Monday, 27 April 2009


It is said that those who manage the public image of the new Mills administration have been busy patting themselves on the head lately – because there were no major slip-ups during the presidential press conference held at the Osu Castle on Tuesday, 14th April 2009. If, however, it is true that the absence from that press conference of a number of newspapers like The Independent, The Daily Guide, The Statesman, The Ghanaian Observer, and The New Crusading Guide, was not accidental but deliberate, as is being alleged in certain quarters, then those officials have done a great deal of damage to the image of their new administration.

Tolerance of dissenting views is a sign of political maturity – even when those dissenting views are intended to mislead the public. An example of such mischief was the misleading claim in one of the previous editions of The Statesman that the president had traveled to the Eastern Region in a longish convoy – when in actual fact he had ventured nowhere near the Eastern Region, but had been in Accra the whole of that day. As it happens, he had only gone to church and returned home again after that on the day in question (in his usual minimalist convoy). The discerning public (those who aren’t the “My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong” myrmidon-types whose blind support eventually destroys political parties when they win power, i.e.) can make its own judgment about such reportage – and decide the level of credibility to accord newspapers of that ilk, for themselves.

However, those who manage the public image of the new administration, must, of necessity, always keep their doors open to all Ghanaian media houses without exception.
If the new masters of the universe at the Osu Castle care to ask members of the previous administration who are honest enough to admit the truth, they will tell them that looking back, one of the biggest mistakes they made, was paying too much attention to the views of the sycophantic media praise-singers they spent zillions cultivating. Those in charge of media relations at the presidency must keep their lines of communication open to all Ghana’s print and electronic media outlets – particularly those which they think are on the side of the opposition.

It is the best way to gauge the prevailing national mood at any given point in time during their tenure. Keeping their lines of communication open to all media houses will also enable them provide biased hacks with the correct information that will make it hard for them to continue misleading the public in the blatant fashion some of them have now adopted. Subtlety, not showing unfriendly media-types where power lies, by excluding them from the Osu Castle (and elsewhere that the great and the good congregate), ought to be the guiding principle in the battle to win the hearts and minds of the Ghanaian public. It is no good adopting the Ostrich-approach in handling today’s media.

In any case, in the final analysis, the best way to shame those who peddle falsehood in the media, is for our new leaders to govern our country in a fair and transparent manner – and for them to rule this nation as honest and competent stewards of the public purse above all. Against that, no amount of sophism on the part of the mischief-makers in the media (especially those who sold their consciences to our previous rulers and now wish to see their return to power again by any means necessary, including deploying falsehood as a political weapon) can move the ordinary Ghanaians who voted for regime-change in the December 2008 elections. In that regard, the president was wise in making it clear to the nation that all those in the previous regime who abused the trust Ghanaians placed in them whiles in office will be held to account. He is likely to retain the trust of those who voted for change if that happens – even if he is unable to change their personal circumstances very much within his four-year tenure.

The men and women surrounding the president must never forget the wise old Ghanaian saying: “No condition is permanent.” If those of them responsible for managing the public image of the administration of a leader, who says he wants to be a president of all Ghanaians, want to avoid being condemned in future for humbug and hubris, they must revise their notes quickly – and ensure that on subsequent occasions they invite all the media houses they failed to invite to cover the president’s maiden press conference at the Osu Castle. If they do not want to make the same kinds of avoidable mistakes their predecessors made whiles in power (when they elected to court a section of the media assiduously – whiles subtly persecuting those of us who criticized them regularly), then they must learn to treasure even their severest critics in the media. A word to the wise…

To Whom It May Concern!

I received an email from a complete stranger, today, which seems to follow a pattern. I do not own Vodafone, yet I have received emails from a number of strangers giving the impression that I do. I do not know if some of the telecoms companies in Ghana have “dirty tricks departments” – but the emails of the type I have copied below, seem to be the work of some dirty tricks department of a telecoms company that thinks it can trip me up, somehow.

Incidentally, I have also received phone calls on my radiophone “smartphone” asking me if I was “Vodafone.” Even when I have politely told the caller after the call is repeated a second time that I am a private individual who treasures his privacy and would she kindly not disturb me any further, it has gone on in the same vein.

Whoever the morons are that are behind this pure nonsense on bamboo stilts, who think they can trip me up, may I please inform them that I am sorry to disappoint them, but that Kofi Thompson is not a crook? He is only a patriot who loves his country – and resents imbeciles who take our nation for a huge ride, also trying to trip me up and taking the Mickey on top of that outrage, too.

Kofi Thompson wants to be left alone – and let those who resort to such inanities understand that in future I shall forward their email to The Insight Newspaper - who will deal with them appropriately. A word to the wise… The email I received is reproduced below and readers may make up their own minds about it:



Reply to all Forward Print Add nana to Contacts list Delete this message Report phishing Show original Message text garbled?

nana yaw to me
show details 14:02 (4 minutes ago)


CONTACT -( 0242920536 )


Sunday, 26 April 2009

"Utopias" - A Kweku Ananse Short Story By Kofi Thompson

In years past, long before market capitalism swept all before it and conquered the world, Ghana’s politicians would never have dreamt of spending zillions shoring up an overvalued currency that was fast losing its shine.

Their cure for that ailment was called “devaluation” – which was said to be very good for Ghana because it stimulated exports. Life was pretty simple then - and intelligent leaders like Dr. Busia, would rather have pumped the nearly one billion dollars that his political progeny spent shoring up the new Ghana cedi, merely to save their faces, into rural development: in order to secure the votes of rural Ghana for generations to come.

Those were the halcyon days, when some of us cut our teeth as teenagers watching markets in far-off lands, for fun, as a hobby.

