In the light of the abominations in northern Nigeria, one could not help but be apprehensive, as one listened to the smugness in the tone of Mr. Mahama Ayariga, the presidential spokesperson, as he blithely mentioned, in passing, during a telephone contribution he made (whiles commenting on a number of points the host of the programme sought his clarification on) to a discussion about strengthening the constitutional bodies mandated to fight corruption in Ghana, such as the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), on Joy FM’s “Super Morning Show” programme, which was broadcast on July 28, 2009. According to Mr. Ayariga, the Mills administration would not breach the constitutional provisions, which guarantee privacy for ministers who have declared their assets to
In their view, that is the best way of confirming, by deeds, not mere words, that the Mills administration is serious about fighting high-level corruption in Ghana – so that the good people of this country will be able to keep an eye on any crooks lurking in this regime: who might now be biding their time to rip our country off, by stealth, as they too await their Alhaji-Muntaka-type opportunity: and eagerly look forward to the day when Ghana’s oil and natural gas revenues start coming on stream. The demand that the assets of high government officials and their spouses, ought to be publicly published, is a non-negotiable political fact on the ground, in the Ghana of today – and if the government of President Mills does not make that happen soon, they will find some of us becoming their most implacable of foes: who will wage a determined campaign and fight relentlessly to ensure that they are not returned to office again in 2012 (as we did their corrupt and amoral predecessors in office). As the many egregious examples of abuse of office, aimed at the amassing of wealth illegally, by some of the most powerful members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of ex-President Kufuor, begin to come to light, Mr. Mahama Ayariga and the other members of the regime of which he is such a prominent member, must understand clearly, that there has been a sea-change in Ghanaian politics – and that Ghanaians will simply not tolerate a repeat of the corruption that went on in the past regime under any circumstances. It was that fundamental change in Ghanaian politics that ensured the victory of President Mills in the run-off of the December 2008 presidential elections.
He won that election, largely because the real kingmakers of Ghanaian politics, the independent-minded patriots and Ghanaian nationalists, who put the interests of Nkrumah’s Ghana above that of party affiliation and tribal sentiment, in all matters that concern the well-being of our country and the welfare of its people, believed that he was the candidate most capable of changing Ghana for the better, despite the mostly-corrupt nature of our political class and the opaque system they superintend and exploit for their own ends: because of his honest and fair nature. In a very real sense, the opinions of the fanatical party supporters, whose unflinching support the Mahama Ayarigas, and their political opponents, can always rely on (and often manipulate for their own parochial ends), do not really matter any more, in the politics of today’s
Perhaps it might interest those geniuses in AFAG to know that even oil-rich
Yet, Ghanaians, simply yearn for an equitable society in which ordinary people (who are constantly being called upon to make never-ending sacrifices for a better tomorrow for their country: even as politicians insist on obscene ex-gratia payments and overly-generous retirement packages for themselves – and all that, in a nation in which scores of mothers still die during childbirth, because of inadequate health-care facilities nationwide, and in which most homes do not even have potable water regularly, if at all), are able to live happy and fulfilled lives, too: just like their leaders do at hapless taxpayers' expense. Surely, that is not asking for too much, is it, dear reader? It is important that the Mahama Ayarigas in our country, understand that the growing disparities of wealth in Ghana, does indeed pose a real threat to the stability of our nation. The burgeoning underclass that is increasing in numbers at such a frightening rate (and in inverse proportion to the spectacular rise in the value of the personal fortunes of the politically well-connected lucky few – who have prospered mightily from the dramatic increase in Ghana’s GDP since our large external debt was written off in 2001 ), is a ticking social time-bomb, which is persisting because a large army of disaffected rural youth continue to flock to the urban areas in search of their dream of the good life: access to which they are totally cut off from, in reality. The bald and painful truth, is that in terms of their educational backgrounds and qualifications, achieving that goal through honest means, will always be well nigh impossible, for the vast majority of them – despite their expectations to the contrary, when they initially set off from their villages to urban Ghana: because they are so inadequately prepared for upward social mobility in the modern 21st century ICT age. It is a pity that our not-so-bright political class (well, what else can one call a class of politicians, in which a cabinet minister, rather than be outraged that Vodafone, which would not dare make a similar offer to his British counterpart, because it would be regarded as unethical, had had the nerve to offer to pay for his hotel accommodation at Newbury, when a delegation from Ghana visited the company's UK HQ, instead comes on national television to congratulate himself for refusing an improper and unethical offer, clearly meant to corrupt him, dear reader?) has not yet grasped the fact that a poor developing nation with aspirations, cannot possibly afford not to provide free education up to tertiary level, for all those with the aptitude to do so from underprivileged backgrounds, whose families cannot afford to educate them to that level.
As things now stand, clearly, if nothing is done about it, at some historic point, many of the members of the new underclass will doubtless end up as cannon fodder for the political ambitions of others – to be manipulated by the ruthless demagogues in our midst: who are forever waiting patiently in the wings, ready to strike to end our experiment in democratic governance, when the opportunity to do so presents itself to them. The availability of oil and natural gas revenues, is bound to make that possibility a reality in the end, if our political elite chooses to follow in the footsteps of Nigeria’s political elite – and siphons those revues, which we are all counting on to help transform our country into Africa’s equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia, to enable them send their personal net worth into the stratosphere (as Ghanaian politicians are wont to do – despite their protestations to the contrary: because they invariably end up exploiting our national economy for their personal enrichment, as well as that of the members of their family clans, and their cronies). If President Mills is serious about fighting corruption in
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