Saturday, 31 October 2009

AN OLD MAN'S REFLECTIONS!

I had always been under the misguided impression, that somehow, I had succeeded in developing my mind to a level, which was sufficient to give me a high pain threshold. However, when I was laid low by a bout of illness recently, it quickly became clear to me that one can never really become inured to pain, as long as one is a conscious being – and that at some point, one will doubtless feel some pain, whiles alive. Faced with evidence of my own mortality, during my illness, I spent some time reflecting on my life thus far – and vowed to spend the rest of my life, concentrating on doing all I can, to ensure that a planned forest canopy footbridge (similar to the one in the Kakum National Park), is eventually built in the Akim Abuakwa Juaso section, of the Atiwa Range upland evergreen rain forest.


The idea is to use the forest canopy footbridge, as the centerpiece, of a community-based eco-tourism project, which will enable the village of Akim Abuakwa Juaso , to become a leading community-based eco-tourism destination – and at a time of global climate change, help us conserve the P. E. Thompson Nature Resource Reserve (PETNRR) for posterity. When the project comes into fruition, it will be a fine example of a win-win private-public-partnership (PPP) between a local fringe-forest community, and the owners of a large and pristine privately-owned rain forest, which is part of an area of outstanding natural beauty, which has been designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA).


I came to the conclusion, in one of the periods of introspection I had during my illness, that that kind of “green” project was precisely what I want to be remembered for, when I finally die. In a nation full of hard-of-hearing politicians, who are avid adherents of the “Cult-of-the-mediocre,” why waste one’s energies thinking up creative ideas, as one’s contribution to nation-building, when they will only fall on the deaf ears of our ruling elite, dear reader? I have simply had enough of Ghana’s Byzantine political world. I am sick and tired of a political class that seems impervious to reason – and appears bent on pursing its own hidden agenda: the handing over, for self-serving reasons, of the bulk of the wealth of our nation to foreigners and their greedy local lackeys.


Whiles the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah believed that it was possible for us to build a caring-and-sharing society, in which all Ghanaians could lead decent lives, in a modern African nation that gave them access to good quality and affordable housing (provided naturally by the Ghanaian nation-state), as well as provided them ample opportunities for meaningful employment; free education, and health care, his puny successors continuously toy with the lives of ordinary Ghanaians – as they compete amongst themselves for the opportunity to serve in regimes, whose sole purpose, appear to be the wholesale transfer of the wealth of our nation, to perfidious foreigners.


I have simply had enough – and will henceforth concentrate on my environmental activism. The last straw for me, was listening to the lamentations of an erstwhile acting chief internal auditor of the defunct omnibus services authority (OSA), now retired, who revealed, during an interview with Adakabre Frimpong-Manso, broadcast recently by Hot FM, that some cynical big-shot, determined to profit from his position in society, once posed this question, to a fellow politician (which I will paraphrase) : Enti yerbetor Leyaland bus yiaa erhu eyedini sei, na debani yator fofro, ebiom? (Its English translation fom the Twi language: When will we ever have the opportunity to profit from buying a new fleet of buses for the omnibus services authority, if the government of Ghana were to decide to purchase those well-built and durable Leyland buses: which take forever to wear out, before having to be replaced? ). The question I ask, dear reader, is: Just where will that kind of dishonest, selfish, and self-seeking leadership take our country? Hmmm, Ghana, eyeasem oo – asem ebeba debi ankasa!


Tel (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109 & the not-so-hot and clueless Vodafone wireless smartphone: + 233 (0)21 976238.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Re: “Deception at TOR”

In response to Livingstone Pay Charlie of The Insight’s article entitled “Deception At TOR” that appeared in the Saturday , 10th October 2009, general news web-page of www.ghanaweb.com, may I humbly point it out to him that the rot at TOR is a veritable case-study example of how not to run an emerging economy with aspirations? 

It is an egregious example of Kufuor's crony-capitalism: the result of an economic policy that was our local version of the ruthless Robber Baron capitalism of late 19th and early 20th century American capitalism!

Massa, Kufuor & Co came to power with one big-idea agenda in mind, which they skillfully hid from all of us: the ruthless use of political power to enable them exploit our national economy for themselves; their family clans; and their cronies.

What happened at TOR is a classic example of the socialization of private risk, which was so rampant during Kufour & Co's golden age of business – in which the Ghanaian nation-state and state-owned entities were made to bear the risk, in transaction after transaction: so that well-connected oligarchs of that era could regularly make vast profits at the expense of Ghana's hapless taxpayers.

It was in the nature of the beast, that under such a kleptocratic system, the offspring of our rulers, using insider-knowledge, could set up countless special purpose vehicles (some offshore), to use to obtain contracts from state entities.

In one such infamous case, the Energy Commission gave a contract (for the supply of electricity meters to the Electricity Company of Ghana, ECG), to one of the princes of the crafty and greedy Kufuor's golden age of business: a son of the serving president of Ghana, no less.

