luckily for our country, however, people of Okaompa-Awhofe's ilk are a tiny minority in all our ethnic groups. We are very fortunate to have a younger generation that thinks of itself as Ghanaian rather than Dagomba, Kusasi, Frafra, Ga Dangbe, Ewe, Akyem, Asante; Krobo, Gonja, Nzema, etc. etc.
Ask the next group of young Ghanaians you encounter, where they are from. The answer they give you, will most probably be a version of one a young man gave me once, when posed a similar question, by me: " My father is Asante and my mother is from Awutu. But I have never been to the birthplace of both parents. We have always lived in Accra, where I was born." He has spent all his young life in the airport residential area!
Ohemaa, I always use my own extended family as an example of the typical extended Ghanaian family. I have cousins (all of them blood relations!) whose parents are Asante; Akyem; Ewe; Krobo; Dagomba;Fante; and Ga Dangbe.
I myself was born in Kwadaso, Kumasi - and regard Otumfuo Opoku-Ware 11 as the greatest of the modern-day Asantehenes: because he understood that in the national interest he had to keep a low public profile.
Many Ghanaians genuinely mourned that great man, when he died - because they understood the immense role he had played in keeping our country united and strife-free with his humility, during his lifetime. I can say without fear of contradiction that there was not a single area in our country, where he was not respected.
The real solution to the menace to the cohesion of our country posed by the lunacy of the Okaompah-Awhofes, is to make our presidents our elected Omanpanins - the world's first elected monarchs!
We can do same with our district chief executives (whom we ought to elect on a party political basis, if we really want to make our rural areas progress and prosper!) - and call them paramount chiefs of their districts.
Naturally, we will operate on the assumption that all Ghanaian citizens are "royals" and can be elected to be King of Queen of the Royal Kingdom of Ghana, or elected as a paramount chief of one of our districts.
We will then get those surviving relics of our feudal past, to pay allegiance to our Omanpanin! Like the Maharajahs of the Republic of India, they will play no formal role at any state function - and be ordinary (but important - if they earn our respect by their deeds, i.e.!) citizens and perhaps find a new role for themselves as the "custodians" of our rich and diverse culture!
Hmmm, Ghana - ayeasem oo: easem ebaba debi ankasa! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
One of the curses of our country is that the vast majority of good and decent-minded people prefer to remain silent - whiles the unprincipled "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong" myrmidons go about their sycophantic and blinkered verbal and moral contortions, subjecting truth to the most brutal of onslaughts, on a daily basis.
Ghana's middle classes are the most cowardly middle class anywhere on the planet Earth - and right from Nkrumah's time, they have watched silently as the unprincipled and power-hungry politicians amongst the various post-independence regimes have behaved with impunity. Shame on them!
Let them redeem themselves for once - by speaking up against the perfidy of the few ruthless and powerful tribal supremacists who unfortunately now dominate today's ruling party so completely: those amoral, shameless and lying thieves, whose greed knows no bounds.
They are a ruthless lot who are even prepared to see our country burn, rather than lose power in an election: and be held accountable for their abuse of power and illegal acquisition of wealth - through the numerous opaque offshore entities they have set up to hide their "kickback-loot".
Some of them even have the effrontery to say that Ghana has not signed up to the OECD convention: and will not do so under this regime - because it is against our culture. What barefaced cheek!
Hmmm, Ghana - ayeasem oo: asem ebaba debi ankasa! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
What is your problem, Opanin? Relax - perhaps the masters of the universe now in charge of Nkrumah's Ghana may have forgotten it; but there is a wise Ghanaian saying: "No condition is permanent."
The Ghana of today is not a nation anyone can govern with a "chopping-Ghana-small" agenda and get away with, under any circumstances, Opanin.
Perhaps you are too young to remember, but what is going on in our country today, bears a striking resemblance to the days before June 4th 1979.
Then, as now, state resources had been hijacked by a ruthless and amoral few, who dominated the military regime.
They amassed great wealth through dubious means and led a hedonistic lifestyle - keeping a string of bright young things as girlfriends, on whom they showered expensive gifts, such as cars and houses: and who travelled abroad frequently, as if they were merely making trips to Makola/Asafo markets and back.
Those in power then, like today's crowd in power in our homeland Ghana, thought they were invincible - and that they would be in power forever.
Well, they woke up to a rude shock one fine day on June 4th 1979 - when their life of Riley and their luxury world suddenly came to a crashing and brutal end.
Let the many "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong" myrmidons who flood the comment web pages of www.ghanweb.com
Opanin, all is not lost: I boldly predict that anyone who has participated in the on-going gang rape of mother Ghana, will end up in the Nsawam prison one day - as sure as day follows night.
Opanin, Ghanaians aren't fools - although many of their leaders constantly underrate them! Hmmm, Ghana - ayeasem oo: asem ebaba debi ankasa!
May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Monday, 22 September 2008
Yet, astonishingly, Mr. Mensah is reported to have said that US$7millions had apparently vanished into thin air during the tenure of the previous regime - for which reason, he felt that the former president had no moral right to accuse the present regime of being corrupt.
What precisely was he seeking to justify in making that odd statement - and in saying the former president had no moral right to criticise the present regime? Are we to conclude therefore, that it follows a priori, that millions of dollars of taxpayers' money still vanishes into thin air today, too?
Was he implying that corruption under this regime, could be justified - because it had occurred during the tenure of the last regime?
Mr. Mensah ought to remember that it was precisely because Ghanaians wanted better government, that they voted the previous government out of power. We did not vote his party into power, in order to carry on in exactly the same fashion as those who made US$7 millions vanish into thin air, did we?
My neighbour's precocious eleven-year old son's derisive riposte to Mr. Mensah was: "Uncle Kofi, why do our political leaders make such asinine statements?" Fancy that - just why did Mr. Mensah think Ghanaians voted the present regime into power?
It was certainly not to entertain them carrying on in the same fashion as yesterday's crowd in power did, was it?" That, remember, dear reader, is a mere child of eleven.
Mr. Mensah and his crowd must not think that the "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong" myrmidons who wear blinkers 24/7 and are as narrow-minded as they are unprincipled, whose unthinking support they rely on and exploit so, is what will save their party on election day.
The independent-minded and discerning Ghanaians who will be deciding who wins the most votes on election day, do not want to hear such cynicism from those whom we thought were going to set new standards of morality and accountability in our public life; but have disappointed us so much, in the nearly eight years they have held power. A word to the wise...
