The bravery and selflessness of those nationalists will doubtless be remembered by human rights activists, who fight for social justice in every generation of Ghanaians, till the very end of time. The question is: How can we, as a people, ensure that we never again allow the creation of the conditions, which enable the demagogues who are forever lurking in the shadows, and biding their time, to overthrow democratically-elected constitutional regimes in our country (and hold on to that power), to strike again in our homeland Ghana – and rob us of our freedoms by force of arms whiles claiming that they have come to end corruption: but invariably end up eventually enslaving us, and enriching themselves, by stealth, at the same time, in the process? Clearly, we cannot possibly countenance a return of those days of infamy, when that most tyrannical of military regimes, the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), succeeded in creating such fear amongst Ghanaians, that ordinary people sought safety sheltering in a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, say-no-evil personal philosophy: to ensure their basic survival and preserve their sanity. That was what led to the phenomenon that became known as the “culture of silence” in which no one dared speak out against the tyrants into whose ruthless and murderous hands Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana had fallen. Today, although a majority of Ghanaians have come to understand clearly that democracy is not a perfect form of government, because it is ponderous, slow, and often contentious, they are also smart enough to realise that it is far better than any other system of government known to humankind: and are determined to stick to it, so that every four years, they can have the opportunity to decide for themselves, whether or not to remove their current leaders from office, depending on their verdict as to the effectiveness and quality of leadership, shown by those leaders, during their tenure.
Luckily for the Ghanaian polity, even little primary school children have today come to the conclusion, that since men (and women) are not angels, it is in the interest of the ordinary people of Ghana, that their country has a system of government, which has checks and balances built in it, to prevent Ghanaians ending up with rulers who wield unfettered power: that enables them to eventually enslave the citizenry. It is often said that democracy does not thrive in conditions of extreme poverty. That is an apposite statement – that makes it clear, that it therefore follows, a priori, that if the quality of life and the living standards of ordinary people in our country, continue to deteriorate in inverse proportion to the stratospheric rise in the personal net worth of our ruling elite, the members of their family clans, and their cronies, Ghanaian democracy will definitely not survive for very long. Looking around the world today, one can safely conclude that the people of Scandinavia live in the most equitable and prosperous of societies on the surface of the planet Earth – and that if we are to protect Ghanaian democracy from its most powerful enemies (amongst whom are the narrow-minded tribal-supremacist progeny of the pre-colonial feudal era ruling elites in our midst – who exist in all the ten regions of our country: and see its Balkanization as being in their long-term interest: and therefore fan tribalism in our country by engaging in Kokofu-football politricks whenever in power), then we must transform our society into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia. To do so, we must make smarter choices in the way we deploy the power and resources of the Ghanaian nation-state. Our leaders must be as creative and as visionary as Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was – and use the power of the Ghanaian nation-state appropriately: so as to create a caring and sharing society, in which every citizen has the opportunity to realise his or her full potential, and lead happy and fulfilled lives, no matter their place in the various strata of society.
Whiles we all agree that our country needs to have a mixed economy, with a flourishing and vibrant private sector, we must nonetheless stop our unthinking and often knee-jerk resort, to handing over to foreigners and their local collaborators (those confounded quislings in our country) valuable state assets, which have been built at great cost: with the blood, sweat, and tears, of Ghanaian workers. Instead of selling state-owned commercial entities at the behest of self-seeking foreign ‘do-gooders’ and carpetbaggers, let us simply restructure them to make them more effective and profitable entities, and make them play strategic roles in our national economy, to enable us achieve certain social-good objectives: to improve the quality of life of all Ghanaians. Take the case of Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), for example. Why do we simply not restructure it – by merging it with the National Investment Bank (NIB) and Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), and give a 20 per cent shareholding of the enlarged bank to a trust fund for its staff and management, with the government holding on to a 40 per cent stake, so that some of the profits will go to the government’s consolidated fund? After the restructuring takes place, there is no earthly reason why we cannot approach what many, who know about such things, regard as one of the world’s best-run and most profitable banks, which is also underpinned by the highest of ethical standards, currently existing in global banking – the Hong-Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC), led by that paragon of virtue, Steven Green, and invite it to become a joint-venture partner, for the newly-enlarged state-owned banking group. Surely, we can take advantage of the present economic crisis, and seize the opportunity to restructure the essential nature of our oil and natural gas industries too, can we not, dear reader (in a world in which everyone agrees and understands that the old economic rules no longer apply and in which we have seen even the government of the world’s leading capitalist nation, the United States of America, amongst other such nations, now owning major stakes in private American financial institutions and in automobile manufacturing firms such as General Motors: after bailing them out financially in what amount to partial-nationalizations)?