That well-connected gentleman made a cool US$2 million profit – in what clearly amounted to a case of profiteering! Massa, TOR was simply seen as a means of creating regime-crony tycoons, from whom kickbacks could be obtained on a regular basis – by letting them obtain endless credit at no risk to themselves: because TOR  was made to bear the risk (sanctioned by the arrogant "I-am-the-monkey-in-the-chair” rogue, appointed as managing director, for the purpose), harming and endangering the very existence of the state-owned Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB): which it was leveraged to gargantuan levels, in the process.

Naturally, all that massive debt was counted as part of Ghana's GDP by the greedy rogues into whose incompetent hands our country had fallen – which is why we had the Kweku-Ananse smoke-and-mirrors booming economy, which did not deliver a good quality of life (and decent living standards!), for the vast majority of Ghanaians, but enabled the few powerful crooks in the Kufuor regime and their regime-crony capitalists to send their individual net-worth into the stratosphere.

That is why we had the amazing situation in which whiles ordinary people were being impoverished by the looting of our national treasury, some of their leaders had the effrontery to insult Ghanaians (on top of their many woes): by labeling a hardworking people - who did not have the opportunities the truly-lazy people in power had - as"lazy" people.

Even the Hypocrite-in-Chief himself had the temerity to sing that monstrous and discordant tune-of-contempt for ordinary people: on top of his booming voice too. Hmm, Ghana- eyeasem o!

So, today, dear reader, we have arrived at the sad situation in which, like a clever and desperate con-man fully aware that his many awful secrets are about to be exposed, Crook-Number-One is lobbying furiously to get as many grand-sounding but useless international appointments as it is possible for him to dupe innocents abroad into giving him.

The idea is to continue impressing the many gullible Ghanaians he relies on to protect him now - those brain-dead “My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong” myrmidon-types, whose endless praise-singing, funds were procured from “National Security” and paid to regularly: to keep in fine fettle for their endless serial-calling in the electronic media!

Incredibly, those poor souls actually believe that Kufuor came to save our homand Ghana just because they got a few crumbs thrown their way  -  whiles Mother Ghana was being brutally gang-raped by the perfidious Kufuor and his many partners-in-crime.

Sadly, today, many discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians insist that he is the most dishonest leader ever elected to lead our nation thus far, in its entire post-independence history. Pity.

Yet, he had a historic opportunity to set high standards of morality in our public life when he first came to power. Hmm Ghana, eyeasem o - esem kesie ebaba debi ankasa!

Tel: (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works) + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.

GHANA MUST SET UP A NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE COMMISSION!

The frustrations we have had to endure, in my family's attempt to have a forest canopy footbridge (similar to the one at the Kakum National Park) built in our largely-pristine private forestland, in the Akim Abuakwa Juaso section of the Atiwa Range upland evergreen rain forest, has been a real eye-opener, for me. It has shown me just how important it is to have a national climate change commission set up, as soon as it is practicable to do so, to coordinate the work of the various organs of state that are involved in our national effort to fight the negative effects of global climate change. There is no doubt that a majority of the public officials whose organizations deal with climate change issues, are very knowledgeable about the subject – and are aware of the danger climate change poses to the long-term well-being and survival of our country and all the people who live in Ghana.



If such a national climate change commission existed, I doubt very much that the massive illegal logging that goes on in what is left of our nation’s forest cover, would be allowed to continue, at a time of global climate change. Sadly, as we speak, officials of the Forestry Service of the Forestry Commission, appear to be completely unaware of the rampant illegal logging going on in the Akim Abuakwa Juaso section of the Atiwa Range upland evergreen rain forest. If that outrage is not checked immediately, the result will be that that important rain forest, will soon be denuded of trees – in what has been designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA). Yet, the Atiwa Range evergreen upland rain forest contains the headwaters of the three major river systems on which pretty much of urban Ghana depends on for its drinking water supply – and heaven knows how many trillions of dollars worth of yet-to-be-discovered medicinal plants. There are times when one gets the distinct impression that for most of the officials of the Forestry Service of the Forestry Commission, working in that organization is just a nine-to-five job, from which they simply earn their living. There appears to be scant passion in the institutional culture of that vital state organization, for environmental activism – and even less so amongst most of its well-educated staff, for the very important work they are paid to do for our nation and its people.



It is for that reason that most of the members of my family who are passionate environmental activists have restricted our dealings with them, as we strive to use community-based eco-tourism, as a tool for the conservation of our Akim Abuakwa property: so as to secure the long-term future of our privately-owned freehold forestland, for the next generation of our family (and that of the inhabitants of Akim Abuakwa Juaso – with whom our destines are forever intertwined! ), and have opted to deal mainly instead with reputable NGO’s, such as the World Wildlife Fund for Nature – Ghana (WWF - Ghana), Ghana and the Rain Forest Alliance – Ghana. Both organizations have not hesitated in giving us advice and expert guidance, whenever we have approached them for assistance: although they have not budgeted for such advice, and we have not offered those who work for them any cash-inducements. Indeed, there was even an occasion when Dr. Kwame Adam of the WWF – Ghana, agreed to come and inspect our forestland, on his way back to Accra from a working trip to Kumasi: on a Saturday! Rain Forest Alliance – Ghana, has actually recommended a young forester to us to work with on a formal basis: so that we can have in-house expertise available to us round the clock.