May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Friday, 19 September 2008
Why can't we simply get our commercial attache and his staff in the Ghana High Commission in New Delhi, to contact the manufacturers of the said "railway maintenance equipment" directly - and save us the money going to these clever Indian middlemen?
Why, have the staff in our mission in India forgotten that once upon a time, the president did say that "economic diplomacy" would be the ethos underpinning the work of all our diplomatic missions abroad?
So why can't the Ghana High Commission in India work with the Ghana Supply Company Limited to purchase the said equipment directly from the Indian manufacturers, for Ghana?
As for the Germans, Opanin, no doubt the hope of the few powerful (and greedy!) crooks amongst our rulers, is that Ghana will be taking a loan from them to build our railway line.
That, Opanin, will be yet another golden opportunity for the clever and dishonest ones amongst our rulers to get hard currency kickbacks.
The kickbacks will doubtless be deposited in the bank accounts of the opaque offshore companies they have set up with foreign nominees as fronts, for just such purposes.
To that end, they will quickly appoint their favourite cronies who own corporate law firms and entities in the financial services sector of our economy, to act as professional advisers to the government in the "transaction".
Those powerful and well-connected oligarchs, will then team up with their German counterparts to offer their professional services to Ghana: for "arranging" the syndicated loan for the project - for which they will be paid super-generous fees in foreign currency!
It is the kickbacks some of our rulers receive from such fat fees Ghana pays to those Titans in the financial services sector, which is driving the virulent form of that dreaded disease caused by the "foreign-loan-mania" virus, which has sadly infected so many in this regime!
Hmmm Ghana - ayeasem oo: asem ebaba debi ankasa! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
A nation is secure and stable if a majority of its people have a good quality of life and live in a fair and just society, in which all are equal before the law.
The tenure of our leaders will continue to be safe and secure, only if they continue to provide our nation with imaginative, competent, honest and patriotic leadership.
The recent banning of a number of former service and security chiefs from visiting military installations in Ghana, illustrates perfectly the incompetence and bankruptcy of thought of our political class, generally.
Today, a few rockets fired from miles away, can destroy parliament and the Osu Castle in a few minutes - reducing them to rubble and killing hundreds in the process. A crude rocket fired at the presidential plane could achieve the same results as a military coup, could it not?
The earlier our leaders wake up to the threat their insensitivity and greed for money poses to their hold on power and to the stability of our nation, the better it will be for them.
As a society, if we continue to allow an underclass that feels hopeless and despised because life is passing them by, to grow, as a result of their not being able to continue with their education (because their families were too poor to be able to afford paying for their school fees), we ought not to be surprised at all to start seeing suicide bombers striking in Ghana too, at some point, going forward.
Have those in charge of national security ever thought, for example, of the potential threat to society posed by those hordes of scruffy scrap metal "truck pushers" who now roam virtually all our cities and towns nationwide?
They have taken over bus shelters and pavements nationwide, which they have turned into scrap metal exchanges - without a care as to the inconvenience they cause to pedestrians: in a country with one of the highest vehicular accident rates in the world?
Well, those in charge of national security had better get cracking and make sure that all the metropolitan assemblies and other urban local council authorities across our country act to remove those potential armed robbers and rebel fighters from the public spaces they have turned into scrap exchanges, with such impunity and total disregard for the by-laws of local authorities.
Opanin, can you imagine what will happen when the demand for scrap metal falls in China - and the market for scrap metal in Ghana collapses?
Well, your guess is as good as mine how those ruthless and disrespectful fellows, used to earning lots of cash on a daily basis, will quickly diversify into other income-generating activities for that daily income they have become accustomed to earning.
Have the masters of the universe now running Nkrumah's Ghana, thought of such potential threats, too? There is virtually no corner of any urban conurbation that those cheeky chaps don't know.
They could be constituted into a formidable guerrilla group, in the hands of a ruthless warlord seeking to use a civil war here, s a route to power and to Ghana's oil and natural gas revenues - a la Liberian Charles Taylor-style.
If our leaders want to be safe from the wrath of the people, let them govern our nation fairly and ensure that the quality of life of all Ghanaians (not just a privileged and powerful few!) steadily improves.
Hmmm, Ghana - asem ebaba debi ankasa! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Well, how about this: "The socialisation of private risk"? The Vodafones of this world come to our country and end up with a debt-free and grossly under-valued telecoms company, whiles those elected to protect the national interest lumber taxpayers with the company's liabilities.
To add insult to the injury thus caused us, the masters of the universe running our country then issue US$300 millions of sovereign bonds to pay for those liabilities - and brazenly tell discerning Ghanaians that as much as US$72 millions will be used to pay "other costs" - without telling us, item by item, precisely what those "other costs" are.
Opanin, do not be surprised if the "other costs" turned out largely to be the fat fees of the regime-crony Titans in the financial services industry of our economy, as well as the other well-connected professional advisers paid a small fortune for their self-serving advice to our country's rulers. These uber-wealthy whiz-kids now constitute the single largest source of hard currency kickbacks for the greediest amongst our rulers.
You describe the financial equivalent of the sleight of hand employed in Ghana, by the dishonest and greedy hypocrites amongst our present rulers, to take their already high personal net worth into stratospheric heights, perfectly (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=150026).
Incredibly, and to add insult to injury, they are now even empowering pretty young things in uber-short skirts - and showering their harems of those bright young things, with luxury compact four-wheel drive vehicles; Hollywood-style mansions in Cantonments, Ridge and East Legon; fat bank balances; as well as endless trips overseas!
According to the "bush telegraph" those of the greedy rogues who can keep it up for lengthy periods, apparently even spend some of their working hours "servicing" as many as three of the delectable bright young things a day, sometimes: when they wake up on the right side of their pillows!
My, and how they have prospered mightily using their political influence to leverage state-owned financial institutions such as: the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SNNIT); the State Insurance Company Limited (SIC); National Investment Bank (NIB); Agricultural Development Bank (ABD); etc., etc., to fund their private projects.
Having done so, they then turn round and insult the rest of us by calling us names and accusing us of envying them too, when we condemn their greed. What effrontery.
Do they think that we are all so desperate to become uber-rich that we are prepared to rip our people and our nation off, for that dishonourable end? No, no, no!
Opanin, the fact of the matter, is that many of the people they are now calling names (because those honest souls have now become financially-challenged, in the society with such huge disparities in wealth, in it - which they have succeeded in creating in eight short years, in our homeland Ghana, today), are far from being work-shy.
