Thursday, 31 March 2011


One finds it extremely difficult to understand why some Progressives in Ghana, are making such a fuss about events now unfolding in Libya - simply because "neo- colonialist" and "imperialist" powers are amongst the nations enforcing the no-fly zone (imposed by UN Security Council resolution 1973), and bombing Col. Maummar Gaddafi's elite ground forces and military installations (so as to protect Libyan civilians).

The question is: Why are some people ignoring the simple fact that what is happening in Libya, is that a long-oppressed people are fighting for their freedom, from a ruthless and murderous regime? Does it really matter, who helps to free fellow Africans, brave enough to pick up arms and fight to rid themselves of a tyrannical regime, which physically eliminates those who dare criticise it - as Gaddafi's repressive regime has done for decades with such impunity, I ask?

For those Libyans fighting for their freedom, the idea that there are people in places like Ghana making a fuss, because "neo- colonialist" and "imperialist" powers are amongst the coalition of willing nations, enforcing the no-fly zone imposed by a UN Security Council resolution, and degrading Gaddaffi's military, by bombing his elite forces and military installations, must be exceedingly irritating.

Why should anyone think that when they eventually gain their freedom, after decades of life under the repression of Col. Maummar Gaddafi, they will countenance the occupation of their liberated nation, by "neo-colonialists" and "imperialists"? Or are we to assume that they are risking their lives just so that the new democratic Libya they are fighting to bring about, becomes a puppet of "neo-colonialist" and "imperialist" powers? One doubts that any Libyan will ever tolerate that - not after risking life and limb for a free and democratic society in Libya.

Yes, there may be a preponderance of "neo-colonialists" and "imperialists" in the Establishments of some of the nations enforcing the no-fly zone, such as: the US, the UK, Canada, France and Germany - and, yes, the national systems in place in those nations may be inherently racist (for historical reasons!).

But, surely, in the 21st century ICT age, Progressives in Ghana ought not to think that should "neo-colonialists" and "imperialists" ever pose a threat to the vital interests of our homeland Ghana, the forces of neo-colonialism and imperialism, would be invincible foes, which clever and determined Ghanaian nationalists and pan-Africanists across the continent, couldn't possibly take on, in the courts of public opinion in those selfsame nations, and trounce soundly: should the need to do so, ever arise in our homeland Ghana, and elsewhere in Africa?

The usual knee-jerk reaction of the past, when the forces of neo-colonialism and imperialism have threatened our vital interests, simply won't do today - and Ghana"s Progressives need to be more nuanced in their approach, in such matters: and aim to out-think and outsmart such negative forces.

Take the cheeky case of the abiding arrogance of Kosmos Oil, for instance. If Ghanaian Progressives had been more creative in their thinking, could they not have advised our current rulers, when they first came into office in January 2009, to invite the whole of the US Congressional Black Caucus to Ghana: shown them round Nkrumah's Ghana - and asked them to do for Mother Ghana, what the Israeli lobby in the US, does so effectively on a daily basis, for the state of Israel?

Why does it never strike Progressives in Ghana, for example, that at the height of Kosmos Oil's impudence, they could have advised that rather than Ghana caving in to that company's outrageous demands (which was sheer brinkmanship in any case - as the company's executives knew perfectly well that they had their backs to the wall: with a projected US stock market IPO looming), at the very least, the Mills administration ought to have wrung a confession out of the company's executives, about the real secret behind that Kufuor-era slieght-of-hand: which saw the transfer of a bloc in an oilfield, which should have become the property of all Ghanaians, to a couple of individuals - whom President Kufuor himself, used the word "front" in reference to, in a Freudian slip (when in his usual boastful manner, he was recounting the story of how he brought a "small oil company in Texas", Kosmos Oil, to Ghana and more or less, single-handedly changed its fortunes!)?

Would such a coup not have made the current regime's final capitulation (to a perfidious company, amongst whose many acts of disrespect towards Nkrumah's Ghana, according to bush-telegraph sources, include even having the effrontery to insult the honest and selfless President Mills, by supposedly offering him a bribe!), a tad more bearable - if that was what had to be done for pragmatic and long-term strategic reasons?

Incidentally, one wonders whether if President Mills had not been the most honest and selfless leader to rule Ghana, thus far, since the overthrow of the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, our homeland Ghana's founding father, in February 1966, we would not have suddenly seen a new partner of Kosmos Oil, the Z. Z. Group (Zuu Zaa Group!), emerging on the scene, and owning a 5 percent stake in a bloc in an oil field, somewhere off Ghana's shores?

Alas, we shall never know - as unfathomable greed and lying through the teeth, aren't written into the DNA of President Mills: who flatly turned down what many an African politician would have quickly grabbed with both hands and their two feet, too. And that is the leader some bright sparks in his National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, want to be rid of - for the most cynical of reasons. Complete lunacy, I say! Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa!

Then there is that long-standing Aqua Vittens Rand palaver, too: Rather than march in protest, and shout themselves hoarse, demanding that the agreement with Aqua Vittens Rand (an entity so dedicated to Ghana, it can shut a major water treatment plant "for maintenance", in the midst of a cholera epidemic!) should not be renewed, when the time comes, why don't Ghana's Progressives simply ask our current rulers, to get Left-wing Dutch parliamentarians to start asking questions in the Dutch Parliament, about that ongoing Dutch rip off in Ghana, otherwise known as Aqua Vittens Rand - in which our drinking-water supply provider, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), has been handed over (lock, stock and barrel!) to Aqua Vittens and its South African partner, Rand Water, to exploit for private gain, at Mother Ghana's expense, and for no charge whatsoever?

Would such an intervention by Left-wing Dutch parliamentarians, not stop Dutch diplomats from the Royal Netherlands Embassy here, engaging in the usual arm-twisting that diplomats posted here usually engage in - whenever Ghana demands that companies from their nations abide by the selfsame post-Enron corporate good governance principles, which underpins their corporate ethos in their operations in their countries of domicile? Would the Dutch people tolerate their drinking-water supply providers, being handed over to foreign entities, in a similar smoke-and-mirrors commercial-sham, I ask?

(Hopefully, the dynamic and patriotic Hon. Alban Bagbin, the water resources, works and housing minister, who is a consensus politician par excellence, who listens to good advice, and believes in protecting the national interest, at all material times, will refuse to renew such a foolish and unproductive agreement - and instead send Aqua Vittens and Rand Water packing, soonest. Hmm, Ghana - enti yewiaye paa, enie?)

A similar approach ought to have been adopted in the case of Vodafone (whose British executives are today living the life of Riley, at our expense - in a period of austerity in both Ghana and the UK, and at a time when even Arab oil Sheiks are reining in their spending: and understand that excess is extremely foolish!). If that had been done, perhaps by now, instead of that daft process and outcome, ridiculously labelled "re-engagement" and the virtual taking of Ghana's communications minister, 'prisoner,' by the pro-NPP and pro-Vodafone top-level civil servants in his ministry (so obliging and incredibly stupid, they actually even waived Vodafone's payment of a G3 licence - by saying it was included in that paltry US$900 millions that company paid for a business with assets worth some US$5 billions, at least, in today's values!), perhaps outraged Left-wing members of the UK Parliament, as we speak, might have succeeded in getting the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), to investigate and prosecute all the Ghanaian and British citizens, who in deliberately ignoring Section 2 of Ghana's Divestiture of State Interest Act (DSIA), are responsible for that massive fraud, known as the sale and purchase agreement for (an unlawful and unkown-to-the-laws-of-Ghana state-owned corporate entity!) - cleverly christened the "Enlarged Ghana Telecom (GT) Group", to outwit ordinary Ghanaians, by yesteryear's greediest rogues, amongst the largely-corrupt New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of President Kufuor. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa!

One certainly hopes that if they are really sincere individuals, instead of allowing the UK Anti-Bribery Act 2010 to be shelved, the initiators of the moral Big Society (launched exactly a year ago, today, incidentally!), David Cameron & Co. will allow it to come into effect this April, 2011 - to keep Corporate UK on the straight and narrow, when operating abroad: particularly in Africa! That will enable the good people of Ghana to get justice in the British courts, for that egregious example, of the rip off, of a poor developing nation, by British-big-money, and its local lackeys (those infernal quislings!) amongst our ruling elites.