In an era of global climate change, speaking as someone at the sharp end, whose family owns a significant part of the landmass of rural Ghana, in an area that lies in the Atiwa Range upland evergreen rain forest, I humbly suggest to the government of President Mills, that it must, as a matter of urgency, set up a national commission on climate change, to coordinate our national effort at fighting its negative impact on our homeland Ghana, and on Ghanaian ciitizens and other nationals resident here. Such a body will make it possible for our nation’s crop of brilliant research scientists, who are employed by all the critical state research institutions, whose work has a bearing on the subject, to offer our leaders unbiased scientific advice, which will guide the government of Ghana, in taking the necessary climate-change mitigation measures that will ensure the well-being of our country and its people: as the planet Earth continues to warm up, as a result of the high and dangerous emission-levels of greenhouse gases, that continues to be released into the atmosphere by humankind. A word to the wise…



Tel (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

David Cameron: Give British Aid To Reputable NGO’S, Not To African Governments!



Years ago, I remember laughing heartily, when I learnt of The Jam’s Paul Weller’s contemptuous reply, when he heard that his group’s song “Eton Rifles” was one of British Tory Leader David Cameron’s favourite tunes: "Is he thick? He probably thinks 'Eton Rifles' is a song about him and his mates." 

That was years ago. Today, it does appear that David Cameron might eventually become Britain’s next prime minister – if the opinion polls in the UK media are to be believed. Amongst the many things he has said the Tories will do, when they form the next government, is that they will cut British aid to Russia and China – and give more to poor developing nations.

Although I might risk being called presumptuous (not that I care particularly: having become inured to insults for my bluntness – in a nation full of fence-sitting moral cowards!), I certainly do hope that the well-heeled Mr. Cameron will demand, when his party comes to power, that UK companies investing in Africa are underpinned by the same corporate good governance principles expected of them in the UK.

Above all, he must never do what Prime Minister Gordon Brown did – when he dragged our president to London to plead on behalf of the perfidious Vodafone. That company corrupted some of our leaders when it took over the state-owned Ghana Telecom – acting in much the same crooked fashion it did when it took over the state-owned Kenya Telecom: and corrupted some of Kenya’s greedy elite in the process.

Perhaps the Tories should ask the UK’s secret services (MI6) to take a close look at the antics of Vodafone’s expatriate staff in Ghana when they win power in the next UK general elections – and when he next speaks at any Institute of Director’s (IOD) meeting as British premier, make them an example of how expatriate staff of UK companies’ investing in Africa ought not to behave, when abroad.

He must plead with corporate Britain that UK companies operating in developing nations, such as Ghana, be mindful of how their expatriate staff are compensated.

He will be horrified to learn that whiles he and other British politicians are expressing their disgust at the obscene compensation levels corporate Britain (particularly the financial services sector!) insists on paying its top brass, Vodafone’s expatriate staff in Ghana, are living like Arabian oil sheiks: at our expense.

He must also not be so naive and say that UK taxpayers are under pressure, and that British aid will only go to poor developing nations. Does he not know that most of the leaders of poor developing nations are clever rogues who invariably set up special purpose offshore vehicles so as to enable them siphon donated aid money deposited in the treasuries of the nations they lead: in one crooked transaction after another?

OOrdinary Africans across the continent plead with him (and other British politicians!) to make sure that British aid goes to only nations in the continent whose leaders publicly publish their assets and those of their spouses (before and after their tenures!).

Most of Africa’s leaders are simply not to be trusted. That is why  he  ought to make sure that all UK and EU aid for climate change mitigation projects in the forestry sector of the Ghanaian economy, go directly to NGO’s such as Rain Forest Alliance, i Ghana and the World Wildlife for Nature - Ghana (WWF- Ghana), and not to the Forestry Service of the Forestry Commission of Ghana.

.'He can ask the German development organization, GTZ, to give him their dossier on that sector of our national economy.

To understand why I say so, I plead with him to send MI6 officers to the Ghanaian village of Akyem Juaso, in Ghana’s Eastern Region – straight to the P. E. Thompson family’s 14 square mile property in the Atiwa Range upland evergreen rain forest (both inside the official government reserve and the heavily-forested off-reserve  slopes).

There, they will see the horrific sight of illegal chainsaw lumber being carted away in frightening quantities, on the heads of scores of porters, and at a rate that will soon decimate what has been designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA) at a time of global climate change, if nothing is done by the authorities to halt that outrage.

Sadly, the forest there has been left by the Forestry Service of the Forestry Commission of Ghana, to the mercy of criminal syndicates controlled by wealthy, powerful, and well-connected individuals: who do not give a toss about the laws of the Ghanaian nation-state, and do not care one jot about the harm their activities cause to the natural environment or to their fellow human beings.