Many either have no jobs at all, because our industrial landscape has been allowed to be decimated by dangerous and toxic products dumped on our markets from China and elsewhere, or they simply don't have jobs that pay decent living wages.
In the hell-hole that they have succeeded in turning our country into, ordinary Ghanaians struggle to survive, even as their quality of life steadily deteriorates.
In spite of all their hard work many are growing poorer - in inverse proportion to the unimaginable wealth being piled up by the many politically well-connected "workaholics" running Nkrumah's Ghana, today! Hmmm, Ghana - ayeaesm oo!
Many ordinary Ghanaians are poor now Opanin, simply because they are too honest to resort to taking kickbacks and bribes: their good name being far more important to them than the acquisition of tainted super-wealth, at all costs.
Perhaps that is what escapes our "hypocrite-in-chief" and his acolytes - as he, his cronies and the scions of the family clans of the greediest and the most dishonest of our rulers, and their siblings, slowly inch towards their goal: of amassing a collective fortune valued in billions of US dollars - by stealth and at the expense of our nation and its people?
Hmmm, Ghana - asem ebaba debi ankasa! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Providence is smiling on you and your fellow thinkers at Mencius Soda. Let us think of ways of enabling those amongst us who are interested in doing so, enable others get web access - whiles making a good income for ourselves too.
Perhaps we could use the same collaborative method you used in applying for the UK research grant, Andrius?
Recently, I have been having a series of rather distressing exchanges with the broadband support staff of my ISP Vodafone/Ghana Telecom, which charges me the cedi equivalent of US$60: for a most appalling broadband internet access service - which is also happens to be a pre-paid service too, to add insult to injury!
Well, I don't know about you gentle and caring thinkers at Mencius Sodas/Mendenyo, but that is a small fortune for an impecunious African organic farmer and writer to pay every month in advance - for such atrocious web access.
If someone came up with a value-for-money alternative, targeting hard-up organic farmers and writers (amongst other equally financially- challenged members of society!), I'd be the first to sign up.
It would cheer me up even more, if I could be part of a collaborative effort by fellow Mencius Sodas/Mendenyo thinkers, to design a suitably "inclusive business model" for such a value-for-money ISP.
To all our friends at Mendenyo who haven't yet come on board, but want to, I can report here that you have now made joining WorkNets idiot-proof, Andrius - even grumpy old Kofi Thompson has just joined: and without the assistance of anyone from his online network, too!
Do stay blessed, all at Mendenyo!
PS For those who read my blog that might be interested in it, I reproduce the generous-spirited Maureen's marvellous email to Andrius, below.
"> Hi, Andrius.>
> We met at Journalism That Matters at Yahoo. I thought you might be
> interested in the following.>
> The World Wide Web Foundation was announced Sept. 14. It's founded by Tim
> Berners-Lee and led by Steve Bratt. The Knight Foundation has given it $5> million.>
> Goals of the Web Foundation include:
> * To learn from people in socially or economically deprived
> communities how the Web can better serve them.
> * To leverage the Web to empower people, especially in under-served
> populations, by lowering barriers to life-critical services.
> * To ensure the Web is accessible and useful to people, including
> people with disabilities, from different cultures, and language and
> literacy skills that span the range of the Earth's population.>
> URL: http://www.webfoundation.org/"
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Hmmm, Ghana - ayeasem oo! Ohemaa, what is your problem? Our "hypocrite-in-chief" has gone to visit the very people who behind the backs of the clueless members of the National Liberation Council (NLC) military regime in 1966, were dismissing them as "...pathetically pro-Western."
Do take a look at page 39 of "The Great Deception" published by the Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG). It is a fascinating book - full of declassified documents detailing the hypocritical way the US Establishment treats Africa's leaders: nice to them, when in front of them - but dismissive and contemptuous of them behind the backs of their super-expensive Savile Row suits.
Nothing has changed - they thought the same of Dr. Danquah: a quisling and a traitor who was also on the CIA's payroll. In the next few decades, when US National Security Council and State Department documents are declassified, our children will discover whom amongst today's stooges for neo-colonialism was also on the payroll of the American Establishment.
Do not fret, Ohemaa - Ghana's presidents are pretty insignificant players on the world stage. Only the undiscerning and partisan "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong" myrmidons, think that this state visit by our current leader is something historic. It isn't, Ohemaa!
In any case, they permanently wear blinkers - and consequently fail to see the harm this incompetent regime dominated by a few powerful tribal-supremacists, has done to our country.
Ghana should rather be allying herself to President Chavez's Venezuela: to learn a thing or two, about seizing control of Ghana's oil and gas industries.
For, we can only maximize the revenues from both industries, if we take them away from the private companies drilling off our shores. That way, that windfall from providence, will be for our nation's benefit - not go to enrich high net worth foreign fat-cats, even further.
We must do exactly the same as the Russians have done to take back their oil and natural gas industries from private hands. It's called economic nationalism, Ohemaa. Naturally, we will pay them fair compensation - by issuing them our sovereign bonds, not cash: because we are not fools, Ohemaa.
You can bet your last pesewa that none of the highly intelligent imbeciles amongst those ruling us today, will ever do that. Not when they are led by the man who is forever saying, when he is about to sell yet another national asset: "I'd rather have a 1 per cent share in a billion-dollar company, than 100 per cent share in a..."
One always feels so irritated to hear that line of reasoning - and my response has always been: "Yes, Mr. Clueless - and 1 billion dollar companies do collapse sometimes. We should rather be growing our own 1 billion dollar companies too, instead!"
Well, you have just seen the blood flowing on Wall Street lately, have you not? Did the US government not bail out Fannie Mae and and Freddy Mac?
Yet, had that happened in Ghana, Clueless and Co. would have quickly found a few carpetbaggers from the West to come and buy it for a song - in exchange for kickbacks, no doubt!
Insult would then have been added to the injury - by quickly railroading parliament to pass a law to indemnify the crooks involved in the outrage: forgetting that such laws are illegal under our constitution, the clever so-and-so's!
Ohemaa, the top US investment bank, Lehman Brothers, was valued at over 100 billion dollars, just last year. Has it not come to a sorry pass, today - and is filing for bankruptcy, even as we speak: having failed to find a white knight to rescue it?
Yet, in the muddled minds of Clueless and Co., of course, such things never happen. Well, they are today, are they not?
