Saturday, 28 August 2010

LESSONS FROM THE HON. ATTA AKYEA’S CURRENT LITTLE LOCAL DIFFICULTY WITH THE LAW!

I was saddened by the astonishing revelation that the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) member of Parliament, for Abuakwa South, the Hon. Atta Akyea, has been accused of stealing money belonging to clients of his legal firm – who have apparently now taken him to court over the matter. I must confess that I detest his politics – for the insidious nature of its absurd elitism and its negative effect on our nation, and for the Akan tribal-supremacist ethos that underpins it (pure nonsense on bamboo stilts, dear reader!): all of which he and his ilk inherit from his political and genealogical forebear, Dr. J. B. Danquah. However, on a purely human level, I do feel very sorry for him: and hope that he is able to overcome this latest challenge in the very full, eventful, and successful life, which he has led thus far.

Consequently, unlike the most uncharitable of his critics and political opponents, I shall not gloat, and say that he has been hoisted on his own petard. I gather he has counter-sued his accusers, and one looks forward to future developments with considerable interest. One also keenly awaits the denouement of this rather curious and most cynical affair. Naturally, the assumption is that he can count on the NPP's allies in the judiciary dispensing their usual selective justice, based on the "if-a-friend-interpret-the-law" and "if-a-foe-apply-the-law" principles of Aequitas-Kokofu-Modus. Although some might consider it niggling, the question that many a Ghanaian patriot would want answered, in this most extraordinary of affairs, is: Would his accusers have opted for the same course of action, if the NPP’s presidential candidate, for the run-off of the December 2008 presidential election, Nana Akufo-Addo, had won that election?

Undoubtedly, Nana Akufo-Addo would have appointed the Hon. Atta Akyea, who is his cousin, as a cabinet minister in his regime, had he emerged victorious in that very closely-fought election. If he had, what then would have been the nature of the relationship between the Hon. Atta Akyea, and his present accusers, subsequently? How would they have treated the matter regarding the alleged theft of company funds – from a firm for which he apparently served as a lawyer, for quite a considerable period, once upon a time? It is said that just before the NPP won the December 2000 presidential elections, the National Investment Bank (NIB) was about to sell off the property of a gentleman who became a very important personage in the Kufour regime. It had apparently been used as collateral for a loan from that state-owned bank. Needless to say, in the end, no such auctioning of the said property ever took place, after the NPP took office in January 2001!

Knowing the culture in Ghana, the Hon. Atta Akyea’s present accusers would have definitely come to some arrangement with him, had he become a cabinet minister in a regime led by Nana Akufo-Addo, in the event the NPP had won the run-off of the December 2008 presidential election. (So, that, dear reader, is the secret of how some politically well-connected Ghanaians, end up becoming super-rich overnight: through the use of insider information from our leaders! But I digress.) How then would the Hon. Atta Akyea have dealt with the amount he is accused of stealing, in any asset-declaration form lodged at the Accountant-General’s Department by him? More to the point, how exactly did he account for it in his Internal Revenue tax-declaration form for the year the alleged theft took place, one wonders?

Obviously, if we are to avoid the situation in which the members of our country’s political class, end up following the example of Nigeria’s very corrupt political and business elite, it is crucial that somehow Ghanaians find a lawful means of forcing all those who are appointed to become government ministers, and to serve as District Chief Executives (DCE) in Ghana, to openly publish their net worth: before and after their tenure of office. Because of their wisdom, the leaders of China now insist that all government appointees (and their immediate family members!) in that dynamic nation do same – to ensure continued political stability in that one-party state: by minimizing corruption by politicians and bureaucrats. It is a real pity that our current leaders are not inclined to follow their example. Indeed, the continued refusal of our present leaders to do same is really not a very good sign for our homeland Ghana. As it will be recalled, during the campaign for the December 2000 elections, many of the NPP’s big-wigs constantly said that they had already made their personal fortunes, and were only coming to serve Ghanaians and bring about positive change in Mother Ghana.

Yet, we all saw how during the golden age of business for Kufour & Co., a few powerful individuals; favoured members of their family clans; and their cronies; all became super-rich within the relatively short space of eight years – as they succeeded in exploiting our national economy for their own benefit through sundry special-purpose offshore vehicles: set up specifically to hide the loot from their plunder of our nations’ resources. The extent of their greed has seldom been seen in the annals of our nation’s chequered history – and we are still suffering from the negative effects of the grand larceny those super-rogues engaged in whiles ruling Ghana. As is common knowledge, by the time they left office, their net worth had reached stratospheric heights. That relatively small number of very powerful crooks, who dominated the NPP so completely during their tenure, succeeded in creating a dog-eat-dog selfishness culture in our country – which has destroyed the very moral fabric of Ghanaian society. Truth literally disappeared from our country – and is still a very illusive creature throughout our nation's political landscape and social firmament.