Today, in the age of Alice-in-Wonderland economics, we are graying grandparents and although our teeth are falling out, we are still watching markets, both at home and abroad – and are appalled by the opaque way our previous leaders ran the economy, when they held power. But one digresses.

There now follows my Kweku Ananse story, with a moral in it, for those who rule our nation today.

Warren Buffet, the famed sage of Omaha, once said that it is when the tide is out that those who have been swimming without their trunks on can be seen.

In "Nudetopia," a luxury biosphere where worn-out ex-tycoons from the financial services sectors of the Western world go to be rejuvenated in Olympic-sized swimming pools, by delectable bimbos of different races, cameras are banned completely.

Thus, the security people in “Nudetopia” spend countless hours searching for cameras.

Their brief is to make sure that confidence does not evaporate from "Nudetopia" amongst burnt-out former investment bankers and hedge-fund managers looking for fun in troubled times and anxious to remain virile.

Confidence is a pretty important intangible commodity to crooks in the markets - so they like to keep up appearances in “Nudetopia” come what may.

"Samboland" is a corner of Africa in the City of London, where African versions of the US fraudster extraordinaire, Bernie Maddox, operate under the radar-screens of the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA).

There, clueless African regimes are ripped-off on a regular basis – by African crooks running investment boutiques in the UK that call themselves funny names, such as: “Impala,” “Tireko,” and “Sambo.”

They are registered to underwrite bonds and sell other financial products by the FSA – and act in London for many poor African nations (also run mostly by nasty and brutal crooks), which they charge usury rates (in fees and interest charges) to act as “transaction advisors” for.

Thus, bonds for example, are issued by these masters of the universe for governments and business entities in some of the nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Those financial instruments are usually issued at “Tireko” rates – meaning those nations end up paying zillions directly to the “Tirekos” for sovereign bonds, corporate bonds for state-owned enterprises, etc., etc., (some with rates of interest as high as 17 per cent!), which the “Tirekos” then repackage and quietly sell on to clueless, supposedly-clever blond blue-eyed investors, in London and elsewhere, at more sensible rates, with the coupon difference being pocketed by the “Tirekos.”

Quiet a nice way to make easy and fast money in a global recession – if you are a well-connected African crook running a financial services company in the UK, with local lackeys spread across sub-Saharan Africa: happy and willing to bring you business regularly.

But if you are a “Tireko,” a “Sambo,” or “Impala” raking in zillions in London from desperately poor African nations, you had better pray that the spirits of the ancestors of those you rip off regularly never catch up with you in the end!


One could not help but admire the wisdom of the ordinary Ghanaian, when one heard the reaction of listeners who called in to Radio Gold FM on the morning of the 22nd April, 2009, to pass comment on Professor Karikari’s unfortunate remarks about the youthful deputy-minister, James Adjenin-Boateng, and Radio Gold FM itself. Many of those callers clearly got the point about the events and issues contained in some of the programmes broadcast by Radio Gold in the days between the end of the 7th December, 2008 presidential election and the immediate aftermath of the run-off of that election, which raised the ire of so many New Patriotic Party (NPP) members – when they said that the matters broadcast by Radio Gold FM during the period in question were matters that concerned the security of our country, which sober minds such as Professor Karikari, ought to recommend that the president orders the security agencies to investigate quickly and thoroughly.

Clearly, those members of the previous regime who are guilty of participating in the brutal gang-rape of mother Ghana (carried out mainly by the small but powerful cabal with its HQ in the presidency during the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration), who grew super-rich ripping our country off in those opaque transactions that they thought no one would ever unravel, are fighting a determined rearguard-action to prevent the new administration from eventually exposing them. It would appear that Professor Karikari may have been an unwitting tool of those who are now busy using sophism as a political weapon to enable them paralyze and ultimately destroy the Mills administration – as it now emerges that he had not even actually heard the Radio Gold FM “Election Forensics” tape-recordings, presumably based on which he passed such unfair judgment on the work of dedicated journalism professionals who were only doing their patriotic duty to thwart those seeking to subvert the sovereign will of the Ghanaian people in an election.

Since all the troubles of our nation stem from the fact that it has been ruled mostly by greedy and dishonest self-seekers throughout the post-Nkrumah years, rather than castigating President Mills, perhaps decent and patriotic Ghanaians like Professor Kwame Karikari ought to point it out to the enemies of the masses that whatever its perceived shortcomings, the administration of a newly-elected president who is determined that he and the members of his regime will leave a legacy that ensures that going forward into the future, all elected politicians and their spouses publicly publish their assets, does indeed deserve to succeed and must be given time to complete its tenure. In that regard, the Radio Gold FM listeners who called in to say that the new administration should not allow itself to be diverted from the task ahead, by its detractors, but to remain focused on fulfilling its pledge to improve the general condition of our nation and quality of life of ordinary Ghanaians by the end of its four-year tenure, were spot-on.

The whole purpose of those who are now seeking to undermine the Mills administration is to lead it on a merry-go-round – in the hope that they, and not the new administration, will set the national agenda: as the regime wastes precious time responding to their inane criticisms. An example is the latest NPP press conference during which the party’s chairperson more or less accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Mills administration of deception. Another example of this unfortunate negative mindset of some members of the opposition was the absurd demand by the NPP’s Asare Otchere-Darko on the Metro TV current affairs programme, “Good Evening Ghana”, which was telecast on 21st April 2008, that Dr. Tony Aidoo tells him what solution the government had for halting the depreciation of the cedi – as if the government that had just recently won a four-year tenure to prove itself faced an imminent election to renew its mandate: after only 100 days in office.

