Wednesday, 29 September 2010

LIQUIDATE GHANA INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES NOW – AS A PRELUDE TO SETTING UP A NEW NATIONAL CARRIER!

Why, dear reader, do so many of our politicians suddenly become hard-of-hearing, when they are offered good free advice - especially by those who seek nothing in return for such advice? Take the case of that international airline industry equivalent of a Dodo, the so-called Ghana International Airlines (GIA), for example: Why does the present regime not simply liquidate it - and invite Easyjet to partner Ghana in setting up a new national carrier that will dominate Africa’s present mostly-unsafe skies, and make them safe for all Africans across the continent? Would the outcome of such a bold move not be regarded as one of the best legacies of the administration of the hardworking and honest President Mills? On the home front, would such a new national carrier, using the low-cost-carrier business model, not quickly come to dominate routes in and out of Ghana along the West African coastline, and to the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere, I ask?

Easyjet is a well-run and profitable carrier with a much-respected founder (Stelios Haji-loannou) who believes in corporate good governance principles, and is also a socially and environmentally responsible entrepreneur. Years ago, some of us pleaded with Kufuor & Co., to invite Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airlines to partner Ghana Airways in a joint-venture. However, self-interest and greed, made them turn a deaf ear to our pleas. Branson, of course, is famous for not ever giving bribes to obtain business, anywhere on the planet Earth - so one can draw one's own conclusions. Anyway, that massive drain on state resources (some transferred by stealth, and with legal cover, into private pockets!),GIA, is the unfortunate result of their self-serving idiocy.

The question is: Will those powerful individuals surrounding President Mills listen to us this time round – and move to invite leading low-cost carrier, Easyjet, to partner Ghana to set up a new Ghana Airways-Easyjet: and work together with its founder to get the African Union ( AU) to follow Europe’s example, and declare Africa’s skies a single free open-sky, accessible to all African airlines (and outside ones too!) to compete in for freight and passengers? Surely, dear reader, that must be the best way of making Africa’s present mostly-unsafe skies, safe for us all to fly around the continent: for both business and pleasure?

The end result of the refusal of the greedy tribal-supremacist chaps who dominated the Kufuor regime, to listen to us, whiles we were banging on about Ghana seeking project-funding from China, rather than fishing in the piranha-infested waters of the capital markets of the West (and in hairdressing saloons in the seedy backstreets of London!), is that today, our nation is forking out zillions of cedis in hard currency every six months, meeting coupon obligations owed to clever and farsighted foreigners, as well as the offshore entities that hide the wealth of the powerful crooks in the previous regime. If the powerful individuals who now dominate the present regime had listened to us when they first came to power, their regime would not have lost two precious years, would it? Why do Ghana's politicians hardly ever listen to those who offer them good free advice: proffered for purely patriotic and altruistic reasons, I ask, dear reader? Hmmm Ghana eyeasem oo!

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, 28 September 2010

THE BUSINESS OF DYING – AND THE UNPLEASANT POLITICS INVOLVED IN BEING BURIED IN CHRISTIAN GHANA!

In a nation full of Church-going hypocrites, I can think of no fate worse than being finally laid to rest, by those who whiles one was alive, were secretly ill-disposed towards one – and are forced to don mourning clothes, and put up with the nuisance of trudging around the offices of various state institutions, in order to secure the necessary documentation needed to enable them bury one: because of their ties of consanguinity with one. It is the ultimate humiliation and the final indignity suffered by those who are deemed as "failures" by their family clans – because during their lifetime, they committed the unpardonable crime of not accumulating vast fortunes: which would have made them the financial backbone of their extended family.

Since many Ghanaians do not consider the difficult cerebral undertaking, which any really meaningful writing entails, as a worthwhile use of one’s energies and time, it is consequently not a really well-respected occupation, and full-time writers seldom accumulate any wealth: as precious few Ghanaians read in what a writer friend describes as “this land jam-packed with philistines.” As my writing has failed to bring me riches, I decided, years ago, that to avoid the fate reserved for family “failures,” I would donate my body to the Pathology Department of the University of Ghana Medical School – and avoid the humiliation of being mourned by those who would never have lifted a finger to help one, if one had ever been so foolish, as to approach them for some form of assistance, to enable one survive some crisis whiles one was alive. I see no reason why I should give any such individuals the opportunity to show me the ultimate disrespect at the end of my life on this earth.

The question is: Why do so many Ghanaian families treat family members deemed to be” failures” so shabbily, during their lifetime? Surely, we cannot all be successful and wealthy individuals – and is good character not also something to be cherished in a blood-relative, even if that person fails to accumulate any wealth during his or her lifetime? Is it any wonder, then, dear reader, that so many people who lack the strength of character needed to inure one to the ridicule of shallow minds (who despise others simply because they are not “successful people“), end up becoming corrupt individuals, whose lives are underpinned by a “the-end-justifies-the-means” ethos: that ghastly nation-wrecking building-block of corruption, which is responsible for the rampant siphoning-off of state funds, which goes on across our homeland Ghana, on a daily basis? Perhaps one ought to end this piece with a prayer for the souls of all those who, as we speak, are being shown unwarranted disrespect in their death, whiles awaiting their burial – by callous family members who regard them as abject failures they are glad to be finally rid of, for good. One hopes that their souls will enjoy peaceful rest in their final resting places. Hmmm Ghana - eyeasem oo!

PS To those who consider me a "failure" in the family, this is proof-positive that I am indeed a failure: These are pictures of what, in their prosperous eyes, is probably just the shack, which poor old Kofi Thompson is forced to live in: because of extreme poverty, Ghanaian-style!:




Tuesday, 21 September 2010

YET ANOTHER PREVENTABLE DEATH AT MENDSKROM – ON THE MALLAM-KASOA HIGHWAY?

My cousin, Clifford Emmanuel Kwesi Aboagye (aka American Man), was knocked down by an unlicensed motorcycle, and subsequently run over by a green Mercedes-Benz bus, at Mendskrom, around 9pm, on the 15th of September 2010. Since that hit-and-run green Benz bus had a full complement of passengers, the painful question I have asked myself several times over, after identifying his body at the Police Hospital mortuary, has been: Where was the conscience of all those on board the bus that night, who must surely have realized that it had hit a human being – an injured man desperately struggling to get up and move out of the way of on-coming vehicles, after being knocked down by a reckless motorcycle rider, whose motorbike, I gather, neither had a headlight nor sported any registration plates? In knocking down my cousin, and running over part of his head, that bus driver in effect murdered the son of an elderly widow, who has already buried two of her five offspring within the last thirty-five years – and will now have to bury yet a third in the evening of her life. His African-American children have also lost a father – and his surviving blood-relations, as well as his friends and acquaintances, have all been deprived of someone they cared about.


I shall not rest until all those responsible for his death are apprehended and prosecuted for manslaughter, resulting from reckless driving. Henceforth, I shall also work tirelessly to ensure that that new menace-on-two-wheels, the infamous Okada taxi, are banished from roads in our country quickly and permanently. It is a dangerous new fad that has been added to the mix of negative factors that result in the daily carnage on our roads – and is a dreadful idea apparently imported and copied from Nigeria: in which foolhardy motorcyclists pick up equally foolhardy paying pillion passengers. I only learnt of its presence in our country, after the death of my cousin. This personal tragedy has also made me realize how urgent it is that a media project-idea, which I have been mulling over for some time, is brought into fruition as soon as it is practicable to do so – and definitely before the December 2012 elections. For some time now, dear reader, I have asked myself, why; when it is so obvious that Ghana needs a newspaper, which serves as an example to other newspapers in our country, do I not leverage my personal network, to enable me launch just such a newspaper?


I aim to make the National Review a newspaper that will command the respect of discerning minds; inspire the brightest of the young generation of Ghanaians; strike fear in the hearts of the corrupt, the crooked, and sundry lawbreakers within our midst; materially benefit all those who write for it and work for it as support staff, as well as help distribute it; fights for the national interest at all material times; champions the rule of law and the maintenance of the democratic system of government in Nkrumah's Ghana; and is widely acknowledged as being a force for good in Ghana and a positive influence in Ghanaian society. I will dedicate the paper to the memory of all those unfortunate individuals in our country, who have their lives stolen from them and cut short, by callous and careless individuals, some of whom should never be allowed on our roads in the first place – but do so and end up killing their fellow human beings because of the shortcomings of certain public officials in the road-transport sector.


If the traffics lights had been working on the day he was killed, for example, I am sure that my cousin Clifford (and the many unfortunate souls who have lost their lives in similar fashion at that particular portion of the Mallam-Kasoa highway at Mendskrom), would not have died in such gruesome fashion: As he would have pressed the button on the metal pole carrying the traffic lights, that is designed to move the lights to red, in order to stop on-coming vehicles, and enable pedestrians cross the road safely. The question is: Who are those who are responsible for ensuring that traffic lights in our country work – and on a daily basis? How come they have been allowed to get away with their third-rate performance as engineers for so long by successive governments? What was that motorcycle doing on that road when it did not have registration plates, and did even not have any headlight to make it visible in the dark? In a nation whose citizens constantly demand that violent crime, such as armed robbery, is curtailed, why are those who ride unregistered motorcycles, and drive unregistered vehicles on our roads countrywide, not promptly arrested by the police, whenever they come across such law-breakers?


Why, when our homeland Ghana is no banana republic, do the individuals whose job it is to prevent such indiscipline on our roads, not lose their jobs for being so negligent? At the New Weija District Police Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) office, I saw a board with photographs of police officers using black polythene bags as substitutes for rubber gloves, to collect body parts and move accident victims unto vehicles transporting their corpses to the mortuary, at the Police Hospital. Why should that happen in 21st century Ghana, I ask, dear reader? Will it not be shocking, if it were the case that the Ghana Police Service, does not budget for such an essential item needed for the protection of its officers – in a nation in which millions do not know their HIV/AIDS status: and every accident victim is thus a potential carrier of the virus? Come to think of it: Just what sort of allowances, do the police officers who have to undertake such stressful tasks, receive, if any – and do they ever receive any counseling to prevent them eventually ending up with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), years hence?


Furthermore, is any regular screening carried out at all, by the Ghana Police Service, to ensure that no serving officer in the MTTU suffers from PTSD whiles on active duty: since that could make them dangerous individuals in a job that gives them access to guns? Surely, we have reached a juncture in the history of our nation, when Ghanaians must demand that all public officials actually do the work for which they are paid on a regular basis by the Ghanaian nation-state from hapless taxpayers’ funds – and that they are dismissed from such jobs when they fall short of expectation, and their inaction results in tragedies, which rob our homeland Ghana of some of its sons and daughters: through preventable road accidents for example? If that were the case, dear reader, is it not likely that on the day my cousin Clifford died so painfully, yet another preventable death at Mendskrom, on the Mallam-Kasoa highway, would not have occurred – because that callous Benz-bus driver would never have qualified for a driver's license to enable him drive anywhere in Ghana, and that Okada rider would not have dared to venture on that road at all: as all the relevant officials concerned would have done their respective duties properly? Hmm, Ghana – enti yewieye paa enie? Asem ebaba 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 smartfone: + 233 (0) 30 2976238.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

IS THE NDC GOVERNMENT REPEATING THE NPP REGIME’S ERRORS OF JUDGEMENT – IN PAYING SECTIONS OF THE MEDIA FOR PROPAGANDA?

During the era of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime led by that Akan tribal-supremacist, the profligate President Kufour, certain journalists and media houses were paid huge amounts, to do propaganda for that disgraceful regime, which was jam-packed with greedy and selfish individuals. As we all know, it was a government dominated by a small but powerful cabal, of asset-strippers par excellence. Such was the amoral nature of key people in that regime, that for years, some of us fought tooth and nail, and at great personal cost, and risk to our lives, to help rid our nation of a regime whose leader will go down in history as the greediest, most dishonest, and amoral leader, ever elected into office in Ghana – because we believed that irreparable harm would be done to the moral fibre of our society and to the value-system of Ghana’s young generation: if an NPP regime dominated by Kufuor & Co. was allowed to come into office again after the December 2008 elections. (Incidentally, ex-President Kufuor is welcome to sue me for saying all those very nice things about him, if he wants – for, like his famous and brilliant pal, Mr. Kweku Baako, I too have documents galore: even though I am only a senile old fool, and a semi-literate villager to boot! But I digress.)

The last thing one expected, therefore, after our nation had successfully rid itself of Kufuor & Co., was that one fine September morning, we would wake up to discover that some people in the regime led by the honest President Mills (a man who is undoubtedly the most honest and sincere individual to lead Nkrumah’s Ghana, thus far: since the overthrow of the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on the 24th February, 1966!), which promised us a “better Ghana,” are, apparently, also taking taxpayers’ money, ostensibly to pay certain journalists and media houses to write “feature articles” (and heaven knows what else!) – and, incredibly, are, just like the loud-mouthed Asamoah Boateng, Kufuor's blunderbuss of an information minister, unable to properly account for the monies expended for that dubious purpose. Well, there are certainly a few questions, which the minister who currently heads the information ministry, ought to answer – in order to reassure those discerning and independent-minded individuals, whose crucial swing-votes, won his National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, the run-off, of the December 2008 presidential election. To begin with, precisely what “feature articles” were paid for by that Mr. Stan Dogbe – and exactly who wrote those “feature articles” and in which media outlets were they subsequently planted?

Furthermore, what are the names of the companies and individuals from whom those confounded Christmas hampers were purchased (with hapless taxpayers’ funds!) – and which journalists and media houses received them: at a time when the president had made it plain that he frowned on the practice of sending and receiving such hampers? Finally, will he institute a probe into the matter – by asking the Auditor-General’s Department to do a quick audit to ascertain the true facts to do with the Daily Guide newspaper’s story about the alleged disbursement, by Mr. Stan Dogbe, of various sums, out of the little over 1 billion old cedis, which he is said to have received from the information ministry? As he is aware, his immediate predecessor in office, Mrs. Zita Okaikwe, has flatly denied any knowledge of the matter – and I do know for a fact that she is not being economical with the truth. Hopefully, this time round, the information minister will not ignore those of us who want answers to those simple questions – as he did when we asked him about that special legal-cloak designed to hide the transfer of taxpayers’ money to sundry government propagandists and apologists, as well as their collaborators overseas: officially known as the “Brand Ghana” office.

He had better pay heed to us this time, for, this is a story with the potential to do serious, and permanent damage, to the reputation of the Mills regime – so he must ensure that all the facts in this shabby affair come out into the open: and quickly. Incidentally, it is important that the few crooks amongst the many decent people who surround the president, understand clearly, that those of us who constantly demand that the members of our political class, serve Ghanaians and their nation diligently, and honestly, are neither enemies of the Ghanaian nation-state, nor engaging in subversion, when we criticize those who rule us. Let the few shameless and self-seeking individuals lurking in the shadows in the presidency, who have a tendency to manipulate the system, as a self-preservation measure, by using the state security apparatus to harass those who criticize them, understand clearly that some of us fear nothing – and are willing to risk even being killed to ensure that our oil and natural gas revenues are not dissipated by crooked politicians in our homeland Ghana.

If even those super-ruthless crooks in the Kufuor regime could not frighten us into silence, then how can the cowardly petty-crooks in the Mills regime, possibly ever silence us, or frighten us, from doing what we consider to be a service to Mother Ghana – on behalf of the voiceless and the marginalized? Well, if the many decent individuals in the Mills regime want their party to be elected into office again in December 2012, they must ensure that their regime is always guided by the maxim: ”Deeds, not words.” Endless spin (paid for from our national treasury, annoyingly!) and propaganda, invariably accompanied by their handmaiden, graft, are no substitutes for the important and difficult task of nation-building – as some of their more crooked colleagues seem to erroneously believe. Above all, the Mills regime must not make the same grave error of judgment, which the NPP made, in deciding to use taxpayers’ money to bribe certain key journalists and media houses (as part of the grand strategy, adopted by the few and powerful Akan tribal-supremacists, who dominated that party so completely during its eight-year tenure, to enable them rule Ghana permanently: for the next ”thirty years,” to quote that genius Maxwell Kofi Jumah). Hmmm Ghana – enti yeawiye paa enie? Asem kesie ebaba 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 smartfone: + 233 (0) 30 2976238.

Friday, 10 September 2010

PRESIDENT MILLS: CLOSE DOWN THE “BRAND GHANA” OFFICE NOW!

A highly intelligent young friend pointed out to me, during a conversation recently, the sad fact that there appear to be quite a few unfortunate contradictions in the Mills regime. Although in his view, the government has shown great courage, and discipline, in bringing down the crippling budget deficit it inherited from its predecessors in office, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of the profligate President Kufuor, and ought to be praised for it, much of its good work is sadly tainted by the ability of the few crooks lurking in the shadows in the presidency, to get the government to commit itself to spending money on unecessary projects, which literally amount to pouring taxpayers’ money down the financial equivalent of a black hole. He gave two examples: The self-serving decision to ignore the limit set by the sports ministry for the number of Ghanaians who were sent to South Africa to support the national team, during the World Cup football tournament in South Africa in July 2010 – just so that some well-connected NDC little-emperor could rip Ghana off successfully: to the tune of over some US$400,000.

The second example he gave, is what he describes as: “The foolish idea to commit government to spending zillions of cedis “rebranding” Ghana": an idea he thinks is "akin to the alchemist’s dream of turning base metal into gold during the Middle Ages.” In his view, the ephemeral end-result of that expensive undertaking is an exercise in futility, which should not be tolerated in the better Ghana of today – particularly at a time when the hardworking minister, who heads the finance and economic planning ministry, is trying so hard to find money to fill the gap in funding for the all-important national 2010 census: occasioned by the apparent refusal of Ghana’s so-called “development partners” to partially fund it. My young friend thinks that the finance minister should look no further than the “Brand Ghana” office for a suitable candidate for immediate axing – to save government money it can ill-afford to throw around (to the fat-cats in Ghana’s advertising industry and their collaborators overseas!).

Who does not remember the millions of dollars that Angola and Nigeria spent “re-branding” themselves – only to have the specter of terrorism make a complete nonsense of their expensive forays into the shark-infested waters of the global advertising industry? Perhaps the question that the discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians, whose crucial swing-votes won the presidency for the NDC during the run-off of the presidential election in December 2008, and many of whom now look on askance, as those who only yesterday were forever pointing out the greedy ways of Kufuor & Co., now get up to all manner of shenanigans to enable them siphon off taxpayers’ money themselves, is: Why do those too-clever-by-half individuals in the NDC who came up with the bright idea to “re-brand” Ghana, not simply get our advertising and PR industries' leading lights, such as Stratcom, a company whose networking is peerless, to organize an industry-wide effort (in both sectors!) to “re-brand” Ghana: as the advertising and PR industries’ contribution to helping the Mills regime make Ghana a better place for all its citizens?

Why should hapless taxpayers’ money be distributed to private-sector companies to engage in such a Sisyphean task, I ask, dear reader? President Mills must close the so-called “Brand Ghana” office immediately – and ask the geniuses who work there to take their bright ideas to the private sector: and undertake their self-appointed mission of “re-branding” Ghana as a private-sector initiative: funded entirely from money they themselves succeed in raising from corporate Ghana. The independent-minded Ghanaians, who felt that Ghana’s oil and natural gas revenues would be safer in the hands of a regime led by a President Mills, than an NPP regime remote-controlled by the greedy and all-powerful Kufour & Co., certainly did not vote President Mills into office, to put up with such wanton waste of Ghana’s money. In case the few crooks amongst the many decent people surrounding the president forget, they may choose to ignore those patriotic individuals who criticize them today, whiles their tenure lasts, but they will definitely get their comeuppance in December 2012 – just as the hard-of-hearing Kufour & Co. got their just deserts too, for their obduracy and greedy ways, not too long ago. The time has come for President Mills to put his foot down and stand up to the greedy and crafty individuals in his regime: He must act swiftly to close down the so-called “Brand Ghana” office. 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, 3 September 2010

TO GHANA'S MINISTER OF INFORMATION!


The Minister,

Ministry of information,

Accra.

Dear Sir,

Re: Brand Ghana Office

I am doing some background research for an article about the Brand Ghana Office in the presidency. The article will be posted on my web-blog: “ghanapolitics.”

In furtherance of that objective, I would be most grateful if you could provide detailed answers, to the questions below:

What is the total budget for the Brand Ghana Office?

How many people work in it; what are their names; and how much are they paid?

Have they placed any adverts in foreign media outlets – and which ones are they?

How much did they cost and which ad agencies did they use?

If they are overseas ad agencies, do they have Ghanaian partners – and who are they?

What is the purpose of the Brand Ghana Office – and was it in the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) manifesto for the December 2008 elections?

It would help me tremendously if you could indicate a time-frame within which you could let me have answers to the questions above – and let your secretary call my mobile phone number and pass on that information to me. Many thanks in advance – and regards.

Yours faithfully,

Kofi.


PS My phone numbers: 027 745 3109 & 030 2976238.

PPS Minister, of late, I have noticed that my emails are being hacked into, by persons unknown. Furthermore, when I try to post articles on my Ghanaweb.com web-blog, I get a blank page with this message: "Member section temporarily not available."

One hopes that it is not the few crooks amongst the many decent people surrounding the president, who are trying to stop me posting on Ghanaweb's blogs section. If it is, then they must understand that there are incorruptible foreign police forces that can trace the source of such shenanigans.

To silence me, they must first kill me. It is that simple. Let them remember the Watergate scandal – and how some White House aides ended up behind prison bars for their arrogance. Above all, those geniuses must understand clearly that if pushed to wall, so to speak, Kofi Thompson will simply move out of Ghana: to live elsewhere, where he can continue posting his criticisms of our largely-unimaginative political class, unhindered!

Did Kufuor & Co. not think that they were invincible whiles in power? Well, look where that got them: because they ignored those of us who told them not to forget that wise old Ghanaian saying: "No condition is permanent." Those in power today too had better pay heed to us - if they want to be returned to power again in December 2012. A word to the wise...