Saturday, 31 July 2010

WHY GHANAIAN DEMOCRACY WILL NOT SURVIVE IF PRESIDENT MILLS’ REGIME FAILS!


I was contacted by someone who had read an article I wrote recently entitled: “THE GHANAIAN MEDIA MUST BE FAIR TO PRESIDENT MILLS.” (It was posted on my two web-blogs on Tuesday, July 27, 2010.) The said gentleman wanted to know why I felt that a section of the Ghanaian media were not being fair to President Mills – and why Ghanaian democracy would not survive if his regime failed.

I told him that I had separate conversations  with Mr. Kweku Baako and Mr. Kabral Blay-Amihere, shortly after President Kufuor’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime assumed power in January 2001.

As a result of those two seperate conversations, I came to the conclusion that their resolve to help ensure that the negativity in the media, which contributed to the fractious political atmosphere in the country that made it possible for Flt. Lt. Rawlings to stage the 31st December 1981 coup (and succeed in holding on to power for so long after that), would not be repeated under the Kufour regime, made perfect sense: and that one ought to be part of the effort to help prevent what befell President Limman’s administration from happening to the Kufuor regime too.

My difficulty today, with influential and fair-minded journalists such as the Kweku Baakos and the Kabral Blay-Amiheres, is why they have not taken the same approach with President Mills – who without a shadow of doubt is the most honest leader we have had since the overthrow of the Convention People's Party (CPP) regime of President Nkrumah in 1966.

To the great surprise of many, he has not turned out to be a puppet of Flt. Lt. Rawlings – as many in the NPP predicted he would. Despite the opposition of many in his National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, he has, for example, refrained from allowing the destruction of the businesses of a majority of those who prospered as a result of the patronage of the NPP regime – as happened under President Kufuor.

 He has also not allowed the wholesale dismissal of those appointed to senior positions in the public services by the NPP – again, despite the fierce opposition of hardliners in his party: who want the NDC to follow the NPP's example. Yet, as we all know, today, many in the pro-NPP media are playing an active role, in undermining the Mills regime’s “Better Ghana” agenda.

President Mills has also proved to all honest and independent-minded Ghanaians that he is a tolerant individual and a leader who actually cares about the plight of ordinary people - as opposed to paying mere lip-service to it: as many of the members of our political class are wont to do.

Who in Ghana does not see his clear commitment to due process and the rule of law, I ask, dear reader? So why should the media not be fair to him for the sake of our country: so that he can stand up to the hardliners in his party effectively – in the absence of the pro-NPP media’s outrageous negativity?

On the economic front, almost all the relatively well-educated members of the “Enkoyie-Brigade” in the Ghanaian media are aware that if the NPP had been returned to power after the December 2008 elections, we would be facing exactly the same problems we are saddled with, today.

They are also aware that like Ghana, a majority of the wealthy nations of the Western world, are facing austere times: as their governments’ battle to reduce huge budget deficits – and that as a result their citizenry are struggling to make ends meet: as unemployment rises and stares many of them in the face.

Are many of them not aware of the difficulties many people in Ireland; the UK; France; Iceland; Latvia; Greece; Spain; and Portugal, face on a daily basis? Yet, the NPP's praise-singing media persists with the fiction that if the NPP had been returned to power we would be experiencing a booming economy – because the NPP were apparently better managers of the national economy.

But who in Ghana does not know that during President Kufuor’s so-called golden age of business, the bubble economy of that period was underpinned largely by corruption and criminality: on a scale seldom seen in our nation’s chequered history?

If they were not involved in the illicit drugs business (and its attendant crime of money-laundering!), were many of the thousands of crooks who mushroomed in the Ghanaian business world at the time, not dodging import duties by diverting goods ostensibly in transit to neighbouring countries to our second city, and selling same?

Were scores of them also not dodging both corporate and personal income tax? Was the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), for example, not simply an instrument for cheating Mother Ghana, by sundry service-providers who did not know the meaning of corporate good governance principles – and participated in the orgy of larceny that occurred on such a massive scale under the NPP: as fraudulent transaction upon fraudulent transaction made it possible for them to constantly siphon off money they did not deserve from the national treasury?