Yet, these well-educated morons jolly well know that the root of the problem of the depreciation of our currency lies in the irresponsible smoke-and-mirrors economic policies that the previous regime pursued – mainly because it personally benefited the crooks amongst them and their cronies, instead of serving their nation’s interests: as well as that of the generality of Ghanaians. It was “short-termism” at its worst as policies designed largely to benefit foreign carpetbaggers and their politically well-connected local lackeys in our financial services industry ended up crippling our nation financially. Doubtless, ordinary Ghanaians will eventually come to learn the shocking details of those self-serving economic policies and their dire consequences for our nation, in due course –and Ghanaians will then understand why those rogues never wanted strong characters like Fifi Kwettey anywhere near the ministry of finance.

The government must continue focusing on the things that will grow the real economy, such as its very sensible (and long-overdue) policy of subsidizing fertilizers for farmers – and ignore those in the NPP who quote macro-economic statistics endlessly to score political points (but forget that one can use the same set of statistics to justify every conceivable economic view-point – which is why a depreciating currency is music to the ears of so many Ghanaian exporters!), to continue living in cloud cuckoo-land. For the sake of Ghanaian democracy, one prays that the nationalistic-minded NPP members will try and wrestle control of their party from those of their colleagues whose greed, whiles they were in power, was such that they were always prepared to sell out our country to foreigners – as long as it benefited them personally. To allow their party to remain in the firm grip of the few greedy and dishonest tribal-supremacists amongst them, who hijacked it for their own benefit whiles they were in power, will be suicidal. The truth of the matter is that Ghanaians simply do not want to be led by such greedy self-seekers again.

It is such a pity that some of those in the inner circle of the NPP’s presidential candidate who led the NPP campaign, and are now being blamed by many in their party for losing them the December 2008 presidential election, think that there is traction in the lost cause they are passionately pursuing (trying to make out the Mills administration is clueless). Perhaps one ought to remind the sober minds in the NPP that ordinary people are not nearly as stupid as some politicians think. They must understand that those ordinary Ghanaians who decided in December 2008 that it was time for regime-change, and voted accordingly to make it happen, clearly understand the absurdity of making a three-month old administration, which has just taken over a nation suffering from acute “debt-distress” (to use a World Bank/IMF euphemism!) to rule for the next four years, appear to the world, as some kind of failure already. Obviously, some people never learn from the past – because they are too arrogant to admit their mistakes.

Perhaps good people like Professor Karikari should also ponder why there is such desperation in certain quarters to give Ghanaians the impression that they are now ruled by a dishonest, incompetent, and clueless regime – when that clearly isn’t the case. As a cynic said to me, “Perhaps the reason for all the kerfuffle is that the desperate Titans in our financial services sector who prospered mightily from the fat fees they earned as “transaction advisors” in the privatization deals galore and our daft forays into the piranha-infested capital markets of the West under the NPP, want their overseas collaborators to still remain hopeful that business will flow again soon at some point going forward.” Do those who abused their positions to acquire super-wealth illegally in the previous regime really think that in this day and age they can stop their crimes against our nation and its people from ever coming to light?

It is a pity that good and respectable people like Professor Kwame Karikari, who have worked hard to build such a good reputation for themselves over the years, seem to have unwittingly allowed their judgment to be clouded – as the ruthless and greedy politicians whose tribal-supremacist tendencies whiles in office during the tenure of the Kufuor administration destroyed the cohesion of our nation, as never before in our post-independence history, deftly manipulate them. Clearly, whiles the members of the NDC must keep their lines of communication open at all times to even the newspapers that oppose them (such as The Statesman), they must, however, keep the so-called Danquah Institute at arms length. It is not what they think it is: an intellectual powerhouse generating ideas for the deepening of Ghanaian democracy. Has it not occurred to them, that perhaps those cynics who insist that in reality it is nothing but a reactionary Akan tribal-supremacist sponsored NPP propaganda unit and centre for spin-doctoring, which masquerades as an independent think-tank to give it some respectability, may actually have a point?

There are some of its critics who even say that it was set up more or less as a vehicle to enable those in Nana Akufo-Addo’s inner circle, who thought that they were going to become the Mk11 version of the family clans and cronies of the small but powerful cabal of Akan tribal-supremacists in the presidency, who succeeded in hijacking the NPP during President Kufuor’s eight-year tenure (and ended up abusing their power to such an extent that it enabled them send their personal net worth, as well as that of their family clans and cronies, into the stratosphere), to wield maximum influence through the back-door: in what they clearly thought was going to become the next NPP administration, which was coming to power after the December 2008 elections. The NDC’s membership must avoid functions organized by the so-called Danquah Institute like the plaque – for its aims are neither benign nor non-partisan. They must not lend respectability to it by partaking in its activities – as that would be tantamount to allowing themselves to be used by those for whom it serves as a vehicle designed to smoothen the path to the acquisition of political power.

They must never forget that their political opponents are desperately seeking clever ways to undermine their administration – as they plot their way back to power again in 2012. As far as the economy goes, rather than focusing mainly on negotiating with the IMF and World Bank for funding, the new administration ought to try and also leverage the goodwill Nkrumah built with China to source funds from the Chinese to fund the bulk of their projects. The Chinese are still quiet happy to fund projects in Africa despite the global recession – and accepting the sovereign bonds of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana (underpinned by future oil and natural gas revenues) in exchange for China funding joint-venture projects in our country’s energy and housing sectors, as well as in other sectors of the economy to the tune of even some twenty billion dollars, if need be, is not an impossibility for them, if our leaders approach them with creative proposals. Better that than taking up the NPP’s cheeky suggestion that the Mills administration collaborate with their party to solve Ghana’s many problems that they could not themselves solve in eight long years in power. Whatever it does, the new NDC administration must avoid falling into the trap of its enemies, at all costs. A word to the wise…


Over the years since the Rwandan genocide was brought to an end, some five million Africans have died in the DR Congo – yet, hardly anyone in the international community expresses their outrage that so many members of the human race have died: largely as a result of the lack of security in their country. Every single one of those millions of Africans who have died as a result of the fighting between the various armed groups in the DR Congo is a victim of the greed of those who seek to profit from the vast mineral wealth of that unfortunate nation – and fan the numerous conflicts in the Eastern DR Congo for that purpose.