Finally, to see an egregious example of how British taxpayers’ money went down the financial equivalent of a black hole in Ghana, let him ask the Ghanaian authorities, to get the Department of Parks and Gardens, to show the MI6 officers he sends here, the results of the zillions of pounds sterling that was poured into a medicinal plants project (which the Royal Botanic Gardens and Ghana’s Department of Parks and Gardens collaborated to implement in the 1990’s).

It is a classic example of how not to use hard-pressed British taxpayers’ money, overseas, in poor developing nations worldwide.

And will he also get the UK, the EU, the U.S., and other wealthy developed nations, to make sure that no tax haven accepts money from African leaders and their families, under any circumstances?

That is one of the most effect ways of halting corruption in the continent - and making sure that British aid money does not end up in offshore bank accounts of the crooks amongst those who rule Africa.

Tel: (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.


Monday, 5 October 2009

ECOWAS: HOLD THE GUINEAN LEADER RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE COLD-BLOODED MURDERS – & NEVER CLOSE YOUR EYES TO HIS REGIME'S CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY!

Recently, we witnessed one of the most abominable acts of brutality, yet seen in West Africa, by one of the many blood-thirsty rulers in the region’s long list of such monsters – who emerge suddenly from time to time. During a demonstration by ordinary Guineans, totally fed up with the crazy antics of a bully in uniform, who has usurped power in their country (and is superintending the systematic brutalization of large numbers of Guinea’s citizens), over one hundred and fifty innocent citizens of our sister country were mowed down: victims of trigger-happy troops, drunk with power, who feel they are above the laws of Guinea. Those murdered citizens of Guinea, were doing nothing more than standing up to a man, who seems to forget, that no human being is perfect: and that of necessity, in the 21st century information age, there ought to be limitations placed on the powers of all rulers, worldwide.


The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), particularly Ghana’s leaders, ought to make it absolutely clear to Guinea’s military regime that its actions are unacceptable and cannot go unpunished. Ghana must demand that a full-scale inquiry be conducted by fearless and independent-minded judges selected from Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, into events surrounding those murders – and insist that all those found culpable down the Guinean military’s chain of command, must be indicted for crimes against humanity: and put before a new UN/ECOWAS Special Court for West Africa, which needs to be set up for just such emergencies, as soon as it is practicable to do so.

We must end the impunity of such crazy leaders in our sub-region. As a civilized people, Ghanaians particularly must never tolerate the brutalization of our fellow ECOWAS citizens, under any circumstances. Above all, our leaders must put aside diplomatic niceties whenever ordinary West Africans are being suppressed, maimed, and murdered in droves by any of the rulers in the region, whose ultimate responsibility is to protect and promote the well-being of all those they lead: not murder them for expressing their opposition to tyranny in the 21st century ICT age. Ghana must take the lead – and not leave it to another crafty military dictator successfully masquerading as an elected civilian democratic leader, to mediate in the Guinean crisis. We demand to hear the voices of our leaders, raised to decibel-levels sufficiently loud, for their disgust and disapproval to be heard right across Africa: in expression of their opposition to such barbarities. Ghana ought to lead ECOWAS in the condemnation of such atrocities. A word to the wise…



Tel (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0)21 745 3109 & the not-so-hot and clueless Vodafone wireless smartphone: + 233 (0) 21 976238.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Re: “We Just Celebrated A Falsehood.”



I read the article written by Mr. Atta Akyea with the title above, in one of last week's editions of the fiercely pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) Ghanaian newspaper, The Daily Guide, with considerable interest and mirth. 

Perhaps there are those who will say that Mr. Atta Akyea was being pedantic. In any case, in celebrating the centenary of the birth of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, we were not applauding the fact that he had been born on a particular day. 

The good people of Ghana, actually celebrated the life and work, of the Osagyfo, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah – who always admitted publicly (in his writing) that he did not know the exact day he was born. 

Well, as we are in the realm of pedantry, may I ask, if it has ever occurred to the erudite Mr. Atta Akyea, that in a very real sense, we none of us know exactly how old we are – if we assume that humans ought to calculate their age from the very moment they are conceived? 

Yes, the date of our birth is a useful date (particularly in our dealings with officialdom), but it merely marks the day we exited our mother’s womb, and entered the planet Earth as biologically-independent individuals – over nine long months from the precise moment and date of our conception: an event our parents (whose coming together made possible) were not even aware of!

Coming closer home to himself, since Mr. Atta Akyea is so against falsehood, perhaps he can tell me exactly what he intends to do about a longstanding falsehood that is an unwitting result of his inexplicable silence at the time, when that particularly egregious example of falsehood was published in The Independent newspaper, as a rejoinder to an article of mine, many years ago. 

I raise the matter today, because, as we speak, there is a whispering campaign going on: to the effect that I am a "damager" of people’s reputations – and I gather from a source that one of his loquacious cousins initiated that slanderous campaign against me. 