What sense did it make, dear reader, to issue sovereign bonds (to the tune of some US$750 millions!) overseas – and use it just to pay salaries and fund other non-productive activities? Were the foolish forays into the piranha-infested waters of the capital markets of the Western world not driven by the unfathomable greed that tainted almost everything that the NPP did in its eight years in power – and was the mountain of debt they got us into not driven mostly by the desire for kickbacks: paid directly to the numerous offshore vehicles set up solely for that purpose?

Did they not kill off Ghana Airways so that they could asset-strip it? Incidentally, one wonders what be revealed if an investigation was carried out by the UK'S Inland Revenue and Serious Fraud Office, into the US$1.5 monthly government of Ghana subsidy paid to fund the wet-lease arrangement, which kept that international airline industry equivalent of a Dodo, Ghana International Airlines (GIA), operating during the Kufuor era.

It will be interesting to see whether a similar investigation by our own state agencies would reveal if there had been any asset-stripping at the Volta Aluminum Company Limited (VALCO).

In view of all the above, the question independent-minded and patriotic Ghanaian must pose to the most influential of the pro-NPP media folk is: If they truly believe in protecting Ghanaian democracy, why are they allowing the outrageous attempt by their mostly-unprincipled acolytes to undermine a selfless and humble president who is seeking to ensure that the roots of Ghanaian democracy are deepened even further?

Do they not understand that there are some Ghanaians who might even go as far as accusing them of abandoning principle for political expediency – and looking on unconcerned as the NPP's nation-wrecking “Enkoyie” propaganda proceeds apace: as we approach the 2012 elections?

The fact of the matter is that today most Ghanaians do not want our nation to fall once again into the grasping hands of politicians from political parties that are dominated by a few powerful tribal-supremacists – the kind that once in power, proceed to use the entire machinery of state to promote the foolish and treasonable ambitions of their tribal Chiefs: whose delusions of grandeur make them think that somehow they are sovereign rulers in what is a unitary Republic of diverse-ethnicity.

The media ought to concentrate on ensuring that those who divided our nation with their absurd ethnocentric-triumphalism never control the destiny of Nkrumah’s Ghana again – as Ghana will descend into chaos if they get another opportunity to gang-rape Mother Ghana. Our homeland Ghana should not be destroyed for such selfish and greedy folk – and no patriotic journalist who believes in democracy ought to be part of any effort to return them to power again.

Let all such journalists pause awhile and ponder the fact that given the miasma of cynicism that is slowly engulfing our society (the vast majority of Ghanaians having now become thoroughly disenchanted with a democracy that does not benefit them materially –as a result of the unfair and unjust system now in place), there is a real possibility that if chaos were to break out in the aftermath of the December 2012 elections, precious few Ghanaians would lift a finger to resist, if another crop of young military officers were to strike and sweep away the corrupt and inefficient 4th Republic – in order to usher in a new 5th Republic: that will be underpinned by a policy of protecting the national interest (which means accepting the will of Ghanaians and ministering to the needs of the ordinary people of Ghana – as opposed to promoting the selfish interests of our political elite, members of their family clans and cronies).

Let them mend their ways before it is too late – as in the event of any military uprising a "house-cleaning" exercise will be undertaken – and the zillions of old cedis that the Kufuor regime paid its favourites in the Ghanaian media will be exposed to the world: as their erstwhile paymasters desperately attempt to save their own skins. A word to the wise…

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

KOSMOS OIL: WHO WILL PAY TO CLEAN UP OIL SPILLAGES OFF GHANA’S COASTLINE & ON THE NATION’S BEACHES?