As a believer in Nkrumah’s pan-Africanist vision, I am saddened that rather than seeking to protect ordinary Africans from some of the modern-day Adolf Hitlers who rule a number of the nations in the continent, the African Union (AU) rather seeks to protect those evil monsters – who are guilty of some of the most unspeakable and abominable acts of cruelty perpetrated in the 21st century, thus far. As we speak, the AU is actively working to protect President Omar Bashir from the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) reach. Yet, it remains strangely silent about the plight of the millions of black Africans in Darfur whom he is victimizing. The truth of the matter is that Omar Bashir hopes that a majority of them will eventually die from the deprivation caused by the enforced absence from Western Sudan of the international NGO’s he has expelled from his country specifically for that purpose.

Omar Bashir is the leader of a brutal and cruel dictatorship that is engaged in ethnic- cleansing on an apocalyptic scale in Darfur. He is directly responsible for the current humanitarian crisis caused by the expelling of a number of international NGO’s assisting internally displaced persons in refugee camps in Darfur from Sudan – despite the fact that those charitable organizations have been the main source of sustenance for his many victims in Western Sudan. Ever the cynic, Omar Bashir realizes that hunger and starvation will achieve his ethnic-cleansing agenda for him even faster than his armed agents of death the Janjaweed ever could. That is why he promptly decided to expel the international NGO’s the minute the opportunity to do so presented itself to him.

If the victims of the cruelest despots in Africa, such as Omar Bashir, cannot rely on the AU to protect them from their oppressors, why should they not look to the ICC to protect them from their evil tormentors? The idea that millions of unfortunate Africans, who are being slaughtered and brutalized by their leaders on a daily basis, should regard the targeting of those leaders by the ICC (which is only holding those cruel leaders accountable for their crimes against humanity, after all), as some form of Western racism and a conspiracy to re-colonize Africa, is a cruel and sick joke. It is an argument that no African of conscience who cares about his fellow Africans should ever make. Taking such a stand is an affront to the many decent men, women, and children across the globe, who show their solidarity with those suffering at the hands of Africa’s dictators, by insisting that they are their fellow human beings who are deserving of the protection of the international community.

The time has come for world leaders, such as US President Obama, and the leaders of the nations of the European Union, to put diplomatic niceties and political correctness aside, and speak out boldly against the AU for neglecting the many victims of the continent’s cruelest leaders. The international community must condemn the AU in the strongest possible terms for its outrageous stand on the indictment of Omar Bashir by the ICC. Venezuela’s President Chavez in particular ought to think about the awful plight of the victims of Omar Bashir in Darfur – not give succour to a cruel African leader indicted by the ICC for the crimes against humanity he is responsible for in Darfur.

The international community must demand that the AU acts to protect the human rights of the millions of Africans currently suffering in places like Darfur, the northern and eastern parts of the DR Congo, Chad, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea, Mauritania, and Libya. The AU must consider the protection of the human rights of ordinary Africans as its primary mission – and it must demand that Omar Bashir allows the international NGO’s he recently expelled from Sudan to return to Darfur immediately to help alleviate the suffering of the people there. It must stop regarding itself as an exclusive club for African leaders: on whose behalf it feels obliged to lobby the international community from time to time – even when their monstrous actions bring them to the attention of the ICC.

Saturday, 11 April 2009


An evening news item telecast on 9th April, 2009 by Metro TV, which highlighted the appalling state that some of the medical equipment at the La General Hospital are in, caught my attention – and made me ponder the disconnect between many in our political class and ordinary Ghanaians. Earlier that day, I had been listening (with a great deal of incredulity at his arrogance and petulance) to former President Kufuor’s spokesperson, Frank Adjekum, on one of Accra’s many FM radio stations – who said that the former president was apparently unhappy about the “piecemeal” manner in which the new Mills administration was dealing with his retirement package.

I was dumfounded when Mr. Adjekum, who was clearly irritated by it, said there were some people who even made the point, when referring to former President Kufuor’s (overly-generous in my humble opinion) ex-gratia retirement benefits, that there were many ordinary Ghanaians who had worked for their country for a “hundred years” but only had miniscule retirement benefits. Do our politicians not understand that the unfair society they have succeeded in creating, in which there are such huge disparities in wealth, is one that sits on a time-bomb of social discontent that could explode at any time – if the large underclass that has grown so rapidly over the last eight years finds a demagogue who decides to champion their cause in order to ride to power?

Did they not hear the disenchantment with officialdom and our political class expressed in media interviews by some of the Ghanaians recently deported from Libya – many of whom are currently stranded at Accra’s international airport? How can politicians in a nation so poor that in the 21st century ICT age mothers can die during childbirth because of the inadequacies of our healthcare system, be so insensitive as to argue endlessly about the purchase (at hapless taxpayers’ expense) and allocation of expensive luxury cars and office accommodation: particularly at a point in time when our homeland Ghana is in such dire straits? Why are some of them trying to stampede our country into giving a former president a million-dollar “seed-money” to set up a charitable foundation – just to help him cope with the “withdrawal pangs” of leaving office: when that sum could make such a huge difference in the quality of life of many rural communities?

Surely, ordinary people do not force any of Ghana’s politicians to enter politics, do they? Since those benefiting from those overly-generous ex-gratia payments appear so determined to have their pound of flesh, are we to conclude that most of our politicians enter politics just to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of society? Our political class must stop using legal technicalities to enable some of them get away with outrages such as those obscene ex-gratia payments recommended for payment to a number of retired high public officials. It is important that they understand that in the long run ordinary people will become disillusioned with a system in which only the elite benefit from the so-called “democracy dividend.” They should not be surprised if the events of June 4th 1979 are repeated again someday - and the 4th Republic and its iniquitous system are abruptly swept away (together with its predatory political class).