When I wrote in my column, “Musings of an old man”(which I used to publish in The Independent), that Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co., had lost a case  of mine  that they should never have lost, resulting in me losing part of my inheritance, they sent a rejoinder saying in effect that I was an ungrateful man, who did not pay for their services to me, and was ruining their hard-won reputation. 

Yet, nothing could have been farther from the truth: as I did in fact pay them for representing me in that particular case.

As there is apparently a type of amnesia that afflicts ambitious young lawyers, who believe that they stand the chance of being appointed to ministerial positions, in a government led by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo (one gathers it has a rather longish name: “Doing-a-Nana-Kofi-Coomson-on-an individual-posing-a-threat-to-the-presidential-ambitions-of-Nana-Addo ”), in such matters, I think I must make it absolutely clear to Mr. Atta Akyea that I have a receipt acknowledging payment of one million cedis by me, from Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co. and a principled living witness, who will never lie on anyone's behalf (in the shape of my dear 84 year old mother – who is an old Achimotan: still as sharp and alert mentally, as Atta Akyea himself is!) who actually handed the money over to him, at a meeting in the Avenida Hotel. 

We went back to their legal chambers to collect the receipt from him after that meeting, if he recalls.

I am no Nana Kofi Coomson (who foolishly relied on the goodwill and good nature of ruthless, mercenary, and super-ambitious young blades - liable to suffer amnesia in such situations, to corroborate something so important - with an eye on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become ministers in a government led by a President Akufo-Addo) I'll let him know. 

It so happened that after the said article had come to the notice of Nana Addo, he apparently summoned Kwame Akufo, who was then in his salad days at the  bar. 

According to Kwame Akufo himself (recounted to me, during a shouting-match, when I confronted him years later: to demand the return of documents to do with the case!), Nana Addo asked him to go and see Dr. Prempeh, after he had briefed him.

I am not privy to what exactly he said to Nana Addo and Dr. Prempeh that resulted in that falsehood being sent to The Independent as a rejoinder to my article. 

Suffice it to say, that I was pretty livid when I saw it – and it was only the invocation of the name of my late grandfather, P. E. Thompson Esq., by my mother, who pleaded that I let the matter rest there and not write back to refute that outrage, that I did not challenge it. 

The question is, since he full well knows that I did pay Akufo Addo, Prempeh & Co. for that case – and that he accepted that figure to do the case for me, only after he got Yonney to confront me, upon his return from London, and hear it straight from me: that I felt that he had taken advantage of me when he registered four companies for me and charged me a total of one thousand pounds sterling – will he still maintain his silence?

Yonney had made the fatal mistake of asking me to collect the certificates of incorporation and commencement of business, from the Registrar General’s Department myself, before leaving for London: as they were not going to be ready for collection by the time of his departure. 

That was where I was told I had been grossly overcharged by him, and could have got the four companies registered for a fraction of the sum he had charged me. 

Naturally, feeling hard done by, I was certainly not in the mood to pay any more money to Akufo Addo, Prempeh & Co., simply because he (Atta Akyea) had inexplicably dumped the case in the lap of his inexperienced junior, without any explanation to us, his clients. 

I will be charitable and say that perhaps he never knew that such a rejoinder containing the falsehood that I had not paid his cousin’s legal chambers for representing me in the matter against my cousin in the court of Mrs. Justice Dodzie, had been issued and published in The Independent, by their legal chambers.

The proverbial zillion-dollar question is: Now that he does know about it, precisely what does he intend to do about it, in order to set the record straight?


Incidentally, if he actually wants to know the real falsehood in our nation's political history, let him read the report of the Watson Commission, set up by Governor Sir Gerald Creasy (led by Aiken Watson KC), after the disturbances that followed the shooting to death by the police, of some of the leaders of the ex-servicemen, who marched to the Christiansburg Castle in an attempt to present a petition to Governor Creasy.

If he dies so, he will discover that far from being heroes, five of the so-called big six, who adorn some of the paper notes of our currency, were indeed just cowards, who sought to blame Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, for all that had occurred: in order to save their own skins.


Hmmm, Ghana – eyeasem oo: asem ebaba debi ankasa!

Tel:(powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!)
: 027 745 3109.









Saturday, 3 October 2009

Why Rural Ghana Will Continue To Remain Poor - If The Zoomlions Get Paid In Advance From The District Assembly Common-Fund!!


Hmmm Ghana - eyease o: asem ebeba debi ankasa! On top of the rather depressing news emanating from the UK of late - about how low some of our ruling elite were prepared to stoop, during the 1990's, as they sacrificed the national interest in fulfillment of their private personal wealth-creation agenda at the Ghanaian nation-state's expense, by accepting even absurdly small sums in hard-currency from the British engineering company, Mabey & Johnson, because of their grasping and greedy natures - the last thing one wanted to read about was the lamentations of a politician stating the obvious, whiles pretending not to know its root causes.