The unwelcome sight of oil on the beaches of part of the coastline along the Western Region of Ghana, shows the real cost to the nation, of drilling for oil in the waters off our shores: if the players in our oil and gas industry are allowed to get away with being environmentally irresponsible, and cutting corners in order to save on their operating-costs. It is crucial that they are made to understand clearly that they will pay for the full cost of the clean-up of all such spillages, and the restoration of the natural environment to its original state, as well as pay full compensation to all those whose businesses are impacted negatively by such disasters – by putting in place the necessary legislation to guarantee just such an outcome. America’s example in dealing with BP must be our guide. We must not allow the crime against humanity that the pollution of the Niger Delta (caused by the oil companies operating in Nigeria!) represents, to be repeated here under any circumstances. Perhaps the question we must pose those currently in charge of our nation is: When will they put in place the necessary legislation that will enable our country ask for the same kinds of reliefs that President Obama’s administration demanded from BP when the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spillage occurred? The secrecy surrounding the actual amount of the fine imposed on Kosmos Oil for the spillages it has caused thus far is totally unnecessary and certainly does not inspire confidence – and is an outrage and an affront to ordinary Ghanaians.


In dealing with Kosmos Oil in this particular matter, those now in charge of Ghana must not repeat the same mistake President Kufuor made, when he reduced a fine imposed by the regulators, the National Communications Authority (NCA), on Western Communications Limited (WESTEL). Do our leaders think that Kosmos Oil would ever agree to take less of the profits it is entitled to, under the ridiculous agreement that allows it to operate off our shores – if we asked them to do so: to ensure that more money would be made available to Ghana for the very important task of transforming Ghanaian society into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia? Whiles the authorities insist that Kosmos Oil plays by the rules, in the matter of the purported sale of its stake in the Jubilee oilfield to ExxonMobil, they must also concentrate on putting in place a legal regime that will enable Ghana demand that sums of up to even as much as some US$20 billions is put into an escrow account, if ever a disaster on the scale of the Gulf of Mexico oil spillage, were to occur here too. If the Kosmos Oils of this world play hardball when it suits them in disputes with our country, we must also ensure that our nation is never put in a position in which whiles oil companies operating here gladly take their profits, Ghana on the other hand, is left to bear the cost of oil spillages and other forms of pollution of the natural environment associated with the oil and gas industry. If we do not do so, future generations of Ghanaian will end up using any wealth created today from oil and natural gas revenues, to clean up the harm done to the natural environment by companies like Kosmos Oil. It is the sacred duty of our generation to make sure that that is never allowed to happen. 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 Vodafone wireless smartfone: + 233 (0) 30 2976238

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

THE GHANAIAN MEDIA MUST BE FAIR TO PRESIDENT MILLS!

There are many independent-minded and patriotic Ghanaians, who insist that to argue that a regime led by President Mills and Vice President Mahama, somehow poses a threat to press freedom in Ghana, is to be intellectually dishonest. It is extraordinary that a regime led by those two gentlemen, who have shown so clearly that unlike a majority of the members of our criticism-averse political class, they are tolerant individuals, can be accused of hounding journalists and posing a threat to the media. That pure nonsense on bamboo stilts is yet another example of the way so many educated Ghanaians seem to take Ghanaian democracy for granted. The actions of the few anti-democrats in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who manipulate the police to hound journalists, should not be used to judge the Mills regime. Period.


Perhaps the question patriotic Ghanaians ought to pose is: Why are those influential journalists, who decided, when the new Patriotic Party (NPP) assumed power in January 2001, that they would not allow the kind of negativity that led to the demise of the Limman regime, to be repeated under the NPP regime of President Kufuor, now strangely silent, as we witness the barrage of unfair and unjustified criticisms constantly being leveled against the Mills regime in sections of the media? Are we to assume, dear reader, that those influential journalists feel sufficiently confident that democracy has indeed come to stay for good in Ghana – and that what befell President Limman cannot possibly ever happen to President Mills? Is that why they have closed their eyes to the biased and unethical journalism now in vogue in Mother Ghana – specifically designed to play a major role in ensuring that the Mills regime fails?


Do they not see the disenchantment of ordinary people with a democracy in which only the political elite and their cronies enjoy the so-called "democracy-dividend"? Well, they had better sit up – for, contrary to what most of Ghana’s educated elite think, far from this being a stable nation, the huge disparities in wealth and the presence of a large underclass of young people, who have no hope of a better tomorrow ever materializing for them in their lifetime, coupled with the cynicism generated amongst ordinary people, who are totally fed up with a political class that is forever feuding (and which never delivers on the many promises its members make to get into power!), actually presents the next crop of junior military officers in the June 4th 1979 mould, who are imbued with political consciousness and are nationalistic, with the perfect opportunity to strike and sweep away the corrupt and inefficient 4th Republic: should there be chaos in the aftermath of any disputed elections in December 2012.