They must not continue to be so insensitive about the plight of our nation and the poor quality of life endured by the vast majority of its citizenry – who daily have to struggle to survive against such great odds: due largely to their being ruled by such an incompetent and unimaginative political class, over the years since Nkrumah’s overthrow. Former President Kufuor and his spokespersons must remember that he admonished Ghanaians to learn to cut our collective coat according to the size of our cloth, in the early days when he first assumed power – at a time when he too did not see how he was going to be able to fulfill his many campaign promises to Ghanaians because having then come into power he had suddenly discovered how financially-challenged we were as a nation.

Nothing has changed and he must be reasonable and accept to take away a smaller retirement package. Has he not heard his many critics say that he and some of the members of his regime helped increase the net worth of their own family clans (as well as that of their cronies) sufficiently enough during their tenure, to be able to provide for themselves comfortably for the rest of their natural lives as it is – without them seeking to bankrupt our impoverished country with those outrageous ex-gratia retirement benefits?

Do they know that the cynics amongst us say that they specifically designed those benefits for themselves – with the connivance of the hand-picked Chinery-Hesse committee (which they say was jam-packed with the well-paid sycophants he chose specifically for the purpose)? Isn’t the real truth that if they had had the slightest inkling that there would be regime-change after the elections that would see the return of a National Democratic Congress administration, they would not have dared ask for the “Chinery-Hesse-moon” contained in that committee’s monstrous recommendations?

With respect, former president Kufuor and Co. ought to be a great deal more reasonable and agree to have their retirement benefits trimmed drastically – and let that help them get rid of some of the great harm, which the widespread perception amongst ordinary people that their regime was underpinned by an ethos of unfathomable greed, never seen in our history before, will do to their legacy (such as it is). Surely, if they want to be regarded as statesmen in their retirement years, it is important that they put the interests of our nation and its people above their own creature comforts – and avoid getting a reputation as retired leaders who insisted that they should be allowed to live the life Riley at the expense of the hard-pressed ordinary citizens of a poor developing nation that can hardly afford such profligacy? A word to the wise…

Monday, 6 April 2009


Opanin Peter Jeffrey, I refer to your article of 6th April, 2009 posted on the features web-page of, entitled: “And Mills took it ‘home’ – A Rejoinder”. Opanin, on the thorny subject of tribalism, it is always important to separate ordinary people from the tribal-supremacist progeny of the pre-colonial feudal ruling elites of the various tribes in Ghana.

Ordinary Asantes and ordinary Akims, like ordinary Ghanaians of other ethnic extraction, do not discriminate in their day to day interactions with their fellow human beings – and accept their fellow Ghanaians, irrespective of their ethnic background, as members of the one human race.

They are not the problem – it is the tribal-supremacists (our local version of the odious white supremacists of the Western world) one finds in the palaces of traditional rulers up and down our country, from the northern-most part, to the southern-most tip and from our eastern and western borders, whose narrow-mindedness and intolerance, poses a threat to our country’s unity.

The rise in tribalism in recent times can be attributed largely to the fact that some of the tribal-supremacist progeny of our pre-colonial feudal ruling elites were able to hijack the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime. They then set about to exploit the tribal sentiments Ghanaians of Akan extraction have for their traditional rulers – as part of their secret agenda to enable them dominate our country by stealth, successfully.

It was the unholy and outrageous alliance between the Akan tribal-supremacist cabal in the presidency during the Kufuor era, and certain of their tribal supremacist traditional rulers, that was so resented by many Ghanaians – as they incredibly (and foolishly) sort to impose the over-ambitious and publicity-seeking successor, who replaced the noble and humble Otumfuo Opoku Ware 11 (may his soul rest in peace), on Ghanaians, as some kind of de facto king.

It is no accident that many Ghanaians had a great deal of respect and genuine love for Otumfuo Opoku Ware 11 – and he is regarded by many of them as the best of the modern-day Asantehenes. That great man understood perfectly that because of the weight of history behind it, it was important for the occupant of the Golden Stool to always shy away from politics – and to keep a low profile.

He also understood that it was neither possible, nor desirable, in a unitary Republic, for any traditional ruler to try and seek a revival of the pre-colonial feudal kingdoms – as it could lead to ethnic tension and possibly threaten the cohesion of our nation. Perhaps it was because he was a lawyer that he understood this important aspect of the role that modern-day traditional rulers ought to play in our national life.

Clearly, there can be no Ghana without Asantes and Akims, for, they, like their compatriots from other parts of our nation, also play important roles in our struggle to make our country a better place for all its citizens. In the same vein, there can be no room in our united nation of diverse-ethnicity for Asante or Akim kingdoms: just as there can be no Ga Dangbe kingdom or Dagomba kingdom in Nkrumah’s Ghana. It is important that all our politicians and our traditional rulers understand that perfectly. Traditional rulers in our country are not the modern-day equivalent of the constitutional monarchs of Europe. They are mere private citizens - albeit very important citizens, of the Republic of Ghana: and it is crucial that they never forget that bald fact of life in Nkrumah's Ghana. Period

Are Ghanaian Neo-Liberals Bankrupt Of Ideas?

I was astonished to read an article posted by Mr. Asare Otchere-Darko on the features web-page of on Friday, 3rd April 2009, entitled: “PROVIDING HOMES FOR THE PEOPLE”.

It is instructive that in that article he quotes part of an interview conducted in June 1987, with Mrs. Thatcher, conducted by Frank Melville and Christopher Ogden, of The Times newspaper.