Finally, on the issue of Libya, the point ought to made, that Ghana's Progressives, need to understand that the right of all Africans to live in free societies across the continent, is a non-negotiable right - and if takes even the military might of "neo-colonialist" and "imperialist" powers to free fellow Africans living under tyrannical rulers on the continent, at any given moment in our history, then so be it.

When that is the only viable option, striking a temporary alliance with even those who once occupied and exploited Africa (and may still have designs on the our abundant natural resources as we speak!), makes perfect sense, in my humble view. No one can re-colonise Africa, if the people of the continent themselves don't allow them to do so. In the 21st century ICT age, no African people, desirous of living as free individuals in the land of their birth, and the continent of their ancestors, will ever exchange the oppression of African rulers, for the re-occupation of Africa by neo-colonialists and imperialists, under any circumstances. That is why in the final analysis, it matters not who helps Africans fighting for their freedom from the last of the continent's tyranical regimes, such as Libya - and the sooner Ghana's Progressives take that on board, the better it would be all round in Africa. Even a senile old fool like me can see the sense in that - and so should they: more so, when as a rule, they invariably are such highly-intelligent individuals. A word to the wise...

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

Monday, 28 March 2011

An Open Letter To The Executive Director Of Ghan's EPA!

The Executive Director,                       28/3/211
Environmental Protection Agency,

Dear Sir,

Re: Creation Of A Buffer Zone For Atewa Range Forest Reserve & The Off-Reserve Slopes - Bordering Kibi Goldfields' Concession.

At a meeting between P. E. Thompson Farms & Commodity Exports Limited, and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mining Department, on Friday, 18th March, 2011, your Mining Department's officials agreed, after sighting a map provided by the Minerals Commission, that if we wrote to you indicating the necessary scientific evidence to support it, the EPA would create a buffer zone to ensure that the operations of Kibi Goldfields, do not in any way endanger the vital ecosystem of what has been designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA), and, which, unfortunately, part of that company's concession borders.

In that regard, we refer your Mining Department and all the other relevant EPA departments, to the recommendations contained in Conservation International's (CI) Rapid Assessment Programme's (RAP) Bulletin 47.

It provides all the necessary scientific evidence, and reasons, why such a buffer zone ought to be established to protect a key ecosystem services provider, with watersheds, the health and well-being of which about 80 percent of urban Ghana's population's drinking-water supply, depends on.

We do hope that this crucial step will be undertaken quickly, with the help of scientists from Ghana's tertiary institutions, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Water Resources Commission and the Forestry Commission, to protect what is one of the world's most important biodiversity hotspots, and arguably, the most important ecosystem services provider in West Africa.

We are extremely grateful to your Mining Department's officials, for their patience, thus far - despite my often frayed temper when we have met - over the little over two years that we have been interacting: to try to ensure just such a positive outcome, of the sort that we have now finally arrived at.

We would like to commend Mr. Sekyi, and his very able team, in your Mining Department, for their sense of professionalism, which has informed all our discussions. It is gratifying to know that Ghana has such dedicated public servants protecting our nation's natural heritage.

And many thanks too, to the whole of your very important organisation, for finally agreeing to protect the Atewa Range upland evergreen rainforest reserve, and the off-reserve slopes area, Sir.

At a time when global climate-change is impacting so negatively on our homeland Ghana, in so many ways, it is definitely the right thing to do!

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Kofi Thompson

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


When the New Patriotic Party (NPP) introduced a new element, which takes the national political discourse to a more mature level (of reasoning, ie!), by more or less making it clear, that it believes that it will take a minimum of 10 years, to transform Ghana, many an independent-minded patriot and Ghanaian nationalist, hoped that the geniuses in charge of President Mills' National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime's public relations, would seize that golden opportunity it offered their administration, to finally slay, and bury for good, that regime-changing and highly-toxic propaganda word-of-mass-destruction (WMD): "Enkoyie."

That very clever and potent Twi language WMD, encapsulates perfectly, all the frustration and disillusionment, felt by many, who clearly had unrealistic expectations, of what life under a new government led by President Mills (or any other presidential candidate and political party, assuming power after winning an election in Ghana, for that matter!), would be like. But as all those who know, know, it is a known known, not an unknown unknown (apologies to former US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld!), that Rome was not built in a day - and neither will our homeland Ghana be suddenly transformed, into a land flowing with milk and honey, overnight, either.

With revenues from oil production now coming on stream, surely, it is time the more sensible and responsible sections of the Ghanaian media, made that bald fact of life, abundantly clear, to the broad masses of the Ghanaian people - to avert a future upheaval, caused by the frustration of citizens fed up with unfulfilled expectations (occasioned by the glacial pace of change, which, alas, of necessity, cannot but evolve slowly!), and every one of them desperate for a bit of the riches they see our ruling elites, their family clans and their cronies, amassing at the speed of light: once they get into power?

The transformation of our homeland Ghana into an African equivalent, of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia, will certainly take more than two terms of any political party's tenure. And that is a fact of life that all Ghanaians ought to accept. It is to his eternal credit that the NPP's Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo is accepting of that reality - and responsible enough to more or less openly admit so: by even producing an economic development plan based on that time-frame.

(Regarding the need for realism, is it not a fact, dear reader, as someone pointed it out to me, that after a little over 16 years of combined NDC and NPP rule, during which two presidents (one from each party!), have served out the maximum two-term limit on a president's tenure, ordinary people's lives haven't seen much change - and in many respects in fact has gotten worse, over the years? Yet, their ruling elites collect obscene retirement packages, regardless, when they leave office - after which a new batch of hopefuls, line up for the empty-promises-stakes, to compete for the right to come to power, to ruin ordinary Ghanaians some more, too. We must break that cycle with the honest and selfless President Mills. But I digress, yet again!)

Having been presented with such a precious gift by the NPP, one hopes that most independent and fair-minded Ghanaians (as opposed to the "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong" myrmidon-types, whose blinkered support for political parties, and individual politicians, is slowly destroying Ghanaian democracy!), will now no longer hear those geniuses at the information ministry (and their equally super-bright Osu Castle colleagues!), making daft remarks about the minimum 10-year time-frame the NPP now admits, is needed to transform our homeland Ghana.

They must respond to it, not by rubbishing it, but by pointing out the positive achievements galore, nationwide, which is slowly but surely bringing about the better Ghana, promised the Ghanaian masses, by President Mills. To do so much work across the nation, in a little over two years, out of a required 10 years, is no mean achievement, is it, dear reader? And in case those government PR geniuses miss the point, it is called getting-ordinary-folk-to-see-things-in-their-proper-perspective: and seeing through the NPP's self-serving propaganda. Hmm, ensu yesi yewo neemdie - eyeasem oo!

It is such a pity that those information ministry geniuses (and their equally-brilliant seaside pals!) have thus far failed so miserably to convince Ghanaians, that it is in their self-interest, and in the national interest, that they continue keeping faith with the most honest and selfless individual to lead Ghana to date, since the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in February 1966: H. E. President Mills.

Above all, one hopes that President Mills himself too, will now sit up and act decisively, to weed out the smug incompetents and sinister crooks (former President Rawlings' famous "greedy bastards!") lurking in the shadows in his regime - for, their continued presence in his government, only adds to the sense of frustration felt by many of those who wish him well: and want him to succeed for Mother Ghana's sake. Simply put, their continued presence in his administration, only gives his regime a bad name and a poor image, both on the home-front and internationally.

Will he also take action to bring to an end, their outrageous junketting around the globe, at taxpayers' expense, on what is often said to be personal or party business, but which apparently is sometimes disguised as a public-good assignment overseas, for the Ghanaian nation-state? We do know that politicians are particularly susceptible to President Kufuor's highly-contagious wanderlust bug - but are we not supposed to be in austere times, and do they not see President Mills' own example of a spartan lifestyle, as well as his abiding humility, I ask, dear reader?

The first on the list of those the president ought to dismiss, are the bright sparks at the so-called Brand Ghana Office - that financial equivalent of a cosmic black-hole that a regime headed by an honest man like President Mills ought never to countenance. He must close it down - and ask the geniuses who work there to take their cutting-edge ideas to the private sector: where market forces will decide their fate. It is intolerable that hapless taxpayers' money is being dissipated on that pure nonsense on bamboo stilts: and that he is allowing it to stay open. How can that be?

President Mills must be ruthless in dealing with all of those blackguards in his administration - if he wants to be re-elected in December 2012. But I digress. I do not know of a single well-educated and fair-minded Ghanaian, who thinks that Ghana can be transformed into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia, in less than five years.

There is also not a single such Ghanaian, who does not know that Mother Ghana will, unfortunately, continue to remain a corrupt and inefficient country that is unable to realise its full potential, as long as Ghanaians remain a people: who lack discipline; are unpatriotic individuals who rather than make sacrifices for the common good, seek instead to rip Mother Ghana off, at every opportunity that comes their way; avoid paying their taxes; constantly break the regulations and laws meant to ensure an orderly society; don't eschew corruption in their day to day interactions with officialdom, and with each other on a private level; and above all, do not lead lives underpinned by ethical considerations.

(Incidentally, even in the aftermath of near-apocalyptic serial-disasters and multiple family tragedies, look at the amazing discipline and resolve of the Japanese people - and the quiet efficiency with which they are going about the herculean task of picking up the pieces, and starting the rebuilding of an even more prosperous Japan, in earnest. Those are the kind of qualities and virtues we will need to transform Ghana - that and hard work on the part of all Ghanaians: not the empty promises of mostly-incompetent and largely-corrupt politicians. Period.)

It is so irritating that ever since Ghana was returned to constitutional rule in 1992, politicians have behaved irresponsibly, by constantly pretending, when out campaigning for votes during elections, that they can change the lives of the Ghanaian masses, as soon as they come into office.

That is why Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo's NPP, needs to be congratulated, for alluding to the fact that nation-building is an ardours task that takes a minimum of 10 years. Of course, one doesn't need a PhD, to work out that having convinced itself that it will be returned to power again, the NPP is clearly preparing the ground, for successfully managing expectations of ordinary Ghanaians, after the December 2012 elections - which is the main reason why it has given a 10-year time frame, for transforming Ghana.

Clearly, their hope, is that by so saying, it will enable them to neatly side-step any chants of "Enkoyie" from their political opponents, when they come to power again - having seen the devastating effect the deploying of the word "Enkoyie" has, politically, on any audience listening to the electronic media, during current affairs programmes, in which the state of the national economy, and the future outlook for Ghanaians, are discussed.

Well, one must congratulate the NPP for that stroke of genius. And I say that, despite the fact that I loathe all that it really stands for - as opposed to what it tells the Ghanaian public it stands for. What I find most repugnant about the NPP, speaking as an Nkrumaist, a patriot who loves Mother Ghana passionately, and a Ghanaian nationalist keen to protect the cohesion of the Ghanaian nation-state, is the hidden agenda of its antedelluvian Akan tribal-supremacist and elitist clique, which is at the core of that party. Though consisting of only a few tribalistic individuals, it unfortunately has a vice-like grip on the NPP.

Any African in the 21st century ICT age who thinks a particular tribe is superior to another tribe anywhere on the continent, is an ignoramus, and has a mind-set set firmly in the Dark Ages - and definitely on the wrong side of history!

Their real goal, is to use the political power gained through national elections, to deliberately weaken the Ghanaian nation-state, and somehow work to revive the power, which was once exercised by the forebears, of their favourite tribal Chiefs, who ruled certain pre-colonial tribal entities. This was done during the Kufuor-era, by leveraging the entire machinery of state, to empower the favourite tribal Chiefs of the cabal that wielded real power in Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana, at the time.

A classic example of this divisive enterprise, during the NPP's tenure, was the absurdity of the issuing authority of what is a unitary Republic, describing certain tribal Chiefs as "Kings" - in diplomatic passports, issued unfairly, in a clearly discriminatory fashion, to a select few, amongst the many traditional rulers in our homeland Ghana, and what in reality, actually is an ethnically-diverse nation-state of equal ethnic groupings: none superior or inferior to the other: and in which, in a strictly legal sense, no kingdoms actually exist (and we are a nation of laws, after all, are we not - not a banana republic in which the citizenry have to bow to the whims and caprices of plutocrats?).

Well, finally, one wonders if those hapless geniuses managing the government's PR, from both the seat of government at the Osu Castle, and from the information ministry, will now work in unison and seize this marvellous gift-from-the-gods, and political game-changer, which Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo's NPP has suddenly introduced into the national discourse.

Henceforth, they must repeatedly make the point, whenever "Enkoyie" is deployed by their political opponents, that the NPP knows perfectly well that it takes at least 10 years, to change the fortunes of nations: so how can any fair-minded and discerning individual, expect the NDC to. bring about the better Ghana that it is already slowly, surely and methodically bringing about, in any case, in a shorter time-frame than the NPP's stipulated minimum ten years? Time is not on their side - so they must have the wisdom to listen to free advice, humbly offered for purely altruistic reasons, by those who never seek a reward, for serving Mother Ghana. A word to the wise...

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

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


It so sad that in the 21st century ICT age, many ordinary Africans, still face unimaginable hardship daily. Many also have to live with the frightening thought, that they could suddenly become victims of the very system - which according to international conventions - is supposed to protect them.

This unfortunate state of affairs, is a painful fact of life for millions of struggling humanity, across the continent. And very often, many do indeed end up becoming victims of their nation's system - either by being brutalised, or when their luck runs out, get murdered by state security agents.

Perhaps the time has come for Africa's young generation, to start demanding that the African Union (AU), ends its shameful existence as an exclusive and wealthy club, which provides a place of refuge and comfort for cruel and despotic leaders: and is a protector of brutish and murderous regimes.

Who heard a whimper from the AU, whiles thousands were being brutalised and hundreds murdered, in the violent death-throes of repressive regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria (still an off-on work in progress, unfortunately)?

It is shameful that in all those instances, the AU failed to utter even a single word in condemnation of the abominable acts of savagery, visited upon citizens, completely fed up with being enslaved by their own governments, and demanding to be allowed an existence as free individuals: in truly democratic nations.

Pretty much the same was the case, when the eccentric tyrant, Muammar Gaddafi, decided to quell the uprising now threatening his regime's hold on power, by resorting to extreme violence - including the use of military aircraft, incredibly, to bomb his own people.

True to form, we are yet to hear from the AU - which had yet again, failed to express its disquiet and indignation, at the monstrous actions of Gaddafi's ruthless and murderous elite forces. It is not surprising that it has taken joint action by the "international community" to halt the Gaddafi regime's dreadful crimes against humanity. Left to the AU alone, the opposition in Libya would have been wiped out by now, no doubt.

The Libyan opposition's salvation has been the UN Security Council's passage of Resolution 1973 - which authorised the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace. And so luckily for the vast majority of ordinary Libyans, today, as we speak, military aircraft, ships and submarines from a coalition of willing nations, are busy degrading Gaddafi's military assets - to ensure that he no longer has the means to enable him to continue the massacre of his own people, and hang on to power - when a majority of ordinary Libyans are clearly tired of him, and want to live as free citizens in a proper democracy.

If ordinary Africans throughout the continent want to ensure that they too can live as free men and women in the land of their birth, and the continental home of their ancestors, in systems that do not brutalise and murder them when they criticise their leaders, they must mobilise young people around the world, to influence global public opinion, in their favour.

They can help create a tide of support for that end, by enlisting the help of their peers, particularly young people in the developed nations of the West, in leveraging social media network platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, to fight to bring about a new era of freedom and true democracy in Africa.

Why should scores of ordinary Ivorian citizens, for example, continue to live in fear of their lives, whiles others unfortunate to be in the wrong places at the most inauspicious of moments, are murdered in cold blood with total impunity by their killers - simply because there is no continental organisation with the moral fibre to bring to bring to book, those callous and narrow-minded politicians who must bear ultimate responsibility for the atrocities being committed daily, by their supporters. It is unfortunate that such people dominate the Ivory Coast's ruling elites - for their foolishness is slowly destroying what once used to be an oasis of stability and relative prosperity in West Africa.

Is it not time that the AU stepped in boldly, and took the steps necessary to ensure the protection of all the citizens of that tragic nation? Surely it is not beyond the AU's capacity to take a number of well thought out measures, designed to eventually remove Gbago from power: beginning with the authorisation of a naval and air blockade, to prevent both sides in the conflict, from acquiring yet more arms?

And should the AU not demand that henceforth, all African states must commit themselves to respecting the fundamental human rights of all the people of Africa, guaranteed by the UN Convention on Human Rights? Would it not be able to redeem its honour, if it became that kind of an international organisation? Question is, will they see the pressing need to change for the better? One certainly hopes so - speaking as a pan-Africanist and an Nkrumaist. A word to the wise...

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

Saturday, 19 March 2011


On the 13th of February, 2011, I posted an article on this blog, entitled: "What will Ghana do to help the people of Japan - in their hour of need?" In it, I mentioned my anxiety about not being able to contact my daughter Michiko and her family.

Today, I am happy to report that I have finally been able to make contact - and that they are all safe and very much alive! My dear Michiko just got back to Akita from Tokyo yesterday, as a matter of fact.

I am grateful to the many readers of this blog, who emailed and telephoned to commiserate with me, when they read the article. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart, for their concern - as do Michiko and her entire family!

Although I am no fan of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), they deserve to be commended for going to see the Japanese ambassador to Ghana, to share their horror at the recent tragic events in Japan and to commiserate with him.

Through the obviously grateful and deeply touched ambassador, they also sent their condolences, to the families of those who perished in that massive earthquake, and the terrifying tsunami that followed almost immediately, in its wake.

The quick reaction of the NPP's leadership, headed by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, the party's presidential candidate for the December 2012 election, surely puts to shame the government of the flat-footed (in this instance, ie!) National Democratic Congress (NDC), which on the surface of things (as far as one can tell!), has been extremely tardy in this instance, does it not, dear reader?

Alas, monitoring the Ghanaian media thus far, it does appear that the NDC government has no plans to venture beyond conveyance of its shock and sorrow at their plight, to the Japanese government and people. Does that mean that apart from the occasion during the so-called national day of prayer, when President Mills asked for prayers for the victims, as well as for the surviving families, and the Japanese nation as a whole, nothing more practical will be done - to show our solidarity with them?

How can that be - when Japan would have rushed to our aid, if such multiple disasters had struck Ghana, all at once? Surely, we must let the people of Japan know that we share their pain - by a simple and practical widow's mite gesture that we can afford despite our much-straitened circumstances? Mere expression of concern and sorrow, will not do - not when a nation that has been so generous to Mother Ghana over the years, finds itself experiencing such a calamitous moment - and faces a daunting rebuilding challenge.

We can do better than merely expressing our sorrow: and leaving it at that. The question is: When exactly will our slow-but-sure (and hard-of-hearing!) rulers send at least two plane-loads of dark Ghanaian chocolate and other cocoa products to Japan, accompanied by a team from the 48 Engineers Regiment (as some have suggested they do!), as Ghana's widow's mite contribution to the Japanese people, in their hour of extreme need? It is still not too late for the foreign ministry to act to redeem the Mills administration's sunken image in this matter, by so doing.

Above all, the minister who heads that key ministry, must be intelligent enough to understand clearly that it is important that they do not miss the opportunity that such a gesture would provide them, to end our days of infamy and ignominy, as a global super-power in begging-bowl diplomacy, once and for all.

Will that super-clever lot have the nous and gumption needed, to heed free advice humbly offered by a well-meaning patriot, who only wishes their often-irritating and patience-trying regime well, one wonders? Hmmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa!

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


News that the Virungu National Park in the DR Congo, one of the last African refuges left for the continent's mountain gorillas, will not be allowed by the government of President Kabilla, to be preyed upon by greedy foreign oil companies (desirous of exploring for oil in it, incredibly!), is one of the most refreshing news reports to come out of Africa for a long time.

The idea that the UK oil company, Soco International, wanted to be permitted to search for oil in the Virunga National Park in the first place, particularly at a time when global warming is impacting so negatively on the continent's natural environment, is simply outrageous.

Would Soco International dare ask the British authorities to allow it to explore for oil, in an area of the UK declared a national park, and widely acknowledged as one of the most bio-diverse places on the surface of the planet Earth (and on the UN's World Heritage sites list to boot, too!), I ask?

It is time that corporate entities that have a global footprint, adopted the environmental regulations of their countries' of domicile, as a global standard, which regulates their operations worldwide - if the standards of the country their subsidiaries operate in, are not as stringent as those of their country of domicile.

It is unethical to carry out operations that impact negatively on the natural environment in poor developing nations, if they would never do same in their own home countries, in similar circumstances. Does humankind not inhabit one biosphere, and is it not time that the corporate world took cognisance of that delicate fact of life - and became environmentally responsible, in every part of the planet Earth, where they pursue profits with their usual single-mindedness of purpose?

What will Soco International's chief executive, Roger Cagle, tell his grand children someday, when he retires: that he went to Africa, made a vast fortune - and in the process destroyed delicate ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots around the continent, at a time of global climate change: because it was all in a day's work for him, in the wealth-creation process that built their family fortune? Where is conscience and morality in this attempted gang-rape of Mother Nature, by Soco International?

It was brave of a number of Congolese politicians to put the preservation of the Virungo National Park ahead of the usual short-term cop-out excuses, which are are usually trotted out by spineless politicians on such occasions - job creation and attracting foreign investment. They are the usual good intentions that the road to the environmental equivalent of hell, is paved with - and are deployed across the African continent daily by not-so-intelligent politicians without a scintilla of vision in them, to aid super-ruthless investors driven by short-termism and unfathomable greed: in a blatant attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

All those DR Congo politicians in the government of President Joseph Kabilla, who said no to Soco International, are true African heroes - and will be so regarded by future generations of pan-Africanists and Congolese citizens (especially the 500,000 local families dependent on fish from Lake Edward!), till the very end of time. Conservationists from around the entire world too, salute them - and say bravo to each one of them!

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

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Eendemic Poverty Will Kill Ghanaian Democracy As Sure As Day Follows Night!

If it persists, endemic poverty will eventually kill Ghanaian democracy, as sure as day follows night.

To prevent that from happening, it is extremely important that our ruling elites understand clearly that they ought to end those endless and pointless arguments, as well as their inane, irritating and foolish point-scoring - and focus instead, on the hard work needed to finally eradicate the scourge of poverty, from Nkrumah's Ghana.

Perhaps the question we ought to ask is: Why do they not rather concentrate their considerable energies on thinking creatively about how Ghana can leverage the new green economy (including tapping the burgeoning carbon markets!), and focus on fashioning a new paradigm that ensures we are put on a path of sustainable development, and, at a time of global climate change, protect our long-term future that way - from the very real threat, which global-warming poses to our collective well-being as a people?

Ordinary Ghanaians are totally fed up with the endless and non-productive arguments of politicians.

Take the disingenuous and deliberately distracting argument about Ghana "going HIPC again" for example. Ghanaian politicians know full well that loans from the capital markets of the financial capitals of the developed world can lead to growth-inhibiting "debt distress" - the World Bank and IMF's euphemism for a poor debt-laden nation's inability to service its loans.

A classic example from the Kufuor-era, during the final years of his New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime, being our having to fork out some US$38.8 millions every six months, on coupon payments (paying interest) on the money raised from the former administration's foolish and short-sighted decision to issue sovereign bonds to the tune of some US$750 millions - and not making good use of most of the cash raised either, much to the Ghanaian nation-state's detriment: to compound that foolishness.

Yet, almost all our politicians know perfectly well, that the more sensible thing to do, if it becomes absolutely necessary to borrow, is to resort to borrowing concessionary loans from friendly governments, such as that of China's, for example. F

The reason being that such concessiinary loans by friendly governments pose very little threat to our country's long-term financial well-being. What proportion of the debts that were written off under the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC), were loans from private-sector financial institutions, I ask?

Perhaps the question we ought to ask is: Why don't our politicians spend their energies, arguing instead, about how best to ensure sustainable development, which will guarantee all of us a good quality of life and ensure that future generations of Ghanaians too, can, at the very least, enjoy the same living standard as ours today, if not better?

If our ruling elites want our nation to become a prosperous one for all its citizens (not just a "powerful few with greedy ambitions" - to quote Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah), then they must step out of the shadow of conventional economic thinking. It is such folly, to continue to pursue (and be blinded by "impressive") gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate figures, to the exclusion of everything else.

What is the point of impressive GDP figures, for example, if much of what constitutes that growth are economic activities that destroy the natural environment - when the preservation of our natural heritage guarantees and underpins a good quality of life for all who live in Ghana?

What self-respecting primary school child in Ghana, does not know that in the compilation of Ghana's GDP figures, account is seldom taken of how objective conditions in the real-world affect people's quality of life - as experienced in their everyday existential interactions which form part of the sum total of economic activities that make up Ghana's GDP? (Yes, dear reader, there is absolutely nothing wrong with even a semi-literate old fool like me bringing in a hint of Sartre and Kierkegaard into economic discussions - in the small matter of the formulation of every-day free-will purchasing decisions, by thinking and supposedly rational beings.)

That is why, for example, although the NPP's many apologists used to make such a din about Ghana's "impressive GDP figures" during the Kufuor-era, in the real everyday world of hard-working ordinary folk, life was a constant struggle for survival: in an existence that more often than not was based on a one-day-at-a-time philosophical underpinning, to keep highly-stressed individuals sane.

The absurdity of their political leaders' obsession with GDP figures, to the exclusion of everything else, for ordinary Ghanaians at that point in time in our history, was that whiles the politically well-connected who were the main beneficiaries of those "impressive GDP figures" prospered mightily under Kufuor & Co, ordinary people's lived experiences over that entire period in effect amounted to seeing a steady erosion in their living standards and a deterioration in the quality of their lives, as the years rolled by.

In the meantime, along with the expansion of the economy, and those "impressive GDP figures", the personal net worth of the lucky few thousands with solid political connections soared to stratospheric heights. And all that, whiles most ordinary Ghanaian families in urban Ghana were spending a substantial part of their stressed-out days regularly searching for water to fill their "Kufuor-gallons" with.

Yet, they witnessed the quality of life for their ruling elites, on the other hand, improving in leaps and bounds and in inverse proportion to the deterioration in their quality of life, as evidenced by the drudgery and misery piled upon them, as a result of a failing system being milked dry by a ruthless, amoral, and rapacious politically well-connected few.

Today, at a time of global climate change, under the Mills regime too - a regime that promised us a better Ghana - inaction on the part of officialdom has led to a vast swathe of the Ghanaian countryside being rapidly destroyed: as gold-fever drives mad those who are motivated solely by unfathomable greed and don't care one jot about the harmful effect their activities have on the natural environment, in our homeland Ghana.

They are gradually destroying much of our natural heritage, and with a degree of ruthlessness seldom seen in our history, and, alas, doing so with complete impunity. Their enormous wealth enables them buy off officialdom at the local level, with ease and very little pain financially.

Alarmingly, everywhere one turns, when one seeks to halt their illegal activities, one finds one's path blocked by the actions and inactions of the mostly poorly-paid public officials that those wealthy criminals are corrupting - the selfsame public officers who are supposed to be the Ghanaian nation-state's first line of defence against illegal activities that harm the natural environment.

The results of their success in inducing such officials to look the other way for them is that a blind eye is turned to their harmful, mostly-illegal and environmentally-damaging surface gold mining operations. If current trends, such as the current goings-on at Akyem Abuakwa and elsewhere in the Eastern Regions continue in the direction they are heading, we must not at all be surprised, if soon they all eventually metamorphose into local warlords.

That is exactly how Liberian and Sierra Leonian warlords started their rebellions against lawfully constituted authority in those two sister nations. Yet, the dangerous and harmful gold mining operations of these criminal syndicates yield a fair bit of ounces of gold, which doubtless contribute to our GDP. But, in effect, are they not actually ruining the quality of life of millions of rural folk nationwide, I ask?

Sadly, much of officialdom appears to be helpless in dealing with this particular group of ruthless criminal-types, whose untold riches, and greed for even yet more wealth, make them chase Mammon, their god, with such steely determination and tunnel-vision resolve. Yet, stopped, they must be, for all our sake!

The continuing upward climb in the price of gold has encouraged the criminal syndicates behind galamsey operations nationwide to strike alliances with equally ruthless foreign adventurers (mainly Chinese nationals).

Poverty and hopelessness, it is said, are the biggest enemies of democracy. It is therefore extremely important, if Ghanaian democracy as we know it, is to survive, that the iniquitous monkey-dey-work-baboon-dey-chop-nyafu-nyafu society, which the greed of our ruling elites has turned the Ghanaian polity into, is ended quickly - and the laying of the  foundation for the transformation of Ghana into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia is began in earnest.

More so, now that Ghana has started receiving revenues from the exploitation of its oil deposits (and in the not too distant future, hopefully, revenues from its natural gas deposits too). Our ruling elites ought to focus on policies that will ensure outcomes that give all Ghanaians a better quality of life than they presently have.

If members of our political class continue to fail to listen to those of us who over the years have constantly urged them to make the provision of modern, well-designed and well-built affordable public-sector housing estates (with different types of units available for renting out to ordinary people nationwide), a top cross-party national priority item, life for most ordinary Ghanaians will only continue to gradually worsen under the current system, I am afraid.

Ghana's ruling elites must take a cue from the canny Chinese leadership - which has just announced a housing programme to avert future social discontent. An important factor in having a bearable life, is a decent roof over one's head - with modern amenities such as a bathroom and lavatory; kitchen; electricity; running potable water 24/7; and rental rates that are reasonable and affordable.

The Ghanaian nation-state must therefore, either directly itself, or through tax incentives to attract the private sector to do so, immediately embark on a policy of providing good quality and affordable rental accommodation for all those Ghanaian citizens who can never build or purchase their own homes, within their lifetime.

That, and free education for the academically-gifted who cannot afford to pay fees (at all levels), are the key building-blocks in ensuring that all Ghanaians get a good quality of life. Unlike Ghana's ruling elites, ordinary people don't aspire to owning as many as twenty homes, ten luxury vehicles, have zillions in fifty different bank accounts and travel abroad every month to sleep in their luxury homes in the capitals of the developed world, for a few days, and return again to Ghana: to continue enjoying their zillion-dollar lifestyles.

Ordinary people do not ask for the moon - they just want to be able to work and receive fair compensation for their labour (or own and run small businesses that will not be taxed out of existence by profligate rulers!); have decent and affordable accommodation in planned and leafy neighbourhoods, with proper infrastructure; educate their children in good public schools (with no more than 25 children per class!); be able to pay their bills regularly; eat three decent meals daily; and have enough money from their wages put aside, to see them through life's emergencies, when they occur.

Above all, they want to live in a nation with a just and fair system, which makes all the above possible for the average hard-working family with simple middle-class aspirations. Surely, that is not asking for too much, is it, dear reader?

If our leaders continue milking the system, and exploiting our national economy for their personal benefit, as well as that of their family clans and their cronies, they must not be surprised if ordinary people eventually rise up one fine day and act to finally rid themselves of the unjust and iniquitous 4th Republic - and replaced it with a new 5th Republic that serves the interests of all Ghanaians: not just those of a powerful few with greedy ambitions. A word to the wise...

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

Sunday, 13 March 2011


The Japanese people have just suffered a most terrifying and horrific ordeal - as Japan experienced what has been described as one of the most powerful earthquakes recorded anywhere on earth, since records began. So powerful was the quake that the main Japanese island, Honshu, has apparently shifted some 7.8 ft according to the US Geological Survey - and it has also caused the earth's axis to shift some 9.8in, according to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

Tragically, that "superquake" was followed minutes later, by pounding 30ft tall giant waves - as a tsunami swept across the north eastern coastline. Compounding the misery and devastation caused by both natural events, was the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, on Saturday morning - another disaster that might eventually lead ultimately to an apocalyptic melt-down scenario, with consequences too ghastly to even contemplate.

The "superquake" and the tsunami, have caused widespread devastation, in what is one of Ghana's most generous friends, amongst the wealthy nations that have provided our country with development aid, over the decades.

The question is: what are the government and people of Ghana going to do to help our generous Japanese friends, in their hour of extreme need? They may not need our money, but they will doubtless welcome a widow's mite contribution from Ghana, made up, for example, of a plane load or two, of the products of the various cocoa processing companies in Ghana - for distribution to children in Japan (and any chocolate-loving adults who might crave them too).

A few that come readily to this particular old man's sieve-like mind are: Nestle Ghana's Milo; the Cocoa Processing Company's (CPC) Kingsbite dark chocolate (definitely one of the best dark chocolates in the world), and the CPC's equivalent of Nestle's Milo, the brand name of which escapes me; Cadbury Ghana's Richoco; and Cargill Ghana's chocolate milk drink (the brand name of which, alas, also escapes me).

Since the Crown Prince of Japan has visited Ghana before, and has met our current rulers, perhaps the donation from Ghana ought to be given to him to receive on the Japanese people's behalf. If someone from his family gives them out, one doubts that those receiving them, will be squeamish about making use of what they receive from us - simply because they have come from a poor developing nation in Africa that they know little about.

One hopes our current rulers will consult the Japanese Embassy here, and work something out quickly with them, to enable a donation of the kind suggested above, to be flown to Japan as soon as practicable. If we can pay for plane loads of Ghanaians to travel to watch and support our national football team, we can also afford to help our Japanese friends in their hour of need too, surely - despite our much-straitened circumstances?

Perhaps some Ghanaian troops from the 48 Engineers Regiment (and their equipment) could also be sent along with the consignment of cocoa products, to help their colleagues from the Japanese Self-Defence Force - as some form of practical help from the government and people of Ghana.

We must show the Japanese people that their tragedy touches our hearts. The amazing and inspiring story of how they rebuilt their destroyed nation, after the Second World War, and through hard work and discipline, turned it into one of the most prosperous societies on the face of the earth, is one that should inspire us too - as we seek to transform Ghana into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

Surely, we can fall on the US African Command for aircraft to transport the gift and troops - if we are unable to hire some quickly enough, for the usual financial reasons? Our hearts go out to the people of Japan - and our thoughts and prayers are with them. We wish them all well, and hope that things will return to normal again quickly, for such a hard-working and generous people, whom virtually all Ghanaians admire and respect so much.

Finally, and on a more personal note, I do hope that my Japanese daughter, Michiko Funayama, her mother Setsuko (and her grandparents, as well as all her Japanese blood-relations in the Akita area), whom I am unfortunately unable to reach yet, are all safe somehow. Incidentally, three days prior to the tragic events in faraway Japan, I had a dream that there had been an earthquake in Ghana.

Little did I know that a few days later, I would be full of anxiety for my own kin in Japan: which would be getting one of the most powerful quakes humankind has experienced yet. Life is indeed full of mysteries - and puny man completely at the mercy of the forces of nature: which we delude ourselves into thinking we have tamed. Unfortunately, the harsh and frightening reality, is that what little security there is in our fragile existence on this earth, is entirely in the hands of unpredictable Mother Nature, it would appear. How fleeting all life really is, too - come to think of it!

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

Saturday, 12 March 2011


When too-clever-by-half individuals, who know perfectly well that what they are doing is morally wrong and untenable, suddenly realise that they face persistent and principled opposition, they wheel out naive souls with big names, to lend respectability to their dodgy enterprise.

That is precisely what is now happening with that financial equivalent of a cosmic black-hole, the so-called "Brand Ghana Office" in the heart of the government of President Mills, at the Osu Castle. And how right President Rawlings was, when he hit out at the "greedy bastards" in the Mills regime - who clearly see the tenure of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, as a perfect opportunity to enrich themselves: at Mother Ghana's expense.

It is an outrage, that the government should continue wasting taxpayers' money, in such crass fashion. Why, is this not a regime elected to create a better Ghana for us all? And is this still not a nation in which in some public schools, for example, as many as three children have to share one desk: in classrooms jam-packed (incredibly!) with over seventy children in some cases - because of the usual crippling lack of funds to effect real change in our homeland Ghana?

And at a time when the government cannot even find money to fully implement the single-spine salary structure, which will help boost public-sector productivity, what right do these "greedy bastards" (who have now taken to hiding behind the coattails of decent gentlemen in important positions at the Osu Castle) have, to waste taxpayers' money for the sake of that monstrosity?

Why are they persisting with this scandalous idea that entails the spending of scarce public funds "branding Ghana" - when it is something that in Ghana's present dire public-sector financial circumstances, is best done as a private-sector initiative, led and coordinated by the advertising industry, as corporate Ghana's nation-building gift to Mother Ghana?

If they are so convinced of the merits and benefits of what they are doing, instead of continuing to embarrass the president personally, and their regime as a whole too, in such shameless fashion, why don't they, to prove their point, just take their bright ideas to the private sector - and raise money themselves to carry it out for the national good?

We will then see how many private sector companies will be prepared to lavish the kind of money now being wasted on this stupid game - because the money involved happens to be " Awuff Ghana abanyi asika". This really is enough to make one want to back Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings' bid to turf them all out of the Osu Castle - as one doubts very much, if she would allow a bunch of such boy-wonders to get this wheeze past her, under any circumstances: not even whiles she was asleep.

Why, is this not supposed be a regime that is different from that which went before it? So why should it continue to waste hapless taxpayers' cash, funding the money-wasting activities of the nebulous and daft "Brand Ghana Office" - that affront to common decency at the heart of what is supposed to be the regime of a man of integrity, President Mills?

Will this hard-of-hearing regime put a stop to this pure nonsense on bamboo stilts, once and for all, and act now to close down this useless and pointless entity, staffed by geniuses who wouldn't be employed even as temps, to make and serve the office coffee (let alone fill top positions that fell vacant today!), by any of the world's leading advertising agencies: were those canny entities even offered millions of dollars to do so for only a few days as a lark - for fear the boy-wonders would destroy what years had been spent building?

Just who are the faceless individuals and bold brains behind what we should never tolerate at a time when times are tough for so many ordinary Ghanaians, including government employees, one wonders?

Or does one have to pray to God Almighty himself - before the God-fearing gentleman who is now Ghana's president, H. E. President Mills, finally orders a halt to this idiotic and Quixotic rubbish? The argument isn't that we shouldn't "brand Ghana". The point, is that at a time of austerity, public funds should not be committed to doing so - and that if politicians insist on "re-branding Ghana", the private sector ought to shoulder the burden, not hapless taxpayers: for whom it is definitely not a priority. Period. Hmm, Ghana - enti yewieye paa enia? Asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa!

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

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Dear Minister,

For those who understand that our nation’s long-term prosperity, hinges largely on the transformation of rural Ghana, your appointment to the key local government and rural development portfolio, couldn’t have come at a more propitious time – and was a stroke of genius on the part of the appointing authority. Your experience as a regional minister, means that you bring to your new job, a clear understanding of the pivotal role played by the District Assemblies, in the grand scheme of things, in Ghana’s economic development – and appreciate the vital need to move rapidly towards a situation of stability and sustainability, in the matter of their overall funding.

To that end, I urge you to talk to the Indian High Commission as soon as practicable, with a view to seeking an Indian government grant, which will enable the Indian renewable energy company, Husk Power Systems (HPS), to partner all the District Assemblies in Ghana, to put up and operate biomass power generating plants, in public private partnership (PPP) joint ventures. Apart from securing a permanent and sustainable revenue-stream source that way, from the cash generated by selling excess power to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), producing their own power will also enable the District Assemblies to immediately free up much-needed resources, previously committed to paying for electricity consumption, for development at the grass-roots level.

Additionally, providing subsidized power to communities not yet connected to the national grid, as well as subsiding the power consumed by communities in their districts, which are already connected to the national grid (something that can easily be worked out when selling excess power to the ECG!), will dramatically improve rural living standards, in all the areas administered by District Assemblies.

There will be a spurt of economic activity, as a cornucopia of micro-enterprises – made possible by the provision of cheap power - spring up all over the Ghanaian countryside. It will also create an agricultural-sector supply chain, which will create jobs for hundreds of thousands of young people nationwide. An immediate example that comes to mind, being agricultural cooperatives made up of young farmers using the food and agricultural ministry’s block-farming model, to earn decent regular income, utilizing degraded land to grow feed stock to sell to the biomass power plants.

Above all, generating power that they sell an excess of, to the ECG, for cash, will free the District Assemblies from the straight-jacket tyranny, which their dependence on the District Assemblies’ Common Fund represents. Minister, there is no question that the success or failure of the Mills regime, will depend largely on what you are able to achieve in the relatively short space of time left for your National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime, led by the most honest and selfless leader Ghana has had, thus far, since the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in February 1966, President Mills.

The appointment of your erstwhile colleague, the Hon. Baba Jamal, who served as your deputy in your previous portfolio as eastern regional minister, to the information ministry as one of that ministry’s two deputy ministers, is also timely and very helpful. For, more than most politicians in Ghana today, he knows just how much has already been achieved by the Mills administration, since it came to power in January 2009. Keenly aware that your regime in effect inherited a ruined national economy, amounting to a poisoned chalice, it must rile with both of you that so many ordinary Ghanaians are still unaware of the many miracles achieved countrywide, by the present regime.

In my humble view, what is even more remarkable, is the sheer breadth of the scale of what has been achieved across the country, in a relatively short span of time, despite the near-insurmountable economic difficulties your regime initially faced.
Every sincere and fair-minded Ghanaian with even a modicum of understanding of the subject of economics, will acknowledge the parlous nature of the Ghanaian economy, at the time your government came into office, and the enormity of the challenge that re-balancing public finances under those circumstances entailed.

It is to its eternal credit that despite those challenges, the NDC government has succeeded in stabilizing the economy – and has now put Ghana on a path of sustained growth. It is ironic that those responsible for creating those selfsame challenges , have the gall to accuse your regime of failing to fix the economy, when your administration is actually already doing so, steadily and methodically.

What discerning and fair-minded Ghanaian (as opposed to the “My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong” myrmidon type of Ghanaian citizen, whose blinkered support for political parties and politicians, is slowly destroying our democracy!), does not know that the economy was more or less destroyed by the NPP’s own recklessness in accumulating, and leaving behind, a huge mountain of debt, on top of their irresponsible and destructive profligacy – driven by unparalleled profiteering (never once witnessed in Ghana before!) by their regime’s cronies in the Ghanaian business world, and occasioned by unfathomable greed, endless nepotism, and widespread corruption?

(Incidentally, President Mils must be a saint to extend a hand of friendship to the very individual who oversaw, with ruthless efficiency, the golden age of business for NPP crony-capitalist profiteers.

Was it not their gargantuan rip-offs, juicy deal after juicy deal, (often made possible by leveraging top-level insider-information!), which ultimately brought Ghana to its knees, at just around the time the selfsame Mr. Kufuor’s tenure as president of Ghana, mercifully came to an end, in January 2009?

What an odd gesture from President Mills, and what a pity, too. Alas, despite the smiles and bonhomie at their Osu Castle meeting, it is a fact that Kufuor & Co. cannot ever possibly wish either President Mills or his NDC regime well, in their hearts of hearts. Politicians can certainly be strange beings sometimes – why the sudden eagerness to please such completely ruthless political opponents, I ask? But I digress!)

Minister, it is unforgivable that the geniuses at the information ministry have allowed the many solid achievements of the NDC government to be overlooked by so many in our country – because they chose to waste precious time, and dissipate hapless taxpayers’ money in the process, waging a fruitless and pointless propaganda war. Their shortsightedness and lack of imagination, has resulted in a picture in the mind’s eye of the average Ghanaian, which does not in any way corresponded with the facts of positive achievement galore, on the ground nationwide.

Just what was the point in following the NPP’s dreadful and anti-democratic example, of buying off sections of the media, and individual journalists, I ask? Was the most sensible thing to do in an era of austerity and scarce resources, not to rather concentrate on resourcing the all-important Information Services Department (ISD)?

In the 21st century ICT age, surely, it ought to have dawned on even those geniuses, that if the ISD were well-resourced with affordable cutting-edge mobile broadband technology, it would make it the perfect value-for-money state entity for gathering information nationwide, about the government’s achievements: getting real-time local reaction to the impact of such new development on the quality of life at the grass-roots level, and disseminating same instantaneously, nationwide and globally?

As a result of a lack of creativity in their thinking, as well as their irritating complacency, today, the picture etched deeply in the sub-conscious of most ordinary Ghanaians, is one of a non-performing administration, besieged on all sides, and apparently bereft of ideas – the outcome of the NPP’s big-lie-narrative strategy, brilliantly summed up in that magical regime-changing propaganda word-of-mass-destruction, “Enkoyie”.

Luckily, discerning and fair-minded Ghanaians know that it is a completely erroneous and unfair picture of the record of the Mills administration, thus far: a false picture painted mostly by unprincipled and mercenary journalists to benefit their equally unprincipled the-end-justifies-the-means NPP paymasters.

So get to work, and act quickly Minister, to get the processes underway, which will lead to the District Assemblies using the PPP model to enter into joint-venture partnerships with HPS, to build renewable biomass power plants nationwide, to generate sustainable income for district-level development, and create much-needed wealth in rural Ghana; with affordable renewable energy as the foundation and catalyst, for grass-roots wealth creation.

Once ordinary Ghanaians are made to understand clearly the overall impact on rural Ghana, of such PPP’s when they are eventually completed, and can see concrete evidence of such work-in-progress District Assembly projects on the ground, across the nation, it will be hard-to-ignore tangible evidence, which will definitely help negate much of the NPP’s Enkoyie propaganda. I wish you well in the task before you – and Godspeed in its accomplishment, too!

Best wishes,

Kofi Thompson.

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

Saturday, 5 March 2011


It may very well be that vertiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) could play an effective role, in the long-term, in returning beaches along Ghana's coastline to a pristine condition, after the inevitable occurs - and some coastal community somewhere along Ghana's coastline, has to cope with spillage of toxic material from the production of oil, which contaminates their beach. Perhaps Tullow Oil, which seems to be underpinned by an ethical corporate governance ethos (unlike so many of the oil companies operating in Africa!), could play a leadership role, and get all the industry players to contribute to funding vertiver research by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The purpose of such research, would be to see whether vertiver could be added to the mix of measures taken by oil companies to clean up beaches in coastal areas affected by such mishaps. If it can, they ought to consider funding the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), to employ people to plant them along the entire coastline of Ghana.

I gather that in his wisdom, the King of Thailand formed a specialised army corps, whose sole mission is the cultivation of vertiver. It deploys detachment of vertiver-specialist soldiers nationwide to plant them - so that Thai society can benefit from its many beneficial properties. There is absolutely no reason why Ghana too should not benefit from this wonder plant.

Replicating that here with the NYEP, would be a perfect green corporate social responsibility project for Ghana's oil and gas industry, would it not - and be an example to that in Nigeria, too? One hopes Ghana"s dynamic environment, science and technology minister, the Hon. Sherry Aryittey, and her very able deputy, the Hon. Omane-Boamah, will get the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to liaise with the CSIR, so that they can work together with the oil industry on this - since they both fall under the purview of her ministry.

Perhaps Tullow Oil's executives could also contact Mr. Dale Rachmeler, the head of the Business Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC), who wears a second hat doubling as the head of the Vertiver Network, to take this a step further.

I shall end this piece by quoting part of a conversation with him, when informing me about the role a 5-acre vertiver nursery at Bunso, with which he is associated, plays in its cultivation by Peace Corps volunteers, in the north of Ghana:

" ...the Vetiver Network International.....has about 5000 volunteers. You can see what we do at
My annual budget is $2000 and we do promotion of sustainable resource
management via the use of a species of grass called Chrysopogon zizanioides,
Vetiver for short.

It is especially easy to use, costs virtually nothing, has a very long lifetime (80 years or more) and can completely stop soil erosion, improve soil fertility, mitigate against storm damage, reclaim polluted lands, and provide sustainable animal fodder along with a whole host of other uses.

It can grow on any soil type, on any slope in tropical environments. The only down side is that it does not do well in shade." End of quote.

Need I say more, dear reader? One certainly hopes that Tullow Oil will show yet another positive sign, that it is committed to being a good corporate citizen in our homeland Ghana (another example being its decision to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), so that ordinary Ghanaians - not just our mostly greedy and self-seeking ruling elites - can have a personal stake in their nation's burgeoning oil and gas industry!), by taking this up soonest, with Mr. Rachmeler. A word to the wise...

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

Thursday, 3 March 2011


It is reported that there has been yet another case of toxic waste finding its way into the waters off Ghana's shores, and along part of our coastline. Apparently, it was dumped by the American-flagged "Spirit River" - which was carrying toxic waste from the Benniboye oil fields in the Benin State of Nigeria, and was said to be destined for Trinidad and Tobago with its dangerous cargo. A local waste management company is said to have aided and abetted this monstrous crime.

One gathers the ship has now been impounded by the Ghana Navy. Splendid news, that. However, from one's occasional dealings with some government ministers, and the senior public officials who advise them, one cannot help but be rather sceptical about the tough-sounding noises emanating from hamstrung officialdom.

Ghanaians ought to wake up to the latent threat posed to their well-being, and that of the Ghanaian nation-state, by the pollution associated with deep-sea oil production (and on-land oil production for that matter!). One hopes that civil society actors, such as the NGO Wassa Communities against Mining (WACAM), will strengthen their technical and scientific partnerships, to enable them effectively fight for the protection of the livelihoods of coastal communities that depend on fishing for their survival.

WACAM must work with international environmental organisations, such as Greenpeace and WWF, to monitor the offshore activities of oil companies in Ghana. Our territorial waters have an abundance of some of the most valuable species of fish in the world - yet, foreign fishing companies are being allowed (by those whose job it is to bring them to book, by arresting and prosecuting them!), to get away with illegal fishing: and are rapidly emptying our territorial waters of such fish. O, Ghana - eyeasem oo!

Judging by the way some of the very powerful individuals at the presidency, are so easily inveigled by vested interests (particularly those with a global footprint!), into allowing them avoid punishment prescribed by our laws, when they cause damage to the natural environment, it will not surprise me in the slightest (although I'll be long dead by then!), if by the time our oil and natural gas deposits are depleted, we end up in the same situation that the hapless people of the Niger Delta now find themselves.

I truly fear for the future of our country, despite the fact that the ministerial team at the environment, science and technology ministry, is one of the hardest working in the Mills administration, and are the best ministers of environment Ghana has had, in our entire post-independence history, thus far. Luckily, both of them, unlike so many of their spineless colleagues, past and present, are not enthralled to the powerful multinationals, who have got away with abomination after abomination, as they trash our natural heritage with complete impunity (sometimes even getting the protection of our security agencies, when their perfidy becomes too much for the communities whose land was taken and given out as concessions, to bear any longer. Incredible, but true!).

From reports in the Ghanaian media, it is said that amongst a host of tough measures being taken (or that have been taken, as the case may be)
to deal with this particular incident, are the following:
(1) "Evacuation of the oil Base mud and loading into the ship"

My question: Who exactly will pay for that - Ghana, or the shipping company and the local waste management company that helped it in this outrage?

(2) "Decontaminating the Essipong area affected by the discharge of the liquid slops"

My question: By whom - and at whose expense? Above all, by which company exactly? It is important to note that this is a specialised field, demanding scientific and technical expertise, if it is to be effectively done - to ensure the long-term health of the affected communities and a return of the area's marine ecology, as well as that of the natural environment of the land-mass of that part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Ghana, to a pristine state.

"Paying a fine for any damage to the ecosystems"

My question: How much will they be fined? And precisely what steps have been taken to prevent yet another group of callous foreigners escaping punishment - and avoiding paying fines, as happened in the case of Kosmos Oil?

As we all know, that arrogant company succeeded in wriggling out of a fine, when some of the supine dim-wits amongst those who now rule us, decided to close their eyes to that crime against humanity committed by that egregious example of big-money, which pays obeisance only to the goddess of greed - and has scant regard for officialdom in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. Pity. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo: asem kesie ebaeba debi ankasa!

I am appealing to Ghana's dynamic minister of environment, science and technology, Mrs. Sherry Aryittey, and her very able deputy, Dr. Omane Boamah, to ensure that legislation is rushed through Parliament, under a certificate of urgency, which more or less is the same as that which the Americans have put in place to avoid another disaster like that of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spillage: and to provide regulators with laws with very sharp teeth to punish those whose carelessness leads to such mishaps and environmental disasters, even when they are not of an apocalyptic nature.

They must aim to leave a legacy that will ensure that there are tough laws in place, which make it possible for the Ghanaian nation-state to: ban the directors of companies that collude with polluters and those who dump toxic material anywhere in the sovereign territory of Ghana, from our oil and gas industries, from being company directors for life; impound and auction off any vessel or motorised form of transport involved in such incidents and events; and prescribe mandatory jail terms and exemplary fines, for all those involved in oil spillages and any attendant pollution, whatever the scale of spillage might be.

If that were done, posterity will ensure that their names are written in gold by historians - and future generations of Ghanaians will regard them as true heroes of Nkrumah's Ghana, till the very end of time. If you are listening, Mrs Sherry Aryyitey and Dr. Omane Boamah, your place in the Pantheon of great Ghanaians, awaits you. Indeed, your hour has truly come!

One hopes that both of you are prepared to act in the national interest, at what is Mother Ghana's hour of greatest need - and that you will not allow the greedy, powerful and selfish few, who unfortunately wield such a baleful influence over your regime, to triumph once again - and scheme successfully to serve the interests of callous foreigners for fat profits for themselves, at Mother Ghana's expense. For all our sake, please do not give them that opportunity, under any circumstances. A word to the wise...

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


Dear Editor,

A few days ago, I emailed a rejoinder to the Hon. Atta Akyea's. 23/2/2011 article, about Dr. J. B. Danquah - after speaking to you about it, in a telephone conversation. May I know when you intend to publish it?

Incidentally, I have read a few of your paper's recent editorials - and would like to commend you for the improved standard of English in those editorials.

However, worse than even poor English, is plagiarism - which is despicable. Of late, there has been a rash of it in the pages of your paper, and some of the many publications that dot the Ghanaian media landscape.

As is often the case, there is always an attempt to cloak it, but it is obvious, nonetheless. Style is a matter of background and education - and each writer must find his or her own voice.

The trouble about copying other people's style, is that the well-educated can always spot it - as the culprit's poor command of the English language, eventually gives him or her away, somewhere in the body of the piece they have written.

Perhaps it is a response to the growing criticism of a reading public, fed up with unprofessional journalists, who have failed to master the basic tool of their profession - the English language.

The leopard, they say, cannot change its spots. I am afraid there is no substitute for years of reading and the benefit of a pretty good (world class, ie) education in the matter of style.

Purge your paper of it - by insisting that all who provide content for it, eschew plagiarism. It will help enhance the reputation of your paper further, Opanin. Do have a lovely day, today - and peace and blessings to you.

Best wishes,

Kofi Thompson.

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