It will be a grave error of judgment on the part of the aforementioned influential journalists, to think that ordinary people will risk their lives to fight determined soldiers bent on a “house-cleaning” exercise: as a prelude to ushering in a new 5th Republic – that is designed to ensure that the national interest underpins Ghanaian democracy (i.e. the interest of ordinary Ghanaians: as opposed to what will ensure the material well-being of our corrupt elite!). Those corrupt pro-NPP journalists who sold their consciences for a handsome profit to the powerful cabal in the presidency, which dominated the previous regime during the Kufuor era, when the culture of dog-eat-dog selfishness corrupted our society as greed rose to its apogee, had better revise their notes quickly – for, if the Mills regime fails, Ghanaian democracy as we know it, will definitely not survive.


The pro-NPP media is living in cloud-cuckoo-land, if it thinks that those who want our oil and natural gas revenues to be utilized solely for the transformation of our society into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia, will sit unconcerned, and allow the corruption and unfathomable greed of the Kufuor era to return again. They had better abandon their self-serving “enkoyie" propaganda agenda and be more professional: ethical; fair; balanced; and nationalistic, in their work henceforth, if Ghana is to avoid a bloody revolution to force real change in society. They must be fairer to President Mills – who is the most honest and caring leader we have had, since the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. In seeking to undermine him for purely selfish reasons, they are not only digging his regime’s grave – but their own (and the NPP's!) graves too. 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 Vodafone wireless smartfone: + 233 (0) 30 2976238.

Monday, 19 July 2010

President Mills Must Stop Solar Mining Limited Now

It is instructive that when as many as over one hundred and thirty young Ghanaians lost their lives recently, at Dunkwa-on-Offin, in yet another gold mining disaster, the owner of the gold mining pit was promptly arrested by the police.

Yet, as is often the case in Ghana, the officials from the regulatory bodies, who failed in their duty to ensure that only gold mining companies that meet all the required international standards can operate in our country, were left free – no doubt to go on issuing permits to all manner of super-wealthy criminals who are driven by unfathomable greed: and many of whom are busy destroying our natural heritage, and endangering the lives of the thousands of young people who are forced by circumstances to slave in gold mining pits across Ghana, in order to earn a living.

It is not surprising that today even emissaries of no less a personality than the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amotia Ofori Panin, the traditional ruler of Akim Abuakwa, are now being beaten up by the hirelings of those ruthless individuals, who are prepared to defy even the authority of the Ghanaian nation-state in their quest for gold – simply because they dared to try to halt the criminal activities of those sponsoring “galamsey” gold mining operations in that beautiful part of our nation: which has such potential as an eco-tourism destination for nature-lovers.

Apparently, those now in charge of Ghana’s national security are said to have adopted a pro-active strategy, designed to ensure the safety of the Republic: through a policy that is said to have “human security” at its core.

Well, one certainly hopes that they do recognize the potential threat posed to our country, by the wealthy criminals who are using 32-tonne excavators to gang-rape both Mother Nature and Mother Ghana, in illegal gold mining operations across our country – and who are now demonstrating clearly that they can so easily evolve into the kind of monstrous war-lords who sent Liberia and Sierra Leone into the abyss: because they wanted unimpeded access to the natural resources of both those sister-nations of ours.

That is precisely why President Mills’ regime must ensure that those whose duty it is to prevent the illegal activities of companies like Solar Mining Limited, actually do the work they are paid so handsomely for, by hard-pressed taxpayers of Ghana.

That company, which is mining gold illegally at Akyem Abuakwa Juaso, and causing environmental degradation on an apocalyptic scale, is destroying an area in the Eastern Region of Ghana that has been designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA),

Recently, The Daily Graphic carried a news report that stated that the “youth” in the area were appealing to the president to help Solar Mining Limited to obtain the necessary permits to enable the company carry on operating.