Let us revive useful defunct entities such as the Workers Brigade and the State Farms using the same principle – and invite
Let them take a long-term view of things, and lower their expectations too – as the days of foreigners ripping off Mother Ghana successfully are gone forever. We will never again elect any stooges for neocolonialism and corrupt lackeys of Western commercial interests (such as the previous regime that was dominated by the most self-seeking and corrupt leaders ever elected into office in our nation’s chequered history), to power in this country again any time soon – so they had better pay heed to good advice and not “play hard-ball” (as some Americans are wont to say in such circumstances). Since
Again, that formula can also be used to revive the State Construction Corporation (SCC) and merge it with the State Housing Company Limited (SHCL), and seek the best-resourced Chinese state-owned road construction and house-building companies, which are world-class and class-leading in their sectors to become joint-venture partners – and build better-quality roads nationwide, build and operate a world-class canal from Akosombo to the border with Burkina Faso to transport goods cheaply and safely by barges, as well as five hundred thousand affordable houses and flats in each of the ten regions of Ghana, to rent out to ordinary Ghanaians at reasonable rental rates. We can also revive our sugar factories; extend the railway network to all the ten regional capitals; build domestic flight airports at every regional capital: and let the Ghana Air Force own and run them efficiently to make money for itself; set up a gold refinery; revive the jute bag factory; develop an integrated salt industry; revive the State Fishing Corporation; etc. etc. that way too. All that can be paid for with our sovereign bonds issued to
That is the historic opportunity Providence has given to President Mills – and he will not achieve it if he allows those who still refuse to come out of the shadow of conventional economic thinking, when even the capitalist nations of the West are doing so to ensure the survival of their national economies, to block us from breaking out of the terrible trap of under-achievement that we are caught in: because we refuse to believe in ourselves and to think creatively. Above all, he must send the minister of defence and our military’s leaders to Egypt immediately to study how the Egyptian military is playing a crucial role in the Egyptian economy – so as to prepare the Ghana Navy and the Ghana Air Force to play crucial roles in our oil and natural gas industries, and enable them to earn some decent money to help fund some of their operations (and be less of a burden on taxpayers). We must make the Ghana Navy the sole transporters of all oil produced in
We must also provide the Ghana Air Force with the best military transport helicopters in the world, and in sufficient numbers, to give them the capability to monopolize (by law) effectively the job of ferrying men and equipment to all the offshore oil production rigs operating in the waters in our continental shelf, at prevailing international industry commercial rates for such services. That will also enable us to effectively monitor activities on those rigs and get an accurate picture of production figures, on a daily basis. Finally, if the government also gets the Ghana Air Force to start a new national flag carrier (that will operate as a civilian carrier with all the appropriate insurance cover, licenses, international certification, etc. etc.), we can then invite that dynamic low-cost carrier, EasyJet, to partner it in a 50/50 joint-venture – to make it the most profitable airline in Africa: that will fly all the now-defunct Ghana Airways’ old routes and more: after the government has liquidated that airline equivalent of a Dodo, Ghana International Airlines (GIA). One hopes that President Mills will emulate the brilliant and dynamic Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and take such visionary ideas on board – to enable us transform Ghanaian society into a caring and sharing one: as far removed, as it is humanly possible to do so, from that dreadful culture of dog-eat-dog selfishness, which his selfish, greedy, and hypocritical predecessor introduced into our social fabric. He must seize the opportunity that Providence has given him, to be included in the Pantheon of great African leaders in the Nkrumah-mould, and change our country for the better – and leave a legacy that will make future generations of Ghanaians remember him till the very end of time. He must be bold and believe that he can lead us to achieve what many think is an impossibility – the transformation of our homeland Ghana into Africa’s equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia: for, indeed, he truly can, and should. A word to the wise…
Telephone (powered by Tigo – the network that actually works!): + 233 (0)27 745 3109 & + 233 (0) 21 976238.