That, dear reader, was the overwhelming feeling of a few friends who had gathered to talk about the need for the Ghanaian Left to take advantage of the renewed interest in Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, amongst young people throughout Ghana, and spread his message of hope countrywide again.

We all felt it was important for the Left to make young people understand why they ought to identify with the party of a man who wanted all who had the ability to study up to tertiary level, to do so, and fulfill their full potential as human beings, even if they came from the poorest families in the smallest hamlets in Ghana.

How many of such people know that Nkrumah's socialism was based on our communal traditions, and that as usual, he was far ahead of his time: in wanting Ghana to have the same mixed-economy model of development, which today, China is using to power ahead of many major nations?

It is a model of economic development that ensures that whiles the public sector works to ensure the delivery of a caring and sharing society (affordable housing; free education and healthcare; agro-industries nationwide, etc. etc.), the country also takes advantage of the creativity and innovation of honest and patriotic private entrepreneurs, who operate within a national plan, designed specifically to make virtually all Chinese citizens live dignified lives, eventually.

It was during the meeting of this group of concerned Nkrumaists worried about Ghana's future, in the hands of a largely-clueless and unimaginative political class, that one of our number mentioned an online Ghana News Agency (GNA) news report, which he had spotted on www.ghanaweb.com. I looked it up later on after our meeting, and found it on the general news web-page of the Saturday, 3 October 2009, edition, of the ubiquitous online Ghanaian internet portal.

It made very interesting reading, and was entitled: "Common Fund deductions suffocating district assemblies". Well, after reading it, I called up the chap who had spotted it, and asked him what he thought the obviously highly-intelligent honourable minister was thinking as he complained about that very intolerable situation that does not auger well for our nation one bit. 

The problem the minister describes in that GNA news report, dear reader, has arisen precisely because that is what what will occur in any developing nation in which such Kweku-Ananse economic policies are pursued: just to benefit a powerful few with greedy ambitions (to paraphrase the far-sighted Nkrumah).

If a supposedly intelligent people like Ghanaians, continue to tolerate what effectively is a gigantic fraud, designed to enable a corrupt regime siphon state funds (for its party's war chest, one gathers: according to a former New Patriotic Party chairperson, Mr. Haruna Esseku) , why should clever politicians, who can bring it to a halt simply by the stroke of a pen, not complain to ordinary people with their sugar-coated and well-trained tongues, firmly in their well-fed cheeks, I ask, dear reader?

The fact of the matter, is that the Zoomlion palaver is not simply one that should be dealt with on the basis that it must be allowed to continue (when we all know that in reality it is an invidious system), because we need to end the vicious cycle and retrograde tactic of political parties (newly returned to power) quickly destroying private businesses, owned by their political opponents: which were set up during the era of a rival party regime that has just lost power after elections.

The bald truth, is that which ever way one looks at it, Zoomlion is a creature of a deliberate policy: dreamed up by apparently-respectable men and women whose egregious actions in this particular instance, in actual fact made them super-white-collar criminals.

The object of that policy, was meant to create for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), its National Democratic Congress (NDC) equivalent, and counterpart, in the lucrative and opaque local government waste-disposal sector of our economy: J. Stanley Owusu & Co. Limited (JSO), which was the undisputed king of the waste disposal business during the era of the first NDC administration led by President Rawlings.

The NPP turned its equivalent of JSO into a nationwide creature, to create jobs for its foot-soldiers, and if Haruna Esseku was telling us the truth, to ensure the continued flow of funds to the party nationwide.

Naturally, as no receipts are ever issued in such murky undertakings between politicians and clever businesspeople (despite what Dr. Kwabena Adjei, the NDC's chairperson apparently thinks!), no one can ever prove that such payments have ever been made - but alas, there is also the little local difficulty of Haruna Esseku's infamous words to deal with (as a complicating factor!), is there not, dear reader?

We all know, dear reader, do we not, just how close the ties between JSO and certain NDC bigwigs were - and only heaven knows why that was so. Suffice it to say, however, that it was certainly not because they loved to meet to have power-breakfast meetings, imbibing Huasa-koko and kako (because it was their favourite traditional African breakfast), as they discussed plans to ensure Ghana's economic well-being. 

The same can be said of Zoomlion's nationwide reach. Any truck-pusher of average intelligence, who buys and sells scrap metal, and has a waste-disposal sideline serving one residential street in urban Ghana, starting out with one Chinese-made rubbish-cart tricycle, can parley his business into a zillion-dollar entity, if he can take the guarantee of regular up-front district assembly common-fund allocation nationwide, to any bank with the ambition to become Ghana's number one bank: and that is the real rub, dear reader.

The key to understanding why a company like Zoomlion can grow so big in an environment like ours, after there is regime-change in Ghana, does not lie in working out the range and breadth of its politically-savvy and extremely well-connected ownership.

It lies with the stated aim, as described by Mr. Haruna Esseku (when he caught a severe bout of verbal diarrhea, during an interview with the brilliant Raymond Archer, years ago), of creating NPP equivalents of prominent NDC crony-capitalists and their thriving business entities: so that they could fund the New Patriotic Party and enable it stay in power for as long as the cash came rolling into the coffers of that party.

The crime against humanity perpetrated against our country by the adoption of such an iniquitous system, is that by earmarking and paying up-front to private entities (such as Zoomlion), a portion of the development funds meant for district assemblies, those vital local administrations  are denied the wherewithal to enable them uplift rural Ghana from the endemic poverty that plagues so much of it and traps and condemns millions of our compatriots to an existence that is incredibly harsh, brutish, and often mercifully short for some, (because of HIV/AIDS).

Yet, if we adopted the developmental model of sustainable livelihood organisations such as the South African organisation, Sustainable Villages Africa (SVA), we can transform rural economies in a relatively short space of time, and with the little available to them from the national cake: if we had a more creative political class (across the spectrum).

The business model of the Zoomlions of our age, are in effect a classic example of the socialization of private risk that saw its apogee in the greed-filled years of crony-capitalism (our equivalent of 19th century America's ruthless Robber-Baron era!) that enabled Kufuor & Co to exploit our national economy for their personal benefit: in the name of "private sector-led growth"

If we continue with such an iniquitous system without reviewing it, and studying its impact on the real economy of rural Ghana, simply because we do not want to repeat the sins of yesteryear, when we all know that (well, according to no less a well-informed personage than Mr. Haruna Esseku) it is simply a clever ruse to dump district administrations in the red financially, by transferring development funds and resources meant to transform the Ghanaian countryside and make that part of our country more productive, to wealthy and influential oligarchs and powerful politicians and their parties, why should we expect our nation to ever become prosperous?

If we allow that injustice to continue, the plain truth is that our districts will never be transformed to enable rural people have better quality lives, as long as such a monstrosity continues.

What is going on is abominable in the extreme - for, whiles the real economy in rural Ghana is strangulated, because of the result of such pure-nonsense-on-bamboo-stilts economic policies, which sanction the transfer of already-insufficient resources from the district assembly common fund, meant to pay for development projects to uplift living standards in our rural areas, to private entities owned by politically well-connected high net worth individuals, the gap between the rural and urban areas continues to widen: literally a social time-bomb ticking away inexorably towards a future disaster of apocalyptic proportions that will create political instability in our country.

We must never forget, if we insist that this iniquity be allowed to continue, that rural Ghana, which is where after all the bulk of the food crops and cash crops that comprise our commodity exports that earn Ghana the hard currency, which enables our largely-parasitic and politically well-connected educated urban elites to live lives comparable to prosperous middle class Westerners (although they often lack the creativity and innovation that keeps Western societies powering way ahead of societies like ours), that poverty will continue to stunt the growth of rural Ghana's economy till kingdom come. 

If that is the case, then surely, dear reader, we run the risk of a social explosion at some point, when the masses finally understand that the so-called "democracy dividend" is only for those who are able to grab huge ex-gratia payments after relatively short periods in office, and their greedy paymasters and collaborators in the private sector?

The burgeoning underclass will explode in anger if the glaring disparities in wealth in our homeland Ghana, that result from such clever schemes, which sanction up-front payments from the district assemblies common-fund persist.

District Assembly common-fund cash must never be paid up-front and used to subsidize the operations of private entities - so that they avoid risk in the provision of goods and services to district assemblies (in what is effectively the socialization of private risk). 

That is the harm advance payments from the district assembly common fund, paid to pre-finance the operations of the Zoomlions, owned by wealthy and powerful individuals, whiles their competitors are owed zillions by those self-same district assemblies that we are deliberately starving of funds, represents.

It is the same way that the Tema Oil Refinery took money from state-owned banks to enable it give credit to oil marketing companies, many of which were set up to create a wealthy class of crony-capitalists who would bankroll political parties and politicians: a criminal scheme that nearly bankrupted a vital national institution in the process.

Surely, that is no way to run a nation that aspires to become an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia, is it, dear reader? Simply put, we must halt the pre-financing of private-sector service providers working with district administrations if we want rural Ghana to become prosperous.

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): +233 (0) 27 745 3109.

Friday, 2 October 2009

WILL PRESIDENT MILLS ALLOW NANA FREMAA BUSIA TO BECOME HIS REGIME’S HORADI OKINE?


The tragedy for Nana Fremaa Busia, is that not only is she a beauty with incredibly sharp brains – she also carries a very famous political name. It makes her a magnet for the outwardly-respectable and philandering-types who litter the upper echelons of our national life. They are invariably men who happen to be powerful individuals in very influential positions. In the civilized parts of the world, such men, whose favourite hobby is the sexual harassment of female subordinates, are an endangered species – as their activities are frowned on by society at large. Indeed, they often end up in jail for the unwelcome attention they pay women. It is instructive that one of the Ghanaian economy’s most lucrative sectors, the women’s lobby industry (peopled mainly by the power-hungry and well-educated middle-class ladies, for whom women’s advocacy is a useful stepping-stone that adds to their already-impressive CV’s), did not lift a finger on her behalf, when the “powerful baboons” of yesteryear, who were sexually harassing her, were running riot during the decadent Kufuor-era.



Their deafening silence was largely due to the fact that those self-same “powerful baboons” were the very ones they were relying on to get them onto the boards of public institutions – the juicy perk-filled golden sinecures so beloved of our educated urban elite. A typical example is the loquacious New Patriotic Party unofficial spokesperson, Ms. Ursula Owusu, who suddenly found her voice the moment we had regime-change, and was vociferous in speaking out on behalf of a fellow woman she felt was being victimized, when Mrs. Robinson, the Acting Inspector General of Police, was passed over for the present incumbent, when a substantive one was appointed and confirmed by the Mills administration. One hopes that now that she is a champion of females who are being unfairly treated by officialdom, she will also speak out on Nana Fremaa Busia’s behalf – and insist that the Mills administration, many of whose members made the unfair treatment of Mr. Hodari Okine, a cause-celebre, does the decent thing: and resolves this unfortunate matter quickly and fairly (something which the philanderers and hypocrites who used to rule us before the present regime assumed power in January 2009, failed so woefully to do!).



The Mills administration must ensure that the Ghanaian nation-state pays Nana Fremaa Busia all that she is entitled to get, for all the years she was never paid by her employers – and resettle her if they are unwilling to work with her. The idea that a regime led by a decent and principled gentleman will continue to hound her and allow the cruelties of those disreputable men who brought her to Ghana, appointed her to a position in our secret services, and then turned against her (and did everything to stop her from doing her work), to stand, is intolerable. Is it not the case that the powerful rogues turned against her, when they realized that she was an honest and principled woman, who was not prepared to close her eyes to their corrupt and criminal ways – and resorted to a regular regime of bullying and intimidation that would have broken many a strong-willed man, let alone delicate, sensitive, and gentle souls like the Nana Fremaa Busias of our world? To cap their wicked and abominable actions, those callous men then labeled her a lunatic – taking a super-cunning cue, and a leaf, from the book-of-wickedness that the erstwhile Soviet Union’s cruelest dictators, such as Joseph Stalin, used to thump through: for ideas on how to torture irritating citizens without actual physical contact with their torturers.



President Mills himself must take up the case of Nana Fremaa Busia, as he is not the philandering-type. That is the only way of ensuring that she does not become a victim of yet another bunch of your typical male Ghanaian philandering-type-in-powerful-positions, desirous of taking advantage of her, and using intimidation and blackmail to achieve their goal. I have absolutely no doubt that that will happen if the president himself does not take an active interest in her case: and acts to ensure that what Ghana owes her in unpaid salaries and allowances (in addition to any ex-gratia payments due her!), are paid to her as soon as it is practicable to do so. After all, what primary schoolchild in Ghana does not know that “National Security” is awash with unaccounted-for-money that regime after regime in our country has spent on all kinds of things that never benefited our nation, in any shape or form, one jot? Why then should some money from that financial equivalent of a black-hole not be used to restore the honour of our nation, for once: instead of it ending up paying for a life of Riley for the security apparatchiks who answer to on one and think are a law unto themselves – in our democracy, dear reader?



It is precisely because President Mills is one of the most honest and decent leaders Ghana has ever had, thus far, that he must take immediate steps to ensure that Nana Fremaa Busia does not become his regime’s Hodari Okine. Above all, he must not forget how brave she was in standing up to the disreputable men in high places, of yesteryear. She must not be victimized yet again by the self-same nation-state she was so loyal to – especially as at a time (in a country full of moral cowards!) when no one dared speak out against the dog-eat-dog selfishness culture that underpinned the Kufuor regime, she was brave enough to stand up to those into whose dishonest hands our country had fallen: challenging them publicly and exposing their perfidy to Ghanaians.



Why should a young woman, principled enough to refuse the blandishments of powerful men, during Kufuor & Co’s golden age of business (which incidentally, mainly benefited only the Hypocrite-in-Chief himself; the members of his family clan; and the sundry high-flying regime-cronies, who made easy money from influence-peddling and the rampant insider-dealing of that period, dear reader!), who even turned down the gift of Juapong Textiles factory, and a share in zillions of dollars, not be given what is due her for her honest attempt to protect Ghanaian democracy: particularly when during that period most Ghanaians heard and saw no evil: as Mother Ghana was brutally gang-raped by those who followed in the footsteps of the lustful political leaders that preceded them in office (and who gave the Julia Cottons zillions of taxpayers’ money, and collected bribes from the Scancems, and the Mabey & Johnsons, as well)? One certainly hopes that President Mills will open his eyes widely (as we say in local parlance!) – and not let Nana Fremaa Busia become the Hodari Okine of his administration. A word to the wise…



Tel: (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109 & the not-so-hot and clueless Vodaphone wireless smartphone: + 233 (0) 21 976238.