Their so-called “appeal” to the president is an example of the perfidy of the clever individuals behind Solar Mining Limited’s activities in Akyem Abuakwa Juaso.

Naturally, that rent-a-mob ensures that no one in the community dare speak out against the company’s illegal activities – which in a very real sense do amount to what actually is a crime against humanity.

It is obvious that the sudden attempt to revive Kibi Goldfields, a company that has been insolvent for over a decade (and is still saddled with a mountain of debt to its creditors!), is simply a clever ruse designed to enable Solar Mining obtain what amounts to “legal cover” through the backdoor – so that it can carry on with its destructive activities with impunity.

Significantly, Kibi Goldfields’ Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) document does not show any correspondence with the Forestry Commission – when part of the important Atewa Range upland evergreen forest reserve actually lies quite close to the concession granted the company.

Sheer lunacy, is it not, dear reader, to destroy forests that are the source of sustainable wealth worth trillions of dollars in yet-to-be-discovered medicinal plants: for a mineral that offers no value to society once it is mined and exported?

The question that concerned environmental activists across the globe would like to ask officialdom in Ghana is: What genius at the Minerals Commission sat in Accra and delineated the borders of the company’s concession to encompass an area close to such an important forest reserve (which contains the headwaters of the three river systems on which over 80 percent of urban Ghana depends on for its drinking-water supply); and, at a time of global climate change, why should that be tolerated?

Furthermore, why does the Forestry Commission not insist that no part of the Atewa Range rain forest, should ever be included in the concession of any mining company, under any circumstances?

Is it any wonder, dear reader, that whilst most nations around the globe are said to have so effectively combated illegal logging that there has been a worldwide drop of some 22 percent in such negative activities, in our homeland Ghana, on the other hand, the trend is in the opposite direction – despite the fact that on paper our country has some of the best forestry policies in the world?

Why should taxpayers’ in the wealthy nations of the world, who are having to make enormous sacrifices in order to enable their governments’ fund climate-change mitigation projects in Africa (to lessen the negative impact of global warming in the continent), permit their governments’ to give Ghana any of such funds, if the state agencies tasked to protect the natural environment in our country, continue to be so lax in their work?

What is the point, dear reader, of setting up special climate-change units at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Forestry Commission (FC), if companies like Kibi Goldfields and Solar Mining can hoodwink officialdom with sleight-of-hand-tactics designed to enable Solar Mining literally reverse into the bankrupt Kibi Goldfields – and more or less obtain permits from the regulatory authorities that way: and continue with its perfidy with impunity?

If President Mills does not want the delegates who attended the Copenhagen U.N. Climate Change Conference last December to conclude that he was merely paying lip-service to fighting global climate change in Ghana, when he delivered his conference speech, he must step in and personally make sure that EPA and FC officials go to Akyem Juaso immediately to ascertain the true facts on the ground – and ask the Minerals Commission to quickly re-delineate the borders of Kibi Goldfields’ Akim Abuakwa concession: as a prelude to the process of taking the concession away from that bankrupt entity, as soon as it is practicable to do so.

The very fact that the purported owner of Kibi Goldfields, Mr. Budu Saka, has apparently been appointed as an ambassador to a foreign nation under this regime, makes it imperative for the government to ensure that the right thing is done in this shabby affair – lest environmental activists in the country to which he has been posted, begin picketing the Ghana Embassy there, to demand his immediate withdrawal.

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

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

POEMS BY KOFI THOMPSON

"A Woman's Freedom"

All women, married or unmarried, can be free agents, if they so wish, at any stage in a relationship with a male partner.




"The Unhappiest Sound in the World"

Is there anything more distressing than the unhappiness felt in the distant sound of a wailing child?



"Eternal Regret!"

O how I wish

I had the wisdom to accept then

What I could not accept

And which led to your departure

But which I now accept

Long after the event!



"Humankind’s Folly!"

It is extraordinary that humankind thinks that it is the planet Earth that is imperiled by global warming – when it is humanity itself that faces possible extinction

The earth will eventually recover from the most egregious of environmental degradation and continue its cosmic journey – long after all the world’s living creatures have disappeared!