Asare Otchere-Darko’s fixation with leaders like Mrs. Thatcher, illustrates perfectly, the bankruptcy of thought of many to the right of the political spectrum, in Ghana.

The Thatcher (and Reagan) years are seen by even British (and U.S.) conservatives as the period when the seeds of today’s financial crisis were sown.

Sadly, Ghana’s stooges for neocolonialism, took the ethos that underpinned Thatcherism, unfathomable greed, to heart in a very big way – and it was the greedy ambitions of a powerful few during the tenure of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which led to their regime eventually succeeding in bringing our country to its knees, in 2008.

Today, even little children in primary schools across our country know that by the end of their tenure, a nation that had been given the space to grow (thanks to “debt-relief”), was suffering from acute “debt-distress.”

The irony, is that although no one in the NPP joined those of us who fought for debt relief as far back as the 1990’s, it was their regime that benefitted from the opportunity it offered our nation's economy to start growing again, in a more sustainable fashion.

Unfortunately, they ended up piling up the same large external debt - interest payments on which had been squeezing the very lifeblood out of our nation, and crippling it, during much of the Rawlings era.

The sad truth is that those who said they were going to create a property-owning democracy in our country, only succeeded in creating a society whose most prominent feature, at the end of their tenure, was a nation dominated by a culture of dog-eat-dog selfishness.

 It spawned a culture of widespread dishonesty, and greed, throughout our country: causing much damage to the moral fibre of Ghanaian society.

We have thus ended up becoming a nation awash with conmen who appoint themselves “Bishops” – who never say a word about character-building but focus exclusively on the art and science of making money.

Mr. Asare Otchere-Darko bemoans the candour of the chairperson of his party’s manifesto committee: “Unhelpful remarks from the Manifesto Committee Chairman that it was not government’s job to provide homes for the masses…”

 Perhaps one should point it out to him that indeed his party did not come to power to provide houses for the masses (which is why some of them saw the “low-cost” housing scheme as a perfect opportunity to further diversify their investment portfolios – and send their personal net worth a tad higher up into the stratosphere).

As Ghanaians now know, far from turning our country into a property-owning democracy, they only succeeded in turning it into a kleptocracy dominated, in the main, by a small but powerful and ruthless Akan tribal-supremacist oligarchy.

Does he not realise that the petulance of Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, when he was insisting that yet further changes be made to his newly and expensively-renovated official residence, not too long after they first assumed power, neatly encapsulated his party’s real agenda: the empowerment of the ruling elite by their use of the Ghanaian nation-state’s considerable powers to enrich themselves – and use that wealth to try and dominate our country permanently?

That is why by the end of their tenure the president thought nothing of using (or as the cynics in our midst would say, abusing) the power given him by the constitution of the Republic of Ghana, to transfer the title of what was a state-owned property used as an official ministerial residence, to Jake Obestebi-Lamptey personally.

Obviously, “less government” can be pretty good for you – especially if you can benefit materially from it.

Surprising though it might be to the Asare Otchere-Darkos, and the “Washington-based” Baffuor Ennins of this world, the issue is not that anyone in Ghana doubts that wealth is an “enabler of everyone’s success” – the issue is what ends those who vie for political power in our country seek it for.

The issue is the nature of the society politicians seek to create in our nation. Do they, for example, seek power in order to use the power of the Ghanaian nation-state to enable us create an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia in our country – for the benefit of all strata of the Ghanaian polity?

Or do they seek power to enable them revive the power of the progeny of the pre-colonial feudal ruling elites – and Balkanize our country in the process as they attempt to revive the power of the pre-colonial kingdoms, by stealth, and through the back door, as it were?

Some of us believe that a good example of the benign use of the power of the Ghanaian nation-state is to nationalize land currently held in trust by Chiefs on their people’s behalf – and redistribute it to small-holder tenant farmers.

That way, a significant majority of Ghana’s cocoa farmers will have sufficient land to derive yet more income from their labour. When that happens, situations such as that now prevailing in Akyem Juaso, where cocoa farmers are rushing to lease their farmland to a surface gold-mining company, as we speak, will come to an end.

Those cocoa farmers feel compelled to lease their land, because far from being wealthy, they are rather fed up with being so wretchedly poor. Their hope, in selling their farmland, is that in so doing, they too can have some real money in their pockets for a change.

The loquacious Asare Otchere-Darko quotes his Washington-based like-minded friend Baffour Ennin, thus: “A small minority within our academic clerisy is notorious for propounding unworkable and unsustainable political and economic models purportedly to advance and protect the interests of Ghana’s hoi polloi…”

Perhaps it ought to be pointed out to the Baffour Ennins, and the Asare Otchere-Darkos, that their use of the phrase “Ghana’s hoi polloi” to describe ordinary Ghanaians, is a Freudian slip that shows their contempt for ordinary people.

It is the same contempt that Dr. J. B. Danquah (after whom they have named their centre for blindly copying discarded right-wing ideas from the Anglo-Saxon world), who admired the elitist English philosopher, Edmund Burke, also had for ordinary Ghanaians.

As we all know, Danquah was an Akan tribal-supremacist, a quisling, and a stooge for Western imperialism and neocolonialism – who was on the pay-roll of the CIA: because he worked very hard to further their interests in our country.

One certainly hopes that the Danquah Institute was not set up to be a hotbed for the indoctrination of the next generation of quislings and stooges for neocolonialism in Nkrumah’s Ghana.

As to the charge that progressives are apparently impractical, well, perhaps they do not know it, but as far back as the 1990’s some of us were advocating for the debt relief that gave their regime the space to grow our economy – when they neither had the nous nor the imagination to do so.

Some of us have also been suggesting for years that personal income tax ought to be abolished in our country, and that we ought to set corporate tax at a maximum rate of 10 per cent – because we understand that lessening the tax-burden on companies and individuals serves as an incentive for the creation of wealth in nations.