That is how we ended up becoming a nation full of moral cowards – many of whom looked on sheepishly and silently as Mother Ghana was brutally gang-raped. The result is the prevailing nation-wrecking “the-end-justifies-the-means” attitude that underpins the wealth-creation agenda of many Ghanaians, for whom it also serves as a personal motto, and their life’s main guiding philosophy. It was adopted by many of those ruthless petty-crooks (in both the private and public sectors!) who mushroomed during the Kufuor-era, and emulated the crafty ways of the most dishonest of our rulers, during the NPP's eight long, painful, and disastrous years in office. Naturally, all those greedy little-emperor rogues too had seats in the first-class carriages of the very luxurious Kufuor-gravy-train. They all “chopped Ghana small” – and whiles some dodged paying their taxes; others laundered money from countless numbers of illegal activities; and the most clever amongst them profited from sundry schemes that transferred public revenue into private pockets by stealth, and with legal cover.

Ghana International Airlines (GIA) is a classic example. Why those bright young finance ministry chaps have still not asked the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to look carefully into GIA’s wet-lease agreement to date, remains a complete mystery to me. Many of those crooks were also paid vast sums they did not deserve through the presentation of fictitious invoices to various National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) offices across the nation, for goods and services they never actually delivered. Our second city, Kumasi, became the smuggling and tax-evading capital of Ghana, as goods ostensibly bound for neighbouring countries, were offloaded and sold there, to the detriment of Nkrumah’s Ghana. In effect, the whole edifice of the Ghanaian nation-state was turned into a criminal enterprise. Many of those crooks are the selfsame individuals who are now leading the NPP's Enkoyie propaganda war being waged so relentlessly on the airwaves of Ghana's many radio stations, and in the columns of its biased and mercenary newspapers.

They are all livid that the many loopholes, through which they used to milk Mother Ghana dry, are being closed, one at a time, slowly, but surely, and methodically: using due process. The question that many of those who actually care about our nation, in today's Ghana, would like answered is: How many too-clever-by-half individuals are there in the present regime who might also be hiding secrets that are variations of the Hon. Atta Akyea’s present little local difficulty with the law? Well, if we are to stop the bulk of our nation’s oil and natural gas revenues from literally disappearing into the ether, we must find a way of forcing all those currently in power (and their successors in office till the very end of time!), to publicly publish their personal net worth, and that of their spouses, before they also end up like their predecessors in office: who told us, before they came to power, that they had already made their own personal fortunes, and then proceeded to asset-strip Ghana for their own benefit, once in power. The record of Kufour & Co. clearly demonstrates the truth in the maxim: "Power corrupts."

Since those now leading our nation are not angels but mere mortals (like us all!), who continue to turn a deaf ear to repeated requests from many patriotic individuals that they publish their assets, together with those of their spouses (so as to enable them occupy the moral high ground in Ghanaian politics!), let us find a legal way to force them to do so whiles they are still finding their feet as rulers of Nkrumah's Ghana - before they too grow wings: as Kufour & Co. eventually did, much to Ghana's detriment. We must all understand that Ghanaian democracy will not survive if the crooks lurking in the present regime also end up looting Ghana to the same extent that the powerful crooks in the Kufour-era did. The truth of the matter, is that the 4th Republic was tailor-made to enable a military dictatorship, which was being forced by events to return Ghana to constitutional rule, successfully metamorphose into a democratically elected civilian regime. Ultimately, the 4th Republic that was founded by yesteryear's coup-makers, does not serve the interests of ordinary people.

We must end the inequity of a system that pampers our elite and showers them with limitless perks (at hapless taxpayers' expense!), when in office, and then guarantees them overly-generous ex-gratia retirement packages when they depart office; but leaves the nation's overworked and underpaid citizens (who devote decades of their working lives to serving Mother Ghana diligently!), high and dry, in their twilight years: to survive on derisory pensions that they cannot possibly exist on. What kind of democracy is it that allows the well-connected in society to almost always get away with stealing zillions of cedis of taxpayers’ money, but invariably ends up jailing the hungry and the poor for small misdemeanors (such as stealing plantain or chicken), which are occasioned by their dire circumstances? The chairperson of the National Democratic Congress (NDC ), Dr Kwabena Adjei, missed the point in his fulminations against the pro-NPP judges: What we need is a new constitution drawn up by a people now free from tyranny, as a prelude to the inauguration of a new 5th Republic: which will exist to protect the interests of ordinary people, and ensure their collective welfare at all times.

We must have a system that creates hell on earth for all law-breakers and heaven on earth for those who are law-abiding – so that the honest and the hardworking, as well as the strong and the weak, can all prosper together as a disciplined people in an orderly society: in which laws are applied without fear or favour. The 4th Republic must be brought to an end as soon as it practicable to do so – or our nation will have no real future, if things are allowed to continue as they are, in a democracy that has become a plutocracy, in which super-wealthy crooks exploit our national economy for their own benefit, at the expense of the rest of us. The lesson we must learn from the Hon. Atta Akyea's little local difficulty with the law, is that ordinary Ghanaians must always be mistrustful of the members of Ghana's political class, and constantly be vigilante in the protection of our freedoms – lest those who rule our nation end up impoverishing us and enslaving us into the bargain. The question we must thus pose to our politicians during the beginning of every election campaign is: What are the ends, which politicians who vie for power in the Republic of Ghana, seek it for? Is it to enrich themselves at our expense, or like the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, our nation's founder, endeavour to uplift ordinary Ghanaians: and make their country great, strong, and prosperous, for our collective benefit?


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Saturday, 21 August 2010

LET CANDIDATES IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS WIN A MAJORITY OF VOTES CAST IN GHANA’S 10 REGIONS TO BECOME OUR PRESIDENT!

In order to avoid the future chaos that the doom-mongers amongst the membership of the elitist New Patriotic Party (NPP) predict in December 2012, perhaps we ought to simply change the way we elect Ghanaian presidents: From the present constitutional requirement of “50 percent plus one” to one in which to become president, a candidate must win a majority of the votes cast in more than five, of the 10 regions of Ghana.


Surely, that will force all our future presidents to stop engaging in tribal politics when in office – as they will have to court the support of all ethnic groups in Ghana, and also spread development countrywide, to ensure that they have widespread support in all the 10 regions of Ghana: to get them re-elected for a second term as president?


We will then definitely see a permanent end to the nonsense on bamboo stilts, which the kind of tribal-supremacist Kokofu-football-politricks that went on during the Kufuor-era, represents, in our homeland Ghana: the unitary Republic of diverse-ethnicity, which is such a beacon of hope for many in Africa and was founded by that great pan-Africanist, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah! One hopes that the great and the good of Mother Ghana, who are currently reviewing the 1992 Constitutionl, will take this simple idea on board: as it will definitely make a difference in the way those who are elected in future, to serve as our presidents, conduct themselves during their tenure of office. A word to the wise...


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TO THE EPA'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR!

Dear Sir,

Re: Objection to EPA Mining Permit for Kibi Goldfields Limited/Solar Mining Limited.

We are writing to register our objection to an EPA Mining Permit being issued to Kibi Goldfields, and the company referred to in page 1 (Introduction), paragraph 1.0 of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) document, as its so-called “Co-Operator,” Solar Mining Company Limited. As you are aware, Solar Mining Company Limited, on two occasions, in the recent past, defied orders from your officers’ who travelled all the way from Accra, to stop their illegal operations at Akim Abuakwa Juaso. It has also openly admitted in sections of the Ghanaian media (when its illegal activities were finally exposed to the nation by the NGO that polices the mining industry on behalf of poor rural communities nationwide, WACAM!) that it does not have a mining permit, but is seeking to regularize its operations. At a time of global warming, when we ought to be protecting our natural heritage, such a company should certainly not be allowed to mine gold anywhere in the territory of the Republic of Ghana – whose authority it continues to defy, even as we speak. With respect, the contumacy of illegal gold miners must never be rewarded by officialdom, under any circumstances, with the issuance of permits from the mining industry’s government regulators.


Sir, the Kibi Goldfields EIA document is a masterpiece of dissimulation, without compare. No diligent public official entrusted with the task of protecting Ghana’s natural environment, who reads the Conservation International document entitled: “Rapid Biological Assessment of the Atewa Range Forest Reserve, Eastern Ghana (RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 47),” for example, will, even without first visiting the area, in good conscience, allow the approval of a mining permit based on that deliberately nebulous EIA document presented by Kibi Goldfields, and its co-conspirator, Solar Mining Company Limited, to hoodwink officialdom into empowering their planned gang-rape of the natural environment. As the largest landowners in Akim Abuakwa Juaso, the P. E. Thompson Estate are major stakeholders (and have been since 1921: from the British colonial era!), whose voice of reason ought to be paid attention to, by officialdom, in this matter – as unlike most of the members of the farming communities in the area, we are not beholden to the wealthy rogues, who are destroying the ecology of an area designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA), with such impunity.


One fails to understand how government ministers and top civil servants who attend international conferences overseas, which are held to help the world tackle global climate change, can look delegates from the wealthy nations that wish to commit funds to help nations like Ghana fight global warming, in the face, and appeal to them for funds: When a company like Kibi Goldfields, which has been insolvent for over a decade, and still owes a mountain of debt to its creditors; in collusion with its co-conspirator in this crime against humanity, the contumacious Solar Mining Company Limited, can use sleight-of-hand tactics, such as that EIA document full of half-truths and plain falsehoods, to trick officialdom into granting them an EPA permit to enable them upset the delicate ecological balance of an area that contains the headwaters of the three major river systems on which over 80 percent of urban Ghana depends for its drinking water supply: the Birim; the Ayensu; and the Densu.


What does the Forestry Service of the Forestry Commission, which is mentioned in passing, and in only about all of a mere two sentences, in total, in the whole of that nebulous EIA document, have to say about this shabby affair, one wonders – or are they also asleep and oblivious of their responsibilities at a time when global warming poses such a threat to the well-being of our country and its people? We do not see how any public official who actually goes to the Atewa Range upland evergreen rain-forest reserve and the off-reserve forestland in the foothills of that part of the Atewa Range in which Akim Abuakwa Jauso lies, and in which the 14 sq. miles of the P. E. Thompson Estate’s freehold private nature-resource reserve at Akim Abuakwa Juaso is located (about a little under 3.5 sq. miles of which incidentally lies inside the official government reserve!), will fail to see the many falsehoods in the Kibi Goldfields EIA document’s description of the state of the forestland there: and why the ecology of the area should not be allowed to be destroyed any further, by the rapacious duo of Kibi Goldfields/Solar Mining Company Limited – who are now proposing that they are allowed to get away with their unforgivable conspiracy to cause environmental degradation on a scale that is truly apocalyptic, by the EPA granting them a mining permit.


Sir, the EPA must not sanction this monstrosity and abomination, under any circumstances. We implore you to get your mining department’s officials to invite the Forestry Commission’s Forestry Service officials to accompany them to undertake a trip to the Akim Abuakwa Juaso section of the foothills of the Atewa Range – so that representatives of the P.E. Thompson Estate can show them how the reality on the ground does not in any way correspond with the false picture of denuded forestland that the Kibi Goldfields’ EIA document seeks to convey to the world: and blind officialdom with, so as to legitimize its dastardly scheme, which is driven solely by unfathomable greed of the most egregious kind. For the sake of present and future generations of Ghanaians, and the well-being of their nation, please do not let Kibi Goldfields/Solar Mining Company Limited succeed in their aim. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Kofi Thompson.

Cc:
Minister for Environment, Science, and Technology,
District Chief Executive- Fanteakwa District Aseembly,
Wassa Communities Against Mining (WACAM,
Centre for Public Interest Law (CPIL),
Minerals Commission,
Forestry Service, Forestry Commission.
Ofori Panin Fie, Kibi.



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Thursday, 19 August 2010

THE NDC MUST NOT CLONE THE NPP’S HYDRA-HEADED MONSTER WITH 2,065 HEADS!

I could not help but wonder why a world-class individual like the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) Dr. Ekow Spio-Gabrah, would recommend to his party, that it follow the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) example – and widen the number of delegates who elect the presidential candidate of the party (but, alas, presumably still limit it to party executives at the local level, nationwide: and national executive members!). What would make the process of electing any party’s candidate for presidential elections truly more democratic is simply to give all card-bearing party members who pay their dues the right to elect its flag-bearer. That way, instead of a relatively small number of some 2,065 kingmakers who will benefit from the pork-barrel politics practiced by our political class (in which state resources are channeled to such individuals – at the expense of ordinary people!), because the president is beholden to them, there will be millions of electors who cannot possibly collude to hold a sitting president to ransom, because of their sheer numbers.


Has he forgotten how during the Kufuor-era, sundry well-connected NPP insiders took loans from the Micro-finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) to purchase taxis, for example, and yet failed to pay for them? Far from being such a brilliant idea, the NPP will doubtless realize the dreadful mistake it has made, when it finally gets into power again. The new government will discover to its horror that it cannot possibly satisfy those 2,065 kingmakers by bribing them: because Ghanaians demand that every pesewa of the revenues from oil and natural gas are accounted for properly – and because the vigilance of civil society groups makes the crooked old ways of building up party funds through kickbacks from government contracts and loans, clever schemes of the past, which are also no longer open to governing parties, to enable them rip Mother Ghana off by stealth, with impunity. We will also witness high-handedness by many of those little-dictators on a scale, which will make today's foolish antics by the NDC 's so-called foot-soldiers, look like mere child's play.


Does Dr. Ekow Spio-Gabrah not realize that the NPP’s clever new idea for electing its presidential candidate, could eventually lead to a type of politics, akin to the corrupt 19th century American Tammany Hall-style of politics, in our country – and the domination of political parties at both the local and national levels by politicians in the mould of the infamous Boss Tweed, who led a ring of crooked Democratic Party politicians that between 1865 and 1871 siphoned off about 75 to 200 million dollars from the coffers of the city of New York (and only heaven knows what that amount is equivalent to in terms of today's values!)? If the National Democratic Congress (NDC) truly wants to make the process of electing its presidential candidate more democratic, let it simply allow all card-bearing party members who pay their dues, to vote to choose who will become the candidate of that party, in presidential elections in Ghana. That will be breaking new ground in Ghanaian politics: and we will all then witness real grassroots democracy in action in our homeland Ghana. They must certainly not follow the NPP’s shortsighted example, and create a super-dangerous, hydra-headed monster: with as many as 2,065 heads. A word to the wise…


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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

LET US AIM TO CREATE AFRICA'S MOST LIBERAL SOCIETY IN GHANA!

I could not help feeling sorry for Mother Ghana, when I recently heard calls from a number of practicing journalists that the bad nuts in the profession ought to be reined in, through controls of one kind or the other. Professor Kwame Karikari was the lone voice advocating leaving the status quo untouched. What is it, dear reader, which motivates those who think that we ought to busy ourselves with empowering tomorrow’s tyranny with the building-blocks, to enable such a regime muzzle the right to freedom of expression, of future generations of Ghanaians? Do they not understand that we are in the knowledge age – and that it is only those societies in which there is a free interchange of ideas, in which the leading-edge ideas will come to the fore: and help propel nations (like ours!) towards a prosperous future? Why should we not rather seek to create Africa's most liberal society in our country, and once again become a beacon for those of our fellow Africans who live under some of the most brutal dictatorships in the world – and inspire them to fight to create free societies too in their oppressed nations?



Should we not tolerate the transgressions of the unethical; the uncouth; the biased; the irresponsible; and the corrupt; in the profession, in exchange for continuing to enjoy the freedom to criticize and check those who lead our country: and make it impossible for tyranny to ever return to blight the lives of present and future generations of Ghanaians? Instead of wasting our energies thinking up clever ways to restrain the media, let us rather aim to make Ghana as free a society as the United States of America is, if not even more liberal than that bastion of freedom. It is shortsighted in the extreme to think that in the Internet age, anyone can effectively control free speech, anywhere on the surface of the planet Earth.


Can the criticism-averse and smug-geniuses amongst those who surround the president at the Osu Castle, for example, who loathe one simply because one dares expose them for the third-rate individuals they really are (who are only lucky to be at the seat of power on account of their being in the entourage of the presidential candidate of today's ruling party in Ghana, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), during the campaign for the December 2008 presidential elections!), ever stop an old and senile fool like me from speaking my mind online, even though they are having a stab at it as we speak? If they succeed in stopping me from blogging on the Internet from Ghana, for example, I shall simply relocate elsewhere! We must not let the sins of unprofessional journalists (those shameless and mostly amoral individuals, who have sold their consciences for a handsome profit to crooked politicians!), and a majority of whom have not even mastered the basic tool of their profession, the English language, to be ever used as an excuse to stop ordinary people from enjoying the right to express themselves freely, in newspapers and on the airwaves of the electronic media, in our homeland Ghana. Period. A word to the wise…



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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

GENERAL MOSQUITO’S DIATRIBE AGAINST FORMER PRESIDENT KUFUOR!

The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Alex Asiedu Nketia, is reported by Ghanaweb.com to have made a number of accusations, to counter those made against the Mills regime by ex-President J.A. Kufuor: who recently accused the present government of being corrupt. The report was carried in the ubiquitous (at least on the computer monitors of Ghanaians who go online, i.e.!) Ghanaian website's general news web-page of Tuesday, 10 August 2010, in a story entitled: “Kufuor Is The Most Corrupt Leader In Ghana’s History – Gen. Mosquito.” Amongst the many statements attributed to Mr. Asiedu Nketia, include the following two quoted here: “Kufuor is the first president of this country who requested to be the chairman of a state- owned enterprise as a sitting president. He insisted he wants to be the Chairman and it went to Parliament and it was passed. We have taken over from him and we discovered to our amazement that the first six months that Kufuor was the Chairman, not a single sentence by way of minutes of all the meetings they have attended. All the decisions that were made were done arbitrarily and implemented in a very haphazard manner.'' End of quote.


Quote: ''President Kufuor told Ghanaians that they were going to build a Bui City with a University and Airport as part of the project. Indeed they made a pictorial representation of how Bui City looks like, and then we took over and realized there is no single word about the Bui City in everything that is being done there. There is no pesewa meant for Bui City and you told us that you have brought money from China to build the dam and build a city. If it were any other person, he would have called that person to account for that, and very soon we would have to invite President Kufuor to come and show us where he lodged the Bui City money because we are taking over from a former board, and we have the right to invite the former Board and their chairman to account for their stewardship.’’ End of quote. Ghanaian politicians are such a strange breed, are they not, dear reader? What, precisely, is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mills, going to do about this shocking revelation concerning ex-President Kufour and meetings of the board of the Bui Dam Authority, during the period he held power – and why has the present regime not merged that opaque entity with the Volta River Authority (VRA), in any case?


Perhaps the question that all honest Ghanaians, who actually care about their homeland Ghana, ought to ask Gen. Mosquito, is: Has it never occurred to him and his colleagues in the NDC that it was precisely to avoid enabling such accusations stick like dried mud to their government that some patriotic Ghanaians advised that the Mills regime ought to follow the shining example of Nigeria’s late leader, President Yar’ Adua – by publicly declaring the net worth of all its members, as well as that of their spouses? If they had done so when they first came into office, today, our former Hypocrite-In-Chief would not have the temerity to accuse their regime of being corrupt, would he? Luckily for General Mosquito, it is actually still not too late, for the NDC government to do so: and reap its many benefits in December 2012. The benefits of such a move are so self-evident that many patriotic Ghanaians are puzzled by the continued refusal of the Mills regime to do so. Would their party not occupy the high moral ground in Ghanaian politics if that were done? Saying that the constitution does not require that of the president and his appointees is a very lame excuse – as there is also nothing in the constitution that bars them from doing so. If the NDC wants to retain power after the December 2012 elections, they had better publish their personal net worth pretty quickly (whiles there is still time to do so!), before it becomes too late. Thus far, they have neither been vigorous about bringing the crooks who engaged in corruption during the Kufuor-era to book – nor have they acted decisively when it has occurred within their own regime, to the disappointment of many patriotic Ghanaians, if truth be told.


Consequently, amongst many ordinary Ghanaians, there is the feeling that perhaps all the talk about massive corruption in the Kufuor regime by the NDC, during the campaign for the December 2008 elections, was probably just hot air by opposition politicians desperate to win power at all costs. There is also the feeling amongst some Ghanaians that the NDC is not prosecuting corrupt members of the previous regime, simply because there is also corruption within the present government. Both perceptions are probably wrong and unfair, as the government is doing the best it can, given the dearth of lawyers of the right calibre available to the Attorney General's Department. Still, we cannot deny the fact that this regime appears to be a tad hard-of-hearing. Why did the government not listen to Alhaji Bature, for example, when he said that Mr. Fred Segbefia, the Deputy Chief of Staff at the presidency, ought to resign, because his position had become untenable, after the dismissal of Carl Wilson from both of the jobs he had at the heart of government? What have they done about the astonishing revelation that Mr. Micheal Owusu Darko Bonsu, the son of Mr. Kojo Bonsu, made hundreds of thousands of dollars off the backs of those sent by the government to South Africa to support the national team? Why have they not forced that young man to pay back all the money he made in that disgraceful rip-off of our country to the sports ministry?


What did they also do to clear the air when that self-same Alex Sebgefia was making mealy-mouthed excuses about the unauthorized use of a plane belonging to the Ghana Air Force (GAF) – to fly sundry spongers and regime hangers-on to watch the national team play in Abidjan early in the life of the Mills administration: the genesis of Alhaji Muntaka's kebab–diapergate scandal? Why, when they knew what fuss they themselves made about the use of state funds to renovate President Kufuor’s principal private residence, did they go on to allow the use of state funds in renovating Mrs. Nana Kunadu Agyemang Rawlings’ mother’s residence? How inept can one be politically, I ask, dear reader? Have they not heard the most uncharitable of her critics asking if the "grasping" Mrs. Rawlings "has not had enough of the generosity of the Ghanaian nation-state?" Do they not know the resentment felt by many small NGO’s that struggled to survive whiles the whole machinery of state was put at the disposal of the NGO she controlled, and which though ostensibly set up to empower poor women in both urban and rural Ghana, actually served as a political power-base for the over-ambitious wife of a serial coup-making husband, who held unfettered power in Ghana for over a decade after overthrowing the regime of President Limman, in the December 1981 military coup?


Of course, there are also those who will say that at least, some poor women benefitted from the activities of Mrs. Rawlings’ NGO: Whereas during the Kufuor-era, the whole machinery of state was put at the disposal of the greediest; most amoral; corrupt; and over-ambitious clique of Ghanaians we have ever seen at the pinacle of power, since independence – who then proceeded to exploit our national economy for their personal benefit. According to the conspiracy theorists, it was part of the long-term strategy of one ethnic group dominating Ghana permanently, by the Akan tribal-supremacist cabal that dominated the NPP, during President Kufuor’s tenure. To buttress their argument, they point out the fact that prominent amongst the beneficiaries of the munificence of the Kufuor regime, were the most megalomaniac of their tribal Chiefs: some of whom, incredibly, even became de facto sovereigns in a unitary Republic of ethnic-diversity, founded by no less a personality, than that most committed of pan-Africanists, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (who incidentally was not tribalistic in the slightest!). If the General Mosquitoes of this world want their party and government to be taken seriously by the independent-minded and patriotic Ghanaians who chose to vote for President Mills in the run-off of the December 2008 elections, rather than let the greed-filled NPP return to power again to destroy Nkrumah's Ghana (despite their personal loathing of the NDC because its domineering so-called "founder" still insists that democracy is not right for Africa – although we all know that the yearning for freedom is no less strong in the hearts of ordinary Africans than it is in that of the members of other races on the planet Earth!), then they had better revise the notes for their party's December 2012 election battle-plan very quickly.


They must start by getting rid of all the greedy self-seeking rogues in their party, who seem to think that Ghanaians are going to sit unconcerned and allow the nation’s oil and natural gas revenues to be fritted away, by carpetbaggers in clever little schemes – such as the one to do with the “Muzinda Residence” scandal, which enriched that young get-rich-quick magician son of the clever Mr. Kojo Bonsu, during the World Cup tournament in South Africa. Why does General Mosquito think the knives are out for the current hardworking female sports minister – is it not because there is a greedy cabal in the NDC that sees sports as a super-lucrative business arena, which wants to get one of its own to head that ministry: so that they can grab as many opportunities to enrich themselves as they possibly can, when that happens? Some of us used to quote this famous Ghanaian saying to the greedy Kufuor & Co (who thought they were invincible during the period that they held power in Ghana!) – “No condition is permanent.” There are far too many people in the NDC who seem to have forgotten that wise saying too, now that they are also in power, and driving around in luxury sedans and cross-country vehicles (all fueled at vast expense to Ghanaian taxpayers’!). Well, they had better get wise quickly: and let that old Ghanaian saying guide them henceforth, in all they do – and if Vice President John Mahama is half the wise man he is said to be (and wants his government to be returned to power again in December 2012!), he had better, in the absence of the vacationing President Mills, order every soul appointed to a ministerial position by the president, to quickly declare his or her net worth publicly: and that of their spouses 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.

Friday, 6 August 2010

THE STX DEAL: A PERFECT ILLUSTRATION OF THE LACK OF CREATIVITY AMONGST GHANA’S TOP CIVIL SERVANTS?

One hopes that should it ever be the case that the Supreme Court of Ghana eventually delivers a judgment that unravels the STX deal, those now in charge of our nation will see it as an opportunity, to enable them strike a new and better deal, to house personel of the security agencies and public servants nationwide – by negotiating directly with the government of Korea. It makes perfect sense for the government of an oil-rich Ghana to ask the Korean government to lend Ghana money directly to fund the proposed project. We should not allow our country to be saddled with a loan made possible by STX: no matter how generous the terms of any such loan might appear to be on paper. Since it is the Korean government that will be providing such a loan from its KITMC Global Infrastructure Fund, would it not make sense to share the project work (in all Ghana's ten regions!) amongst the ten best-resourced of Korea’s leading construction firms (including STX!): who must be made by law to partner Ghana’s ten best-resourced real estate companies (in terms of their financial standing!), so that the work will be done by Korean-Ghanaian joint-ventures nationwide, and delivered in timely fashion? It would also be wise for the government of Ghana to back out of the rest of the project proposed by STX – as it is most likely that selling houses to private individuals (including even speculators and those buying to rent!) through mortgages provided by the HFC Bank, for a share of any expected profits, will end in tears.


Far better that the privately-owned STX bears all the risk for that portion of the present deal – as it is in fact a speculative venture that no sensible government with any foresight ever ought to burden itself with. One would not mind so much if the way the deal is presently structured financially was meant to bring Ghana to the top of the league table of nations with the world's fastest broadband Internet, or build wind-power farms along and off our coastline to generate say 20,000 megawatts of cheap renewable power: as our country would reap the benefit many times over. The only person who comes out of this STX palaver with his reputation relatively still intact is the Hon. Alban Bagbin – who insisted, when he first took over the ministry for water resources, works and housing, that as a consensus politician, he was going to ensure that there was agreement amongst as many members of Parliament as was possible (from both sides of the house!) and in the country generally, about the project. It is a real pity that the top civil servants who provided advice to the housing ministry, and that of finance and economic planning, failed to grab the opportunity that the mounting criticism of the project presented the government, to advice the government to change course and deal directly with the Korean government for a government-to-government loan agreement to fund the government-owned housing part of the STX proposal, as a stand-alone project. That failure speaks volumes about the inability of many government advisers to offer creative solutions to our country’s myraid of problems. There are many patriotic Ghanaians who often say that they suspect that a majority of the top echelons of the civil service (and other government departments and agencies!) are not well-disposed towards the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mills.


Such Ghanaians say that the controversy that has surrounded the project is an egregious example of the results of the many failings of top civil servants – in this case those who provided advice to the housing ministry and that of finance and economic planning. However, it might very well be the case that their poor-quality advice in this instance, stems more from a lack of creative thinking on the part of a few of that most privileged group of over-pampered; vastly over-rated; and largely-unaccountable; Ghanaian professionals there is in our democracy, than any bad faith on their part. Above all, they should have pointed it out to the government that there was no need to railroad an agreement destined for the Supreme Court through Parliament, just to enable the Korean president cut the sod for the commencement of the project during his coming visit to Ghana – as Korea itself has had long experience, over the years, of opposition from various committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress to certain aspects of funding requests from successive U.S. administrations, to support projects aimed at strengthening Korea militarily and economically: and that the government of Ghana could rather use the opposition to the project as leverage to enable it strike a better deal during the president of Korea’s visit.


What foreign dignitary visiting our shores for the very first time, can fail to be impressed by Nkrumah’s Ghana and the quality of its human and other resources, I ask, dear reader? The Korean president will, upon seeing our beautiful, stable, peaceful, and democratic country, understand that it is an emerging economy, which if supported by his government, will result in a relationship that is also beneficial to his country. Let us therefore leave the clever brains behind STX to their own devices as far as the speculative venture to build and sell houses for profit through mortgages provided by the HFC Bank goes. Incidentally, if the NDC wants to continue retaining the support of the independent-minded Ghanaians who cast the crucial swing-votes, which won that party the December 2008 elections(as opposed to the “My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong” myrmidon-types, whose blind support of political parties is slowly tearing our nation apart!), it must not make a habit of railroading agreements and bills through Parliament: as that is precisely what put so many of those patriotic individuals permanently off the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of President Kufuor. The NDC must respect the constitutional checks and balances designed to ensure that we remain a free society. It was an outrage for the majority side in Parliament to ignore the fact that the matter had been taken to the Supreme Court. Our Parliament ought to be a graveyard for the greedy and clever schemes of special interests – not a self-serving enabler and protector of special interests: at the expense of our nation and its people, in whom, after all, sovereignty is supposed to reside, in our system. Finally, let the senior public servants who are paid so handsomely by Ghana's hard-pressed taxpayers' to advice our leaders, learn useful lessons from the STX deal – and think more creatively henceforth: for, the old rules definitely no longer apply in managing national economies, in the aftermath of the global financial meltdown. 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.