So you see, contrary to what those innocents abroad think, the Western companies they worship and think are gifts to humankind, are not so invincible after all! Pity - especially as so much harm has already been done to our country by their shortsightedness. Hmmm Ghana - ayeasem oo!
No wonder we are going nowhere fast as a nation - whiles the crooks amongst our rulers grow super-rich! Anyway, as for the clever Condi Rice and that dangerous and arrogant Dubya Bush, they will have a good laugh behind the backs of Clueless and Co. and say to each other: "That's one place we sure won't have to worry about oil supplies, thank God!"
They will then top that by repeating exactly the same thing Robert W. Komer said in his letter to president L.B.J. Johnson on March 12, 1966, about those traitors to the black race they paid US13 millions to, in 1966, to overthrow Nkrumah, the NLC: "They are almost pathetically pro-Western."
Hmmm, Ghana - asem ebaba debi ankasa! May God bless our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Monday, 15 September 2008
Let us agree, for the sake of argument, that it is a bad law. However, you will also find those who will argue passionately that although technically it may be a bad law, it must be retained - as it ensures that the crooks amongst those now ruling our country, do not get away with the harm their unfathomable greed has caused our nation.
A young friend in the officer corps of our military, with whom I share a common love of dogs, laughed when I told him you were appealing to our current leader (referred to amongst some in the military, apparently, as Ghana's "Hypocrite-in-Chief"!), to repeal that law.
It might interest you to know what many of my dog-loving military officer friends, said in jest, in commenting on your suggestion.
(Our fraternity of dog-lovers meets outside their barracks and when they are out of uniform, I hasten to add!)
They agreed, to a man, that if President Kufuor followed your advice, they can assure you that the ink will not even dry on the paper he signs any such outrage on, before he is arrested and frogmarched to Nsawam prison, by concerned and loyal junior ranks - for "preventive custody": to stop enraged Ghanaians from lynching him.
Opanin, that law is all that is preventing those who care about Ghana, from overthrowing this regime forcefully. Well, perhaps in reality you are one of those tiresome "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong" myrmidons, who see nothing wrong with what the greedy and dishonest few who now dominate the ruling party are doing to our nation?
Clearly, as a consequence of wearing those partisan blinkers, you probably don't understand the anger of those ordinary people who are discerning enough not to be fooled by those who use nepotism and ethnicity as precious political capital: to be invested appropriately to enable their party to hang on to power at all costs.
Opanin, with respect, there are those who might even accuse you of sophistry - and say that your clever little piece is merely a sly attempt to start a debate to enable our rulers use it as an excuse to do away with that superb and brilliant law: and that it will never succeed.
Alas, I am rather inclined to agree with them, Opanin. We may never know the real intentions of those who dreamt up that law - but it has sure provided principled men and women with the right weapon to eventually enable them punish those who steal the people's money whiles holding elected office, with impunity. Period.
It is definitely staying on our statute books - and that, Opanin, is a non-negotiable fact on the ground: as far as ordinary people are concerned, Hmmm, Ghana - asem ebaba debi ankasa!
May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Sunday, 14 September 2008
The tension and violence in the northern part of our country, illustrates perfectly, the many failings of the 1992 constitution. That self-serving document, was tailor-made specifically to enable a military junta metamorphose successfully into an elected civilian regime - and carry on blithely: exactly as they had before.
That is why it did not allow political parties to contest the election of DCE's and district assemblies. That outrage, now permanently ensures that all power in Ghana, still remains concentrated in the hands of the elected dictatorships, which we elect to govern us every four years.
The powers it confers on our presidents, allows them to do pretty much as they please, in between elections: regardless of how much discerning folk protest against government policies that are clearly inimical to the national interest; but which clearly benefits the powerful and dishonest few amongst our rulers: who are motivated solely by their greedy personal ambitions.
Naturally, they depend for their continued survival on the mostly unpatriotic and unprincipled "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong" myrmidons in our nation: who permanently wear blinkers and don't give a damn how many crooks amongst our rulers line up to participate in the ongoing gang-rape of mother Ghana - as long as they too are allowed to take their turn, afterwards!
If we elected DCE's and the members of our district assemblies on a party political basis, it would make grassroots people feel that they have a stake in government, too.
It would also make the political leaders at the grassroots level, more responsive to the needs of ordinary grassroots people, and think of improving the quality of lives of local people - instead of using the power of the Ghanaian nation-state to empower their party's local structures and enrich their political acolytes across their district: regardless of the harm it causes to local people.
It is instructive that those politicians who only yesterday told us they would make DCE's electable on a party political basis in order to deepen the roots of our young democracy further, when they came to power, now amazingly shy away from it.
Typical of our mostly cynical political class, having held power they too want to monopolise power permanently now: just like Flt. Lt Rawlings and Co. before them - rather than share it with people at the grassroots level.
The trouble in those parts of the north where violence flares up frequently, is that local people feel that government does not represent them - and does not act in their best interests.
You can bet your last pesewa that if DCE's were elected on a party political basis, all the areas where violence has flared up in the north, would have elected DCE's from one of the opposition parties, rather than the ruling party - and peace would reign supreme across that potentially rich part of our country!
An added bonus for our country, is that it would enable our nation build up a pool of elected leaders with considerable experience in the art and science of leadership - and with solid track records, for all to see.
It would also make the other parties feel that they too have a stake in our country - and lessen the disaffection that makes our country's politics so fraught with tension.
Such a local government system, far from providing the parties in the opposition with a base to use to undermine the ruling regime at the centre in Accra, would rather make them aspire to develop their districts into prosperous and well-developed areas - to show Ghanaians what their party could do for the rest of the country: if they were elected into government at the national level.
Those who use national security as an excuse to justify the undemocratic status quo, must tell us just what is inimical to our country, in giving power to grassroots people - and precisely how that endangers our country's security.
It is an unworthy and self-serving argument, used by those who benefit greatly by the present system - which effectively permits the election of an elected dictatorship every four years: which then remembers all of a sudden, at election time (having ignored the voice of concerned Ghanaian patriots and nationalists throughout their tenure - like quintessential kleptocratic African dictators!), that this is actually supposed to be a constitutional democracy.
Incidentally, Opanin, have you seen the reckless way still more debt is being piled up by our current leaders? Yet, it was the unsustainable massive pre-HIPC debt of old that was sucking the very lifeblood out of our nation, during the tenure of the previous regime, was it not?
Incredibly, and much to the alarm of decent-minded Ghanaians, it is the self-same masters of the universe now running Nkrumah's Ghana, that have benefited enormously from debt relief (although they never had the nous or the gumption to advocate for debt relief in the 1990's, when some us were actively doing so), who are responsible for this most unsatisfactory state of affairs.
It is an outrage to many of us that they are ignoring all the principles of the so-called "debt sustainability framework" - and are busy fishing in the piranha-infested waters of the capital markets of the West: the greed- consumed incompetents. Hmmm, Ghana - ayeasem oo!
They, who only yesterday, were being swindled by the owners of Chinese hairdressing salons in the seedier backstreets of London - who were promising them they would loan them zillions to develop Ghana with: and help them hide the surefire kickbacks they would be getting, for bringing them "good business"!
Incredibly, this financial equivalent of madness, is being driven solely by the unfathomable greed of the crooks amongst our leaders - who are being given kickbacks in hard currency by the very well-connected regime-crony Titans, in Ghana's financial services industry: who are profiting mightily from the fat fees they are charging Ghana for the benefit of their "professional services" in our frequent forays unto the overseas capital markets.
Opanin, can you believe that a deputy finance minister is reported recently, to have stated that as much as US $72 millions out of a planned US$300 sovereign bond issue to pay for a US$ 288 millions variant of the self-same financial instrument issued at great cost to the Ghanaian taxpayer only yesterday, by Iroko (US$200 at the time, but now suddenly ballooned to a hefty US$288, apparently?) on GT 's behalf, is now going to be used to pay for "other costs"?
(And just how much will be paid as fees to the lucky shysters who will handle this latest US$ 300 sovereign bond issue to be used to pay for GT's old debt? Surely, that old GT debt is not that same US$200 millions corporate bond Iroko issued in London, on GT's behalf?)
What "other costs" again, I ask, Opanin? If those US$72millions "other costs" have anything to do with the GT corporate bond issued on its behalf by Iroko, then where in the Western world, would regulators and society at large, in the post-Enron world of corporate good governance, permit such financial skulduggery - and its perpetrators allowed to get away scot-free: with the ramifications of such criminal negligence and unimaginable incompetence?
No wonder we experienced the recent "debt distress" that made them organise that fire-sale of GT to Vodafone - a deal too far, that will certainly land all those involved in jail, for causing financial loss to the Ghanaian nation-state: despite the illegal indemnities they think are cast-iron, but actually aren't, as such a law is illegal under our constitution!
Well, one hopes that our supine and spineless parliamentarians on the minority benches will demand that that sum is broken down item by item, for all to see where precisely it is going to end up, eventually.
It will not surprise me in the slightest, if it wasn't ending up in the bank accounts of the same regime-crony Titans in the financial services sector of our economy; the fat-cat banker-oligarchs who are favoured today because they favoured the super-wealthy scion of the family clan of our hypocrite-in-chief; the well-connected and much sought-after discreet corporate lawyers, who know how to keep a stiff upper lip to hide the secrets of the powerful crooks amongst our rulers; and the sundry "blue-chip"accountancy firms that made zillions conducting "forensic audits" when the regime's main preoccupation then was finding "stolen monies" allegedly syphoned by crooks in the previous regime.
Nothing much has changed in our country really, has it? Hmmm, Ghana - asem abeba debi ankasa! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
The masters of the universe now in charge of our country, are simply preparing the ground for handing over yet another vital publicly-owned asset in our homeland Ghana to foreigners, for a song - by labelling it a "basket-case" that needs to be privatised!
As sure as day follows night, you will see that amongst the entities in the Western "consortium" buying it, will be an unheard of, and unknown, offshore company (with paid Western nominees as fronts) that in reality is owned by some of the crooks amongst those who now rule our nation - no doubt some of those lucky, well-connected and "hardworking" Ghanaian citizens: into whose pockets our "hypocrite-in-chief " says the government is "indirectly" putting money.
Yet, we all know how the Chinese were able to build the Tanzam railway line, when the Western nations said it was not viable - many years ago during the "cold war" era: and are by far the best partners to have to expand our railway system, in exchange for some of our oil and natural gas in a batter arrangement.
Of course, if we had any sense as a people, we would be taking a leaf from the book of Venezuela and nationalising those two vital industries (paying the Western oil companies now drilling for oil here, fair compensation, in the process - but with Ghanaian sovereign bonds, not cash: because we are not fools!)
However,Opanin, you can bet your last pesewa that the geniuses running Ghana today, will never seek a partnership with the best-resourced of the state-owned Chinese railway companies, to expand our railway system as a joint-venture with the Ghana Railways Company Limited - because it will simply not be possible to secretly insert their offshore companies into such a business model!
You see, the Chinese actually shoot those officials in their country, who engage in corruption of the sort our most dazzling rogues engage in here, in such deals - so they are unlikely to get any Chinese officials willing to help them secretly rip mother Ghana off, in any such deal.
In any case, Opanin, you would be wise not to complain too loudly, if you are one the faint-hearted in our country - for, you will promptly be labelled as being extremely "lazy" and "envious" if you complain about the unfathomable greed that drives the crooks amongst those who now rule our country!
Independent-minded media folk who refuse to sell our consciences to Ghana's political class (across the spectrum, incidentally - as they are all busy buying media-types to sing their masters' tunes for fat "consultancy" fees!), have been written off and labelled "super-lazy".
That is because those shameless philistines amongst those now in charge of our country, who know the price of everything in our nation; but haven't the slightest idea of the true worth of anything of value in life, despise independent-minded media folk with a passion.
Incidentally, those same shameless crooks amongst our rulers are the main buyers of virtually everything expensive and worthless, of the chi chi kind, which Ghana's uncouth noveau riche are wont to hanker after, so - and which they flaunt with such abandon once they finally get their grubby paws on. Hmmm, Ghana - ayeasem oo!
They despise independent-minded media folk, because we care about truth and about our integrity as human beings: and refuse to let those rogues smooth our path to the acquisition of tainted wealth: by the agency of "paid-for-spin" and sophistry. Being "fools" and "lazy" sods, our consciences are not for sale, at any price!
Hmmm, Ghana - asem ebaba debi ankasa! May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Opanin, tribal supremacists like the Okaompa Ahofes exist in all the ethnic groups in our homeland Ghana. Mercifully, and thankfully for our nation, they only constitute a tiny minority in every tribe - and they are invariably to be found in the progeny of the pre-colonial feudal ruling elites in all our tribes.
However, the reality in our country, thanks to Nkrumah's enlightened leadership and non-tribalistic nature, is that ordinary people in our country never really think in terms of tribe, in their everyday dealings, with their fellow Ghanaians.
That, my brother, is why there is virtually not a single extended family in our country, that does not have at least a few family members who hail from areas other than their family clan's hometown and tribe.
United by blood ties and through marriage, the average Ghanaian extended family today, consists of many different tribes. In my own family, for example, there are cousins from the north, from Asante, Akim, Ga, Anlo, Krobo, and even from Bunduku in the Ivory Coast! Amazingly, every single one of those cousins, is a blood relation of mine.
Do you now see why someone like me despises Okaompa Ahofe and his ilk - be they Akans, Ewes, northerners, Gas, Kwahus, etc etc.? Believe me, I am not the only Ghanaian who despises the tribal supremacists in our midst, either.
The unfortunate thing for mother Ghana is that the current ruling party has been hijacked by a tiny cabal of greedy and dishonest Akan tribal supremacists. It is for this reason that the present regime's more cynical critics unfortunately insist that our current leader, also doubles as the nation's "hypocrite-in-chief".
People often condemn former president Rawlings (said by some of his more cynical critics to be our our number two "hyocrite-in-chief"!) as being tribalistic whiles he was in power, but the truth of the matter is that he was not. The Ewes dominated the public sector then, as they do now, simply because there are more Ewe graduates in our country than there are graduates from other tribes.
Our former president, Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings, is also often seen as a danger to Ghanaian democracy. He may also have earned a place in our history as the most brutal dictator ever to rule Ghana, in the years preceding the day he successfully morphed into an elected civilian president - but he never ever sought to make Ewes and his own family clan dominate our country as a policy, did he: by trying to impose his tribal Chiefs on our nation?
That particular point I make, is illustrated perfectly by the fact that it was during the dictatorship of the military junta that Rawlings led in the years of the pre-1992 constitutional era, that Sargent Amedeka, an Ewe soldier who is now a fugitive from justice, once had the temerity to slap the most important of the traditional rulers of Anlo, in the face: an act that even today is an abomination everywhere in the African continent.
Although my mentioning it will probably raise the ire of the many "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong" myrmidons who flock to the comment web pages of www.ghanaweb.com, the truth of the matter, is that current President J.A. Kufuor had a historic opportunity to change our country for the better, in many ways, when he first assumed power on 7th January, 2001.
Unfortunately, he failed our country dreadfully in that respect - with what some equate with pure treason: his active promotion of certain tribal supremacist traditional rulers, who sought to create a de facto state within a state in our country by stealth, throughout his tenure.
For many independent-minded and patriotic Ghanaians, it is therefore no surprise that he is leaving office with our country more divided than at any time in its history.
Sadly, too, he is also leaving office after having presided over an era in which greed amongst our ruling elite reached a level seldom seen in our country before.
Above all, his regime went to great length throughout its tenure, to give the world the impression that somehow there existed a state within a state in Ghana - which apparently was the new successor to a great West African empire of our pre-colonial feudal past.
The annoying thing for many decent and independent-minded as well as non-tribalistic Ghanaians, is that he and the tiny cabal of Akan tribal supremacists who dominate the ruling party so completely today, abused the power given them by the constitution, in the most egregious of fashions.
Incredibly, for almost eight years, they succeeded in getting away with marshaling the whole machinery of state to help one of the most megalomaniac of traditional rulers ever to sit on a major "stool" in Ghana, to indulge himself in his absurd fantasies.
For many a Ghanain patriot and nationalist that was an irritating example of the most blatant and shameful abuse of power: which generated a lot of resentment amongst many ordinary Ghanaians - who felt annoyed by the false impression the world was being given, that to all intents and purposes, there was only one truly significant traditional ruler in Ghana: a falsehood they felt was an insult to their own traditional rulers too.
I have no doubt that Otumfuo Opoku Ware 11, for example, will be judged by history, as one of the greatest of the modern-day traditional rulers of post-independence Ghana - precisely because he understood that the best contribution someone in his position could make to Ghanaian society, was to ensure the cohesion of our country: and to do so by keeping an extremely low public profile.
Yet, paradoxically, that posture did not diminish him in any way - and in fact led to many non-Asantes revering him, eventually. He earned a great deal of respect amongst ordinary Ghanaians right across the country, throughout his period as Asantehene. May his soul rest in peace.
It is the hope of most ordinary Ghanaians that many more of his kind, and in his position, will follow in his footsteps, going forward into the future.
May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!
Sunday, 7 September 2008
That is why I sent you the ghanaweb link to that marvellous story about the achievements of those hardworking Ghanaian entrepreneurs in Italy, in the first place - and asked you to contact them!
Perhaps another story you might follow up (and invite op-eds on its possible ramifications in Africa from your website's members and visitors), is the recent agreement between Italy and Libya to pay reparations for the exploitation of that country, during the period when Italy colonised it.
Unfortunately, it appears that most ordinary people in sub-Saharan Africa do not understand the significance of a former European colonial power agreeing to pay reparations to its former colony in Africa, in today's world.
It is a precedent that could have a huge impact on Africa's economy - if our leaders did a little "thinking-outside-the-box" about the possibilities it opens up for them, in Europe.
Would it not make sense, for Africa's leaders to demand that as a form of payment of reparations in kind, for the tragedy of being parcelled out amongst European powers in the 19th century (for the sole benefit of those self-same European powers!), the EU ought to follow Italy's enlightened example - and allow full access to its markets for goods and services produced in Africa?
It would make a great deal of sense therefore, in my view, for the AU member-nations to work hard to get prominent individuals in Europe, such as U2's Bono and the celebrated anti-African poverty campaigner, Sir Bob Geldorf, as well as civil society groups in Europe, to support Africa in fighting for precisely such an end.
That is one of the surest ways of creating sustainable wealth across Africa - as countless individuals and private enterprises seize the opportunity to trade their way out of poverty across the continent, following in the footsteps of those Ghanaian immigrants in Italy.
Perhaps it could be the EU's more refined and infinitely more sustainable answer, to America's African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA): Trade and Development Act of 2000; P.L. 106-200? Stay blessed!
Thursday, 4 September 2008
It is such a pity that sometimes one has to endure being in the same virtual space with individuals so prone to making those (taflatse) asinine comments one is forced (as a patriot and responsible journalist!), to read daily, at www.ghanaweb.com - simply in order to regularly gauge the political temperature: and feel the pulse of the politically active Ghanaians in the Diaspora.
Oh, mpaninfuo, adeni? Has it never occurred to you that perhaps both of you miss the point completely?
Has it never struck you, gentlemen, that the so-called "boom" that the post-2001 upward trend of GDP growth rates are often made out to be, is only the result of what those of us who had the imagination to fight publicly for debt relief from as far back as the 1990's, predicted would happen - once that albatross around mother Ghana's neck (which our pre-HIPC debt represented!), was removed?
Mpaninfuo, the truth of the matter is that none of the political parties you are so enamoured with, had the nous or the imagination, to think of debt relief as holding the key to Ghanaian prosperity - and that since that was vital to ensure the sustainable growth of our nation's economy (and that of the other highly-indebted nations in sub-Saharan Africa!), they had to fight hard for debt relief?
That same lack of imagination in not having the gumption to fight for debt relief in the past, has also meant that having being freed from the burden of servicing Ghana's pre-HIPC debt, the masters of the universe now in charge of our country, are taking us right back to square one again - and are busy piling up yet more debt, in the process. Incredible!
Rather than point out the fact that a regime benefiting hugely from debt relief has a moral obligation not to incur yet more debt for our nation: and that it is consequently outrageous and an obscenity that this regime has been going to the capital markets of the West to pile up yet more debt (and commercial ones at that too: for which they are obliged to offer high interest rates to attract sufficient investors!), the said press conference by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), was strangely silent on this particular aspect of the monstrosity of a democratically elected regime saddling the next generation of Ghanaians, with such enormous debt.
Why did those who called that press conference not make the point that this regime is the only one in our nation's history to benefit from debt relief - and should therefore have done a great deal better for the country as a whole: than the trillions of old cedis worth of shoddily-constructed infrastructural projects across our country, which they boast about so much?
Was it because yesteryears' masters of the universe (who once ruled our nation with a rod of iron, incidentally!), merely called a press conference to talk about the quantum of debt - as a tactic in that zero-sum game of “comparison”, that our political class are so fixated with?
Why did they not mention the fat fees from which foreign currency “kickbacks” are accruing to the crooks amongst our current rulers from their intensive-fishing - in the piranha-infested waters of the capital markets of the West?
What is now happening in our country, the pure nonsense on bamboo stilts that piling up yet more debt: and mortgaging our future oil and gas revenues represents, is a crime against humanity, no less, independent-minded Ghanaians will have you know, mpaninfuo - if you have not yet cottoned on to that sad and irritating fact yet.
It is unconscionable that it is being committed by the current crop of economic geniuses who now rule our country.
The outrage in all this, mpaninfuo, is that it is the self-interest of the ruthless titans in the financial services sector of our economy, that is driving the insatiable hunger of some of our more crooked rulers, for hard currency loans and the issuance of sundry bonds in the capital markets of the West.
The unfathomable greed of our powerful oligarchs and the abiding desire to lay their grubby hands on yet more of the lucrative fees they charge, and are paid, for "helping" Ghana to source those loans in the capital markets of West, is what drives all the madness that has finally brought our nation to its knees, in an election year.
Perhaps our leaders are being made to pay for their hubris by providence? Anyway, those regime-crony capitalists, our super high net worth oligarchs, unlike our local contractors, pay their 10 per cent kickbacks to the rogues amongst those who now rule our country, in foreign currency.
For that reason, they have forged an unholy alliance with a cabal of ruthless tribal supremacists who now dominate the ruling party, so completely.
Those tribal supremacists are our local version of the odious white supremacists of the Western world - who look down on people of colour and think, incredibly, that we are less than human and incredibly stupid: the white (taflatse) imbeciles that they are!
Incidentally, it is those self-same clever oligarchs, who have taught the crooks amongst those who now rule us, to set up offshore shell companies, structured like traditional Russian dolls: to hide their ownership.
That task is often accomplished by the simple ruse of using paid nominees - Western professionals who earn "big-money" acting as legal fronts for African despots and kleptocrats.
This is what enables the crooks amongst our ruling elites to successfully hide their ownership of such offshore vehicles: through which stolen Ghanaian taxpayers' money is funneled!
As for Mr. Fifi Kwettey's assertions that the "NPP economic expert", Mr Kwame Pianim, recently mentioned the need for an injection of about US$ 130 millions to stabilize the economy, with respect, Mr. Pianim was simply putting a spin on the painful reality we now face.
He is fully aware that our country has finally, in an election year, been brought to its knees. One reason looming large on the horizon and responsible in no small measure for the sorry pass we have come to, is the pressing need, to find the money to make those regular payments we are obliged to make to the clever overseas investors: who piled into the US$750 millions sovereign bonds - as well as the GT corporate bonds issued on its behalf by Iroko in London.
Incidentally, the men in gray suits from the World Bank and the IMF euphemistically call the plight our country currently faces, “debt distress"!
It is the desire of our current leaders not to experience any loss of face: and prevent any revelations about the true depths to which we have now sunk, that was largely behind the fire-sale of Ghana Telecom (GT).
It was simply to raise enough money to, amongst other pressing needs, ensure that Ghana did not default on the interest payments due to those overseas investors who bought both Ghana's sovereign bonds and the GT corporate bonds abroad: to provide themselves with an investment product yielding a regular income-stream.
The panic and fear that gripped many of those who now lead our nation and forced their hand in selling GT despite widespread disapproval of the sale amongst discerning Ghanaians, was a direct result of their realization that the world would finally become aware of their incompetence: and remember that once upon a time they told Ghanaians that their regime was going to source funds for Ghana’s development from foreign crooks in London, ‘posing’ as the “IFC”.
Amazingly (not having learnt any lessons, obviously!), our leaders then went on to dream up yet a second wheeze in similar vein, not too long after that - this time round a loan: from a Chinese hairdressing salon in the seedier back-streets of London!
Let me use the GT corporate bonds issued in London by Iroko on the company’s behalf, to illustrate, in a nutshell, all I have said above - to show you, gentlemen, just how our nation is now being ripped off today by ruthless and greedy politicians and their cronies in the financial services industry: who have now discovered a far better method of ripping Ghana off, than that which the denizens of Chinese hairdressing salons in London could have ever offered them.
The current president, whose more cynical critics call Ghana’s “hypocrite-in-chief” asked his critics, during a speech in public recently at a TUC congress meeting, not to be hypocritical, the obvious inference, according to his critics, being that some people in the previous regime, had been bribed by Scancem to sell Ghana’s state-owned cement factory at Tema for a song.
If you recall gentlemen, evidence was produced in a law court in Oslo not too long ago, that the Norwegian cement giant Scancem, had a secret slush-fund from which it bought off African politicians to induce them to sell off grossly-undervalued state-owned cement factories across Africa, for values far less than their actual net worth.
Well, what he forgot was that even those crooks in the past regime who took money from Scancem, did not have the gall to pass a law to provide them and their foreign carpetbagger friends, with legal indemnities to protect them from being prosecuted for causing financial loss to the Ghanaian nation-state.
What the crooks in this regime forget, is that such a law is patently illegal: as our constitution enjoins all Ghanaian citizens to prevent corruption - not provide cast-iron legal loopholes for corrupt officials and their collaborators? I boldly predict that all those who helped foreigners acquire GT for a song, will end up suffering the same fate as Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata!
But I digress. To begin with, let me give you a brief background of Iroko. It is registered as an offshore company in the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius. Your guess is as good as mine why it is registered as an offshore company.
It was sold off by its former Botswanan parent, who spun if off because it was hemorrhaging badly.Those who bought it, had the emerging markets of Africa in mind, when they sought a license to operate in the London capital markets - for, they know the mentality of their target market very well: The cachet of London would draw Africans (on the make and on the take!) like flies to Iroko - and it worked a treat with GT.
The question that decent and independent Ghanaians ought to ask our current leaders is: was there any insider dealing in the GT corporate bond issue? Precisely who brought Iroko to Ghana? Does Iroko have any Ghanaian partners or directors?
Just what plan did the GT management and board have to meet the interest payments (which, by the way, was regular income for the overseas investors who bought them - for precisely that very reason) on those GT corporate bonds, without jeopardizing the financial stability of the company?
Precisely what plan did Ghana's minister of finance also have in place to pay those overseas investors who were prescient enough to buy some of those US$750 millions worth of Ghana's sovereign bonds - at a time when it was not clear that soon such income would be pretty hard to come by for investors in the capital markets of the West?
Mpaninfuo, you will be shocked by the unethical way that many players in large swathes of Ghana's capital markets and its economy's financial services sector as a whole, operate. Nowhere in the world, is there such an incestuous relationship between the regulators and players in the industry. The boards of private sector banks in Ghana are positively crawling with ex-central bank governors!
The insider dealing, which according to the “bush telegraph” occurred during the takeover of GT by Vodafone, is said to have resulted in some GT board members profiting from that particular deal - and if truth be told, that is only the tip of the iceberg: in the Byzantine and incredibly opaque world of Ghana’s financial services industry.
In more “civilized” jurisdictions, all those who did not step aside in the deal to sell a 70 per cent stake in GT, when they knew there was clear conflict of interest in their continued presence on the GT board whiles entities with which they were closely associated, were beneficiaries of Vodafone’s munificence (as providers of professional services to Vodafone!), would have been hauled before the courts by now by prosecutors, tried and jailed for long prison terms.
For good measure, they would also be banned for life, from working in the financial service sectors of all those nations - which care about the protection of investors in their capital markets and about the need for transparency in their financial services sectors.
Here, such high net worth white-collar criminals, sit in the front pews of charismatic churches founded by narcissistic adventurers, with a nice line in fleecing their flock out of billions annually to fund their lavish lifestyles - and are hailed as heroes: and some are even made candidates by political parties for the highest offices in the land. Incredible!
Just stop for a moment and think, gentlemen - we should not really be tolerating our political parties playing the “comparison” game between the previous regime and its successor in office, at all, should we?
Developing Ghana is precisely what governments are elected to do. It is their view of the nature of society that we should rather be concerned with: now that for the first time in our nation’s history, it is feasible that our rulers will have the wherewithal from within our country, to enable the visionary ones amongst them, successfully transform Ghanaian society.
We must mull over questions such as whether or not this will continue to be a nation in which greed for money is paramount - to the extend that truth has nearly become an extinct virtue in our society.
Or will we strive to become Africa's equivalent of the egalitarian social and economic models of Scandinavia: and end up as a nation in which disparities in wealth are not of such a yawning gap: that it literally threatens the stability of the Ghanaian polity.
Let us mull over and have sane conversations in which instead of blind support for political parties, we seek answers to questions such as whether as a people, we want our country to be one in which our towns and cities are forever drowning in filth: because those highly-educated professionals paid by society to make sure we have an efficient waste disposal system, are busy feathering their own nests - because having wealth, not pride in their profession and the quality and value for society, of the output of work they do, is what motivates them?
Do we want ours to be a nation in which society does not have any real differences in the quality of life between the very wealthy and the not-so-well off - because as a people we value political parties and politicians who fight for an improvement in the common weal?
As a people do we prefer honest leaders who care about creating a fair nation in which we have a caring and sharing society, or do we want our country to be run by leaders who hide their greed and selfishness behind innocuous-sounding phrases such as: "private-sector led growth" and "a property-owning democracy" when in reality they only seek power to enable them cleverly siphon our nation's wealth and hide them using offshore companies as legal fronts to shield their perfidy, from unwelcome gaze?
Should we as a people tolerate super-rich and idle individuals pretending to be in politics in order to work hard for society, but who in reality are nothing more than clever thieves, ace spongers living off the fat of the land, prospering from the blood, sweat and tears of ordinary people?
Let us focus on the issues that answer questions such as whether or not this will become a nation in which our leaders are smart enough to realize that a poor nation cannot afford not to have completely free education for all its brightest citizens, right up to tertiary level – and opt to provide resources towards that end: instead of the obscenity of the leaders of a poor nation building presidential palaces and purchasing two luxury presidential jets at the same time?
Mpaninfuo, that is the kind of conversation decent and honest Ghanaians ought to be having, should we not?
That - and questions such as the need to take a leaf from the book of Venezuela: and nationalize our oil and natural gas industries.Naturally, we must pay the Western oil companies fair compensation (by issuing them Ghana’s sovereign bonds, not cash!) and set up joint-ventures (GNPC will have a 70 per cent stake, of course!) between the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the best-resourced of the Chinese state-owned oil and natural gas companies.
May God bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always. Long live freedom! Long live Ghana!