There is nothing “unworkable and unsustainable” about that, is there, dear reader? And will it not achieve the same objective that those who floated the daft and dangerous idea of making Ghana an offshore banking centre had in mind?

Yet another radical wealth-creation idea from this particular progressive, is that rather than doling out zillions of taxpayers’ money to pamper our corrupt political elite, in, and out of office, we should think instead of getting the Ghanaian nation-state to ask the Bank of Ghana to create real wealth (like many capitalist nations have been busy doing lately!), by giving every adult farmer in rural Ghana GHc 20,000 as a bonus payment for feeding our nation over the years.

That will be their equivalent of the ex-gratia packages we pay to politicians for messing up our country. Surely, it is far better to distribute some of our future oil and natural gas revenues that way – than to allow it to end up in the offshore bank accounts of our kleptocratic elite?

The Left in Ghana simply wants to ensure that the greedy ambitions of a powerful few (to paraphrase the great Nkrumah) do not determine the destiny of our nation.

They want the resources of our country to be used to create Africa’s equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia – so that the cheeky beneficiaries of inherited privilege will not have the effrontery to refer to ordinary people as “hoi polloi” and attempt to revive the power of the pre-colonial Akan feudal kingdoms by stealth, when they succeed in tricking their way to power in our country.

Finally, let us remind them that Nkrumah - who they accuse of “propounding unworkable and unsustainable political and economic models”- whom some of us are disciples of, always believed in a mixed economy – and they can read his letter of February 26th, 1965, to U.S. President Johnson, to see evidence of that (pages 22 and 23 of “The Great Deception” published by the Socialist Forum of Ghana).

One also hopes that it hasn’t escaped the Asare Otchere-Darkos, and the Washington-based Baffuor Ennins, that now that they have their backs to the wall, the wealthy capitalist nations of the West have not hesitated in using the power of the nation-state to save their own nations from collapsing, as market capitalism of the poorly-regulated kind, momentarily fails them.

The Ghanaian right must think more creatively if it wants to be successful in the long-term – not recycle “unworkable and unsustainable” right-wing ideas now abandoned in even the bastions of capitalism such as the U.S. and the UK.

Saturday, 4 April 2009


For Ghanaian environmentalists concerned about the future of the Atewa Range rain forest, these are very trying times indeed. That important rain forest is under severe threat – as it is being steadily degraded by illegal loggers and the area sees a resurgence of small scale surface gold mining. I was lucky to get my hands on a document produced by Conservation International, which gives me some hope that if the Atewa Range rain forest can be secured, a whole new “green economy” could be developed there, which will improve the quality of life of the rural dwellers in that area, dramatically.

A team from Conservation International conducted a rapid biological assessment of the Atewa Range forest reserve between the 6th and the 24th of June, 2006. According to bulletin 47 of the Bulletin of Biological Assessment (BBI), in which the results of the survey were published, the Conservation International team’s work confirmed the vital role the Atewa Range rain forest plays, in the preservation of Ghana’s biodiversity.

I will enumerate some of the findings of the BBI report below – and hope that it will help illustrate the vital need for us to preserve the biodiversity of the Atewa range rain forest, at a time of global climate change. Many members of my family have been environmental activists since the early 1900’s from the British colonial era – long before it became fashionable. We have farmed in Akim Abuakwa Juaso, a fringe forest community in the foothills of the Atewa Range, since 1921.

Being familiar with the rich biodiversity of the area, I was not surprised in the least, by the contents of the BBI’s report. I was pleased to learn, for example, that in 1999 the Government of Ghana was sufficiently aware of the significance of the area, to declare it a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA). That same document also stated, amongst other things, that: “Based on avian diversity it was designated a globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International in 2001.”

Unfortunately, the situation in that part of the Atewa Range rain forest, which Akim Abuakwa Juaso borders, has now reached a point where those of us who actually care enough about our nation’s natural heritage (and are prepared to even risk our lives to protect the Atewa Range rain forest if need be), have to put niceties aside – and speak out boldly against those who are failing to act to halt the degradation of that important biodiversity hotspot.

I have often been saddened by the seeming lack of commitment (in terms of actually acting to ensure the protection of the Atewa Range rain forest by instituting practical measures on the ground – as opposed to merely seeking publicity and paying lip service to conservation just to win Brownie points) on the part of the traditional authorities of Akim Abuakwa: who seem powerless to stop the activities of the criminal syndicates that are degrading that important rain forest. The progressive ones amongst the area’s traditional leadership must not allow themselves to be paralyzed by the straightjacket that the calcified mindsets of the ultra-conservative philistines in their midst represents.

No Ghanaian who cares about this country’s natural heritage, can fail to appreciate the fact that at a time of global climate change, and with a fast-growing population that is currently a little over some 22 millions, we ought to be farsighted enough, to act quickly to protect an area that contains the headwaters of the three major river systems on which many Ghanaians depend for their drinking water supply. It was the foresight of the Gold Coast government that secured our rain forests – on which our increasingly urbanized society has depended since we gained our independence.

We ought to follow the example of the British colonial regime, which, even when our population was less than four million, had the foresight to act to protect this important source of our nation’s drinking water supply. According to the BBI: “As far back as 1926, when it was designated a forest reserve by the Government of Ghana, Atewa was recognized as critically important in maintaining important watersheds upon which many Ghanaians (and Ghanaian biodiversity) depend.” With an ever-increasing population, and at a time when weather patterns are changing and there is less overall precipitation, the Atewa Range rain forest’s role is even more crucial for our collective well-being.

So concerned was I, that I had to dash to Akim Abuakwa Juaso a few days ago, when I was informed that a small-scale mining company, Solar Mining, had extended the area previously mined by Kibi Goldfields in Samang, to Akim Abuakwa Juaso – where it had apparently been buying up farmland to mine gold: and more or less operating under an arrangement that gave one the impression it was leveraging the permit of Kibi Goldfields as legal cover. My heart sunk when I saw the damage to the natural environment in an area of the village where a variety of crops once grew in abundance. It also turns out that the company is apparently allowed to mine a fifty-kilometer stretch in the Atewa Range rain forest – if what I am told by a source is true (and I have no reason to doubt my source).

It is all so pointless, especially as the area has such huge potential, as a world-class eco-tourism destination. Yet, when one sometimes hears some of the educated elite of Akim Abuakwa, one wonders if their ignorance is such that they are even completely unaware of the danger global climate change poses to our nation’s fragile ecology. Some of those philistines go on and on about mining bauxite – in a rain forest that contains billions of dollars of yet-to-be-discovered medicinal plants: and which could provide sustainable income for generations of Ghanaians. Talk by surface gold miners of ecological restoration after their operations, is just that – talk. Rain forests take thousands of years to come into being – not a few years.

It is their fixation with the idiotic integrated aluminum industry idea, which makes those highly-educated imbeciles tolerate the degradation of this important biodiversity hotspot. Yet, Ghana will never be able to compete with the efficient aluminum producers who have the competitive advantage of a cheap energy source – such as Alcoa’s spanking new aluminum smelter in Iceland: which uses cheap energy from the underground hot springs for which Iceland is so famous. That source of energy costs Alcoa as little as the price that VALCO used to get its electricity for, from the Akosombo hydro-power plant in 1965! Why risk our long-term survival as a people for such a transient benefit?

Promoting sustainable development ideas, such as the development of community-based eco-tourism, will secure the future of those poor rural people who depend on the Atewa Range rain forest for their survival. There are many who believe that it was sound thinking on the part of the Ghana tourist Board (GTB), which is the implementing body for the government’s tourism policy, to elect to focus on community-based eco-tourism (CBE), to grow Ghana’s tourism industry. Forest communities such as Adjeikrom, Tafi Atome, and Boabeng Fiema, which have become thriving community-based eco-tourism destinations, now view the preservation of their rain forests as vital to their continued prosperity.

Many of Ghana’s environmentalists also applaud the use of community-based eco-tourism by a number of conservation organisations, such as: the Nature Conservation and Research Centre (NCRC); the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS); and Conservation International (CI); as a tool for conservation. Perhaps many of those individuals will find comfort in the words of the page from the BBI that I have been quoting from in this piece – which also states that: “Atewa has previously been recognized as the single most important site for butterflies (Larsen 2006).”

That section of the document also goes on to say in the very next paragraph: “The 1999 West African Priority Setting Workshop organized by Conservation International identified Atewa as an area of Very High priority for biodiversity conservation (Backer et all, 2001). ” Is that not music to the ears of butterfly-lovers worldwide – and would some of them not be happy to travel to Ghana to see this gem of Mother Nature?

Perhaps volunteer placement organisations in Ghana, such as the industry leader and pioneer, Student and Youth Travel Organisation (SYTO), could add visits by their foreign volunteers to observe the Akim Abuakwa Juaso operations of surface gold miners, and follow that with a tour of the large and pristine private forest reserve of the P.E. Thompson family, in their volunteer orientation programme.

The last bullet point in that section of the BBI that I have been quoting thus far, says: “Conservation International and partners have been designating Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA), which are sites of global significance for biodiversity conservation that are large enough or sufficiently interconnected to support viable populations of species and irreplaceable and are defined by the presence of threatened species (Eken et al 2004). While KBA’s have yet to be formally designated in Ghana, Atewa will undoubtedly qualify as a KBA when they are determined.” Is that not marvelous news for the world’s nature lovers, dear reader?

Surely, as a people, we cannot allow the greed for money, and shortsightedness of a few individuals, to destroy such a vital part of our nation’s natural heritage – which could provide sustenance for this and future generations of Ghanaians till the very end of time? We must all act to ensure that those who are determined to enrich themselves at the expense of society, and in a manner that endangers our very survival as a people, are not allowed to succeed in their aim. Ideally, it would help if the leases of small scale miners such as Solar Mining could be bought out – by leveraging the international carbon offset market. Perhaps organisations like the Rain Forest Alliance and Conservation International could think in that direction.

Solar Mining, which is owned by some very intelligent and dynamic gentlemen, could even profit from the green economy itself. It now owns the Osino site of Daewoo, the road construction company. The buildings there could be easily converted into chalets and with the appropriate landscaping and addition of a restaurant and conference centre, could be developed into a world-class eco-facility for tourists visiting the many tourist attractions in that naturally well-endowed area of the Eastern Region.

Above all, the traditional authorities in Akim Abuakwa must sit up – and act to stop the wanton destruction of the Atewa Range rain forest. They cannot continue telling the world that they are keen environmentalists – when they give some of us the impression that they have been forced to close their eyes (by the ultra-conservatives in their midst), to the activities of illegal loggers and to the operations of surface gold mining companies in the area.

If the dedicated conservationists amongst them continue to allow themselves to be boxed- in by their ultra-conservative peers, and look on helplessly as the gang-rape of the Atewa Range rain forest continues, they will rapidly lose their reputation as environmentalists – as word of the uncontrolled activities of illegal loggers and small-scale gold miners in the Atewa Range spreads online on the internet. If they fail to act before it is too late, they risk being condemned by posterity as dreadful hypocrites – who let down humankind terribly, when they had the opportunity to make a difference: but allowed such a treasure-trove of nature to disappear because of their negligence. A word to the wise…

Post Script: Readers wishing to sign a petition to save the Atewa Range rain forest can click (or alternatively copy and paste unto their URL) unto: