Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Was Pastor Otabil's Recent Intervention In Ghanaian Politics Suicidal?

That those  in the sectors  of the national economy that are booming,  are doing pretty well for themselves, can be seen in the many brand new vehicles clogging roads in urban Ghana;   the many gated-communities springing up in our major cities and the plethora of shops selling a conurcopia  of fast-moving expensive goods in cities and towns across Ghana.

Parents from this Ghanaian demographic, prefer to invest in the best possible education available in Ghana (and elsewhere), for their offspring.

In speaking out against  "free" education, Pastor Mensa Otabil - who  has worked his way up from a poor background to join this elite group in Ghanaian society -  was merely expressing what many in  this group of well-off  Ghanaians think and say in private.

That is why reputable  fee-paying tertiary institutions like Pastor Otabil's own Central University College,  and the  Aseshi University,  do not have enough places for all those wishing to be educated in them.

Alas, those who have been left behind as some  sectors of the  Ghanaian economy boom,  haven't been so lucky.

For those unlucky souls, life is incredibly tough. Sadly, it is this group of Ghanaians who are most likely to fall prey to the wiles of the cynical politicians making empty promises that they know very well are unlikely to be kept,  once they are in power.

Yes, a developing nation with aspirations -   such as the Republic of Ghana -   cannot afford not to have free education from kindergarten to tertiary level for all its citizens who have the aptitude to study.

However, it is imperative that voters insist that political parties committed to offering free education - to any level in the educational system - point to a credible and sustainable funding source, before deciding which way  to cast their vote.

Free education is far from being inexpensive. Ghanaians will have to make enormous sacrifices,  to enable such a policy to be successfully implemented, on a long-term basis.

It will be disastrous for Ghana,  if the usual recourse to implementing what the New Patriotic Party (NPP) often refers to as   "social intervention policies", without first securing a sustainable funding source (as they are wont to,  in such cases), is applied to implementing its "free" senior high school policy proposal.

The consequences would be dire for  second-cycle education in Ghana, and apart from destroying it, could even end up dislocating our national economy on top too.

That the NPP hasn't a clue how much "free secondary education" will actually cost Ghana over the four years it will be in office for, were its presidential candidate to be elected on December 7th, should be  obvious to any discerning and independent-minded observer.

It really is intolerable that because our nation is cursed with being saddled with millions of gullible "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-
wrong" myrmidon-types, on whose unfailing support the two biggest political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition NPP, can count on, the NPP could possibly win the presidential election without ever letting Ghanaians know exactly how much "free secondary education" will cost Ghana, and precisely where the money to fund it will come from, before the December polls.

It is no use saying funds for its "free" secondary education policy proposal    will come from oil revenues, when the NPP is perfectly aware that the  bulk of the relatively paltry sums we earn from that source - because our leaders signed some of the worst oil production agreements in the world,  during the selfsame NPP's tenure - are already more or less committed to the repayment of sundry loans.

Perhaps in what some see as an unwarranted intervention by him in Ghanaian politics, Pastor Otabil may have done our nation a world of good, in saying what he did about the "free" secondary education policy proposal.

Ghana is  a nation full of fence-sitting moral cowards.  There are many  who will  say that he was  being suicidal in saying what he did - in terms of incurring the wrath of those who some accuse of  using what they know is an empty promise, to win power in the December polls.

However, far from that, Pastor Otabil has earned the gratitude and respect  of many well-meaning Ghanaians - a majority of who   want a sensible national conversation about how best to fund "free"  secondary education in Ghana on a sustainable basis before the December elections.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Ghana's Political Class Must Work Closer Together - To Make Ghana Prosperous

Ghana's middle classes  are  incredibly hard-working and dynamic.

Across the country, the  small and medium-scale enterprises  they own and run, employ thousands of ordinary people - whose wages enable them  support their families.

Our dynamic middle classes  deserve exemplary leadership from our political class.

That is why the time has come for Ghana's  politicians  to be less confrontational and start working closer  together - in order to make the enterprise Ghana a more  efficient and competitive African nation-state.

It is only when our country is truly competitive and efficient that it can become prosperous.

Why should Ghana not  have the lowest corporate tax rates in Africa, for example, I ask?

And what catastrophe would befall our nation,  if we abolished personal income tax,  to put more money in the pockets of workers? Would that not be incentive enough to boost productivity in Ghana, I ask?

Will cross-party cooperation not  provide the political will to  cut down endless  bureaucratic red tape and remove the web of restrictive regulation that no longer serve any purpose in today's competitive world?

If Ghana's politicians worked closer together to further the national interest, could all the above  not be done in record time, dear reader?

And would many companies not move their African headquarters here to take advantage of such a business-friendly climate?

If taxes on businesses were the lowest in Africa, for example,  surely that will make the many informal sector business entities that are currently not paying their fair share of taxes, feel obliged to do so?

It simply does not make sense for those hard-working private individuals who contribute so much to wealth-creation in Ghana,  to be constantly hampered by the public-sector's inefficiencies.

If   our political class worked closer to create a more conducive climate for the private sector, Ghana will grow at a much quicker pace - and the real economy will expand faster to create more jobs for the younger generation: who hold the key to Ghana's future. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


We Must Never Accept What Politicians Say At Face Value

 Every time a political party comes up with a policy proposal that  will benefit  ordinary people, we must commend them for it, to encourage the other parties to do  same  too.

That   is why it is gratifying that at long last, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has finally come up with a policy proposal for  which they will not have to resort to Kweku-Ananse-economics, in order to try and justify.

That is  because it is a policy proposal that is  actually doable and feasible,  and,  above all,  just the sort of policy proposal that will impress an important Ghanaian demographic: the nation's small crop of independent-minded,  patriotic and discerning individuals whose crucial swing-votes now decide who becomes Ghana's president.

In a nation in which the two biggest political parties, the ruling National Democratic Congress  (NDC),  and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP),   can almost always  rely on the support of millions of "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-
wrong" myrmidon-types -  whose blinkered support for both  parties is slowly destroying Ghanaian democracy - it is comforting  to know that it is  the swing-votes of  those independent-minded and discerning individuals, which now  determine  the outcome of  presidential elections.

And luckily for Mother Ghana, those independent-minded and patriotic citizens, are also very much aware of the fact  that there is only so much available to the government of the day, by  way of tax revenues, to enable it implement its developmental agenda.

They are also aware that a large chunk of those revenues invariably go  into the  payment of public-sector employees and to ensure that  the machinery of state functions effectively.

It is this awareness of how little room for manoeuvre there is for every government,   budget-wise, which makes such individuals doubt the sincerity of those politicians promising to turn Ghana more or less into a land flowing with  milk and honey,  in which there are endless freebies for ordinary people, if voters elect them  to power in the December 7th elections.

In reality, every policy proposal that  offers  something "free" to Ghanaians, actually  has to be paid for,  out of those selfsame  inadequate tax revenues.

What that means in practice,  in the real world, is that the government of the day  has to resort to either borrowing  money or     levying  additional taxes,  or  make drastic cuts in government spending.

That is why discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians are keen that Ghana's politicians tell ordinary people,  precisely  where they intend to find the money from,  to pay for the freebies they are offering Ghanaians.

It is in the light of all the above that  as someone who for over two decades   has advocated that  tax holidays on rental-income  ought to   be extended  to real estate companies offering well-designed,  well-built and affordable rental accommodation to ordinary Ghanaians, I now feel able to commend Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) presidential candidate,  for assuring members of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA)      that that will be one of his government's key policies.

That is just the sort of  creative thinking by politicians that will redound to the benefit of ordinary working families in urban Ghana. Pity that the hard-of-hearing Mills regime never listened to those  of us who  gave  them that selfsame  idea for free.

So kudos to the NPP's Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo,  for proposing to  offer tax incentives to  real estate companies in Ghana, that  provide  affordable rental accommodation.

Let us hope that the many promises  that members of our political class (across the spectrum) are making to voters,   don't end in tears for the ordinary people of  Ghana,  eventually.

For this year's presidential and parliamentary elections, it really is vital that ordinary Ghanaians are a great deal  more discerning  than has been the case in the past.

Above all, instead of accepting things that Ghana's  politicians say at face value, ordinary people   must constantly question those politicians  making policy proposals in campaign speeches across the country,  in order  to get a  whole-picture-view of issues. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Should Strike Action By Public Sector Teachers & Healthcare Professionals Be Banned In Ghana?

If our parliamentarians see the need to adopt a consensus approach when it comes to the issue of  their emoluments, then they must also do so in tackling many of the problems that confront Ghanaian society.

Take the issue of students in public educational institutions not being taught,  and patients in government hospitals being  denied the services of healthcare personnel,  as a result of strike action, for example.

Can  it not be argued that it is totally unacceptable that ordinary people can be held to ransom in such unacceptable fashion in 21st century Ghana - by professionals trained at great cost to taxpayers?

Has the time therefore not  come for all the political parties in Ghana to unite and agree that after the December presidential and parliamentary elections,   Government and Parliament will be  asked to take immediate steps to ensure that legislation is passed, which   will ensure that never again will those being educated  in public educational institutions,  and patients attending public-sector healthcare facilities,  be denied access to the services offered by those institutions, as a result of  strike action by  teachers and healthcare professionals?

To whom much is given, much is also expected of. Compared to the many struggling families of working class Ghanaians, those who teach in public educational institutions and public-sector healthcare professionals,  are relatively much better off materially.

Surely, in this day and age, there can be no justification  for teachers and  healthcare professionals  putting  the education of those attending  public educational institutions in jeopardy, and the health of those who use public-sector healthcare facilities,  at risk, by embarking  on strike action?

Can it not be argued, dear reader,  that schoolchildren, students, outpatients and those on admission in government hospitals and polyclinics across Ghana,  are being held to ransom in such circumstances - and that in a sense it is an abuse of their human rights?

Yes, healthcare professionals and teachers are important to society, and must be well-compensated.

However, they must always remember that all Ghanaians have, of necessity,  to make sacrifices as we journey towards a prosperous future together.

What will happen to our nation and its people, were the men and women who serve in the Ghana Police Service,  the Ghana Armed Forces and the other security agencies - who put their lives on the line on a daily basis - to embark on strike action over pay, I ask?

The Ghanaian nation-state does not have a bottomless pot of cash sitting in the national treasury. For the general good, all those who work for the Ghanaian nation-state must be prepared to sacrifice a little for the sake of Mother Ghana.

If it were possible,  perhaps public-sector healthcare professionals and those  who teach in public educational institutions in Ghana, would be paid some of the highest salaries for healthcare professionals and teachers in the world - but in our present circumstances, that is simply not possible.

Perhaps providing accommodation near where they work across the country, would make a difference to  healthcare professionals and those who teach in public educational institutions.

Let Ghana's politicians agree that that will be done in phases, until they are all housed near where they work.

Since their work is of an essential nature, for the common good, should Ghanaian politicians not  unite to   pass legislation banning strike action by public-sector healthcare professionals and teachers working in public educational institutions?

One hopes that that  will be done quickly -  for the sake of ordinary people in Ghana. A word to the wise.

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Friday, 19 October 2012

No Politician Who Fails To Publicly Publish His Or Her Assets Is Fit To Be President Of The Republic Of Ghana

Sometimes one finds it extremely difficult to understand the cognitive processes, of the geniuses who call to berate one, because they disagree with something one has written. Hmm, Ghana, eyeasem o - asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

I wrote and posted an article entitled,  “Ghanaian Media: Force Presidential Candidates To Publicly Publish Assets - & Political Parties To Disclose Funding Sources," on my Ghanapolitics Google blog,  yesterday.

Apparently, I have been bought by Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom – according to the aforementioned genius who called to malign  me yesterday,  after reading the article mentioned above. Wonders.

To begin with, my conscience is not for sale at any price – and has never been, and will never be.

Everything I write and have written in the past has been underpinned by national interest considerations only.

I love Mother Ghana passionately – and happen to be very proud to be a Ghanaian national.

That is the ethos that underpins my journalism – which is of the ethical kind: and has always been.

I have neither ever met nor  spoken to Dr. Nduom in my life before. I commended him in the blog article  I posted online yesterday, simply because it just so happens that he has done something, which for the past 20 years I have suggested  that members of our political class, and the parties they belong to, ought to do, in the national interest: publicly publish their assets and sources of campaign funds, to help fight high-level corruption in Ghana.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom is the first Ghanaian politician who has publicly given a solemn undertaking to Ghanaians - in a campaign for a presidential election in which he is a candidate - that he will publicly publish his filed tax-returns, as well as disclose the source of funding for the party he founded, the Progressive People's Party (PPP).

He deserves to be praised by every patriotic Ghanaian for so doing.

In my view, for now,  it has put clear blue water between him and all the other presidential candidates for the December election. And if they fail to do same, then they do not deserve to rule our nation.

I wish President Mahama -  whose party's principled and most honest  members  I have some sympathy for -  had done so,  when some of us called on him to publicly publish his assets and those of wife, Lordina, at  the beginning of his tenure as president.

However, much as I wish it was him who had done so instead of Dr. Nduom, for the sake of  our country, one must not  ignore the fact that thus far,  President Mahama has failed to publicly publish his assets and those of his wife.

At this critical stage in  its history, no one who fails to publicly publish his or her  assets, is fit to become president of the proud African nation-state, which the selfless Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah founded.

The Republic Ghana, of today,  is not the nation it was four years ago. Ordinary Ghanaians have come to understand that good governance is  of huge importance in ensuring a fair society in our country. 

That is why if they want the votes of the discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians, whose crucial swing-votes now decide who becomes president of the Republic of Ghana,  the other presidential candidates  too  must follow Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom’s shining example. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Ghanaian Media: Force Presidential Candidates To Publicly Publish Assets - & Political Parties To Disclose Funding Sources

 The Ghanaian media is failing Ghanaians by not demanding that presidential candidates in the December 2012 election ought to  publicly publish their assets (and that of their spouses).

And,  worst of all, the media  have failed to  call  for political parties to disclose their funding sources.

Surveying today's  political landscape,  and judging by the campaign narratives we have heard and read   thus far, were the  Ghanaian electorate  just  as discerning as that found in  the  United States of America and  the United Kingdom, there's no question that Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom and his Progressive Peoples Party (PPP),    would win the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections,   by a landslide.

Why, when they know it is vital evidence that  a   political leader and the political party he or she leads are incorruptible,    would American and British voters  cast their  ballots  for a presidential candidate and political party, other than the candidate and party demanding that presidential candidates publicly publish their assets and filed tax returns, and that political parties ought to  disclose their  funding sources, I ask, dear reader?

Sadly, in Ghana, this remarkable and positive  development in the politics of our nation is yet to attract any media comment at all. Amazing.

Perhaps it is no accident that Ghana's mostly corrupt media entities and   journalists have not  shown the slightest  interest in bringing this most positive of campaign narratives  to the attention of voters.

Yet,  ordinary people   now fully understand  that the quality of life for ordinary Ghanaians  will never improve,  if high-level corruption in Ghana is not dealt with decisively once and for all.

As things stand, by declaring that he will publicly publish his assets and filed tax returns, as well as disclose the source of funding for the party he founded and leads, it is  Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom and the party he founded (the Progressive Peoples Party), which deserve the mandate of Ghanaian voters.

Surely, on behalf of the good people of Ghana, the Ghanaian media ought to demand same from all the other presidential candidates and  the parties they lead? Will that not help ensure good governance at long last, dear reader?

As a people, if we want to end high-level corruption in the years ahead, then the  time has come to force all the political parties in Ghana to disclose their sources of funding.

Shining the spotlight on that aspect of our politics  will lessen the influence of the lobbyists and influence-peddlers, who spread the miasma of corruption in our system.

It is the opaque nature of the financing of the activities of political parties that is at the heart of high-level corruption in Ghana.

Consequently, in a corrupt society such as ours, it would be a grave error of judgement on the part of voters, to   trust any presidential candidate who does not publicly publish his or her assets and filed tax returns (as well as that of their spouse).

And to vote for any political party that is unwilling or unable to disclose all its sources of funding,  would be suicidal on the part of  Ghanaian voters.

Given the parlous nature of our  public finances, every voter in Ghana must take into account the fact that this is a  nation that spends the bulk of its tax revenues  paying public-sector employees.

It will be in their interest, for that reason,  to  demand that  political parties show them precisely how they intend to fund  all the policy proposals they make in their manifestos.

Voters  must be particularly wary of those politicians who like to give ordinary people the impression  that   Ghana can be turned into paradise -    the day after they are elected to rule Ghana. It won't happen.

So to help fight high-level corruption, voters  must  neither trust nor  vote for  politicians and political parties that are unwilling or unable to publicly publish their candidate's personal  net worth and  disclose the sources of their party's funding.

Above all, for the sake of Mother Ghana, the media  must help end the continued  entrenchment of  the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the NPP   in the  minds of the gullible millions of "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong"  myrmidon-types.

Their  blinkered support for those two leading political parties is slowly destroying  Ghanaian democracy.
It must end in this election.

The Ghanaian media  can help us make a start in that direction,  by demanding that all the  presidential candidates in December election publicly publish their assets (and that of their spouses) and latest filed tax returns.

Above all, the Ghanaian  media  must  insist that political parties fully disclose their funding sources. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Ghanaians Want To Live In A Meritocracy – That Amply Rewards Honest Hard Work & Ambition!

Ghanaians must  thank Providence that just recently   a historic  meeting took place between the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC),  former President Rawlings,  and the presidential candidate of the  New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo.

It is yet another sign that indeed the roots of Ghanaian democracy have deepened considerably.

It is hard to imagine such a meeting taking place in the past. That it took place,  does indeed auger well for Ghana's future.

Perhaps it  is indicative of  the fact that it is gradually dawning on members of our political class that ordinary Ghanaians simply want their homeland Ghana  to remain peaceful  and united.

We want to see consensus and national-interest-oriented politicians like the NPP's Alan Kyremateng;  the NDC's Alban Bagbin; the Convention Peoples Party's (CPP) Professor Akosa playing  leading roles in their parties.

Democracy is not  just about institutions. It is also a way of life based on tolerance.

Our politics must be a competition of ideas. Instead of exchanging insults and demonising each other,  Ghanaian politicians  must share with ordinary people,   the nature of the society they want to fashion for  today's Ghana.

At a time when global climate change poses a potential threat to our very existence, politicians  must tell Ghanaians precisely how they plan  to ensure the rapid development of Ghana -  using  a sustainable  green paradigm that  ensures a good quality of life for all Ghanaians.

The vast majority of ordinary people want the generality of the Ghanaian populace   - not just a powerful and well-connected few with greedy ambitions - to benefit from economic growth in our homeland Ghana.

A dynamic and aspirational people, Ghanaians want a climate in which they can utilise their talents and  improve their living standards through their own effort.

They do not want to be dependent on   the munificence of the enterprise Ghana.

They simply want a corruption-free model of development - with the lowest  corporate tax rates in Africa; no personal income tax to encourage individual initiative; a business bank that charges interest rates that are the lowest on the continent, and,  above all,  efficient utility services and modern infrastructure.

Put simply, dear reader, Ghanaians want to live in the most liberal and pro-business society in Africa.

They are desirous of living  in a meritocracy in which hard work is amply rewarded, and the honest and ambitious are guaranteed  a level playing field in which to thrive.

One hopes members of our political class will come up with policy proposals that take all the above into consideration. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


We Cannot Elect Politicians To Do The Impossible Without Ending Up Being Disappointed!

The nether reaches of the illiterate mind happens to be  dark, mysterious and complex  - and is invariably full of negativity. That is why we must rid our nation of illiteracy - in order to tap the talents of the many geniuses whose lives it blights.

A few days ago,  an early evening incident that  took place  where I live, forcefully  drove   home to me the  urgent need to provide free education from kindergarten to tertiary level, to all Ghanaians with the aptitude to study, as soon as practicable.

Determined that I would not tolerate being threatened and intimidated in my own home under any circumstances -   by someone   I was being a good Samaritan to,   by providing free accommodation for -   I called out the police.

I had literally had enough of lip from  an eavesdropping  nosy-parker and freeloader, who wanted to get away with doing as little as possible around the house.

A desire to help an acquaintance who is an illiterate,  has turned out to be one of  the worst decisions  I ever made.

Invited into my home to occupy the boys' quarters, in the end,  it was as if it was me who had been invited to live with that person, instead of  the other way round.

Alas, as usual my gentle and caring nature had been taken for a sign of weakness - and I was having to deal with a two-captains-in-one-boat situation:  being forced unto me by a wolf in sheep's clothing.

It is such a pity that arrogance and pride can ruin things for some of those who desperately need a helping hand in order to lift themselves out of poverty and  progress into Ghana's burgeoning middle class.

A perfectionist and a genius with the hands, that illiterate could so easily have become an engineer  or designer, had the opportunity to acquire an education  come the way of that  insolent individual.

It is a sad story that illustrates perfectly why  the number of illiterate Ghanaians must be lessened, and why the  provision of free education from kindergarten to tertiary level is a must in our country - and vital if we are to advance as a nation.

As a people we must do all we can to take the bold and  hard decisions necessary to make it possible for our nation to provide free education from kindergarten to tertiary level on a sustainable basis.

The politicians (from across the spectrum) now cynically exploiting the provision of free secondary education for  the masses of our people,  for political gain,  must be more responsible in this matter.

They must end the Kweku-Ananse-economics employed as evidence of their ability to provide fully-funded free secondary education in Ghana.

It is intolerable that the media is allowing them to get away with what actually amounts to dissembling. We must be told exactly how this additional burden will be paid for.

Rather than resorting to  smoke-and-mirrors economics, politicians  must be bold enough to  tell the good  people of Ghana about  the hard decisions needed to be taken in order to make it possible to fund free education at all levels in Ghana.

As things stand, in the real world, even at the secondary level, there is simply no money available to fund such an undertaking,  without destroying  secondary education in Ghana and dislocating our national economy.

Whatever we do, we must find the money for it by first cutting unnecessary public-sector spending. And where to cut such spending, is the question, dear reader.

For example, to conserve taxpayers' money,  should we not let market forces decide the fate of our national currency and the  prices of petroleum products in Ghana - instead of the financial equivalent of pouring water into a sieve that current interventions represent?

Surely, if we were more sensible and decided that propping up the new Ghana cedi with precious taxpayers' cash is a mug's game, and that  our central bank and  those managing the national economy must be forced to stop playing it,   could  we not make some savings in so doing? Over the years  has it not cost us trillions of cedis?

Ditto admitting that  allowing criminal syndicates to grow super-rich smuggling subsidised petroleum products into the nations that border Ghana is daft and untenable, and must be brought to an end and replaced with a regime in which prices of petroleum  products are determined by market forces?

Only heaven knows the amount of taxpayers' money poured  into  this financial equivalent of a blackhole over the years.

So having found some real-world savings  in both instances outlined above,  in a nation with limited finances, could we not find other real-world savings  too,   in  our national economy - and  then  proceed to find a  revenue-generating funding source which could then be  ring-fenced,  as a  sustainable funding-source for implementing the free secondary education policy proposal?

For that reason alone, has the time not come to consider allowing   market forces to decide the fate of our national currency,  the  prices of petroleum products,   and perhaps abandon  the policy of subsidising  other  goods and services altogether,  to save money to fund free education in Ghana?

No pain, no gain. We can't eat our cake and have it.

There is a  sense of déjà vu in the December presidential and parliamentary election  campaign narratives one hears.

When he was campaigning to be elected president, perhaps if Ghanaians had demanded that Professor  Mills outline precisely how he was going to make the promised drastic reduction in fuel prices, he would never have been elected to attempt to do the impossible,  in a cash-strapped nation whose people  refuse to allow politicians to abandon subsidising petroleum products.

To ensure that we are not disappointed yet again, ordinary Ghanaians must simply  be told how free secondary education can be funded on a sustainable real-world basis, before the December polls.

We must not expect to elect politicians to power to do  the impossible without ending up being disappointed by unfulfilled promises. Period. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Saluting Examples Of The Very Best In The Ghana Police Service!

At about 1am on the morning of  9th October 2012,   we heard our next-door neighbours shouting "Akronfuoo, akronfuoo, akronfuoo!". It was immediately followed by a phone call from them alerting us to the  fact that the burglar  had jumped into our place.

So we  immediately called the Ghana Police Service. Within ten  minutes, a patrol team  (Monitors Accra  Team 1 -  telephone number: 0243536898) had arrived to answer our distress call.

As a people we are fond of condemning the Ghana Police Service in blanket fashion. Yet, on a daily basis,  they work round the clock risking their lives  to keep us safe and secure.

I did notice that they had a brand new Toyota Landcruiser - clearly a factor in their ability to respond so quickly to our distress call.

It is important that we ensure that the Ghanaian nation-state constantly strives  to equip the Ghana Police Service regularly - particularly empowering them to communicate whiles  on the move.

Although the burglar  had disappeared by the time they appeared on the scene,  my neighbours and I were relieved and pleased that they showed up.

My neighbours and I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the police  officers who came to our rescue so quickly.

They were very professional in their approach. Indeed, to reassure  us,  they even returned  again after a while - to make sure we were actually free of the intruder.

We would like to commend the police officers who constituted that 1am 9th October 2012  Accra Monitors Team 1,   to   the Inspector General of Police (IGP). He can be proud of them - for they are examples of the very  best in the Ghana Police Service.
We salute them!

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Saturday, 6 October 2012

President Mahama: Act Before It Is Too Late!

In a nation in which altruism has virtually died out, people are always suspicious of the motives of those whose  actions are guided by altruism.

Over the years, some of us  have  given creative and original ideas freely,  to those at the helm of affairs in our country - because we love our nation passionately: and believe that there is enough wealth within Ghana  to ensure a good quality of life for all Ghanaians:  if our country  is governed well and justly.

When the fate of Ghana Airways was finally sealed by those who wanted to asset-strip it with perfect legal covering, it was  set up for the corporate equivalent  of murder-by-contract-killing.

At the time, whiles the would-be asset-strippers' co-conspirators in the media  were busy pulling wool over the eyes of Ghanaians disseminating endless dissimulation,  on their paymasters' behalf, some of us suggested that a joint-venture with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airlines, would revitalise Ghana Airways and make it a profitable airline.

Needless to say, that advice fell on deaf ears - and the rest, as they say,  is history.

Sir Richard Branson, of course, is someone  who famously refuses to pay bribes in his business dealings - so there was no way a joint-venture between  Virgin  Atlantic Airlines and Ghana Airways, could have occurred.

It was of no personal benefit to the powerful few with greedy ambitions - who sometimes give the impression aspire to 100 percent ownership of  the enterprise Ghana. Hmm, Ghana - asem ebaba debi ankasa.

Just a couple of days ago, I was railed at,  for close to half an hour,  by someone who telephoned me after reading an article of mine entitled:  "To The Ghanaian Feminists Forum - Power To Ghanaian Feminists Worldwide!".

Incredibly, that misogynist  did not understand why I had suggested that linking up with Alhaji Asuma Banda,  in order to  approach Ryanair's Michael O'Leary to set up a joint-venture with Antrak Air,  to rival Sir  Stelios Haji-Ioannou's Fastjet  using the low-cost carrier business model, represented a business opportunity for  brilliant female Ghanaian entrepreneurs  in  the diaspora. Amazing.

To that furious chap, I was a "big fool" for not approaching Alhaji Asuma Banda myself. Did I not realise it was a "golden opportunity" for me "to become seriously rich"? Why do some people not realise that not all  Ghanaians worship money, I ask?  Such is life.

What that concerned gentleman risking a heart attack with his fury,   did not know,  was that long before Sir  Stelios Haji-Ioannou dreamt of setting up Fastjet, I had suggested to the geniuses now ruling us, to liquidate Ghana International Airlines (GIA),  and invite Sir Stelios  to set up a low-cost airline with Ghana,  as a joint-venture to replace GIA.

Needless to say, sound advice that today could enable them point to a profitable national carrier as a tangible  achievement of their hard-of-hearing regime - had they paid heed to that piece of free advice -  was ignored by the exasperating Mills administration.

As it happens, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou also famously refuses to pay bribes in his business dealings. Alas, loving Mother Ghana passionately,  can be a very frustrating experience sometimes.

That is why it is to the eternal credit of those in the Ministry  of Information and that of  Local Government and Rural Development, that they  immediately grasped  the gem of the idea for what eventually became the Local Enterprises and Skills Development Programme  (LESDEP), when I outlined it in a number  of my previous  articles.

Their confounded party owes them a huge debt of gratitude indeed - for were  enough of the teeming  underclass of unemployable youth to get to know about it nationwide, it could end up becoming a game-changing narrative for President Mahama.

The pleasure one gets when one's humble ideas, offered freely in one's writing,   help improve the lives of one's fellow citizens -  because our leaders take them up -  is immeasurable.

For the information of the furious  gentleman who called to insult me for being altruistic, that  is reward enough for a "big fool" like me. God give me patience.

Finally, dear reader, it is still not too late for President Mahama to listen to those of us who say that he must publicly publish the assets of both himself and his wife.

Had he done so when we first suggested it to him, today,  he would not be the target of the sustained and vicious attacks,  by the hypocrites now destroying his chances of being re-elected, by constantly questioning his integrity.

And whiles he is at it, let him also act finally  to rid himself of the power-broking  self-seekers who held our late leader hostage at the Osu Castle and went on to destroy President Mills' legacy with their selfishness.

Above all, let  him  bring back Martin Amidu  to signal to ordinary  Ghanaians that he is indeed determined  to fight high-level corruption in Ghana. The added bonus in so doing, is that It will put clear blue water between him and his party's main opponents, the New Patriotic Party.  But he must act before it is too late. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Those Promising It Must Tell Ghanaians The Full Cost Of Implementing A Free Secondary Education Policy Over 4 Years

The New Patriotic Party's (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo,  succeeded in saving  himself from considerable embarrassment,  when he declined  to tell   the BBC's Stephen Suker, the source of funding for the implementation of his party's free secondary education policy proposal,  during his appearance on the BBC's  flagship interview programme,  Hardtalk, on 5th  March,   2012.

He did so by telling Stephen Suker that he preferred to tell the Ghanaian people first - "the fact that many Ghanaians were actually listening on radio,   and watching  the interview on television as well as online, obviously lost on him" a wag I know said to me after the event.

Perhaps Mr. Suker allowed him to get away with that  gaffe, simply  because he thought there had to be  a cultural reason for the unheard of (to a sophisticated Western media professional's mind) curiosity of a leading African politician vying for the presidency of his country,  being unable and unwilling  to reveal where exactly the money to fund a policy of free secondary education,  promised voters by his party in a presidential  election,  would be coming  from.

 Refusing to let voters know the full cost of implementing such an important a policy proposal in a widely watched  interview on television,  would have immediately destroyed Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo’s chances of being  elected  as president,    had he  been vying for power in an election campaign in any of the leading Western democracies.

Surely,  the time has now come for the more patriotic,  principled and responsible sections of the Ghanaian media, to  insist that all the nation's political parties promising voters free secondary education in Ghana,  ought to  provide  Ghanaians with more detailed information about the implementation of that policy when they win power in the December polls?

It is important that a policy proposal that clearly resonates with  an overwhelming majority of ordinary Ghanaians, is explained in practical terms,  in all its aspects - otherwise some political party could ride on its coattails to victory when in fact it would not be able to implement the policy when in office: without causing irreparable damage to the second-cycle educational  system and dislocating our national economy.

For example, how much and where  exactly  will  the funding for implementing that policy come  from - and will it be sustainable over the 4-year tenure as president of the candidate promising it?

And at what point exactly,  will a parent with two sons in say  Prempeh College and daughters each in St. Louis and Yaa Asantewaa respectively, for example, stop paying their fees -  when the presidential candidate promising free secondary education assumes office in January 2013?

And, what, dear reader,  does "free secondary education" entail for parents,  whose wards are in secondary schools across Ghana, and  currently paying for a plethora of items listed in their wards' schools' prospectus?

Will they no longer be required to pay for items    ranging from PTA  through textbooks to building-funds,  for example?

If that will be the case, then  at what point exactly ought Ghanaian parents  to expect to be told to cease  paying for all the sundry  items  listed above - when an NPP, Convention Peoples Party, Peoples National Convention   or Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) presidential candidate (all of whom are dedicated to offering some form of free secondary education to Ghanaians  )  is sworn into office as Ghana's new president, after the December 7th presidential poll?

Put simply, dear reader, Ghanaians must be told exactly how much free secondary education will cost over the 4-year tenure of the presidential candidates promising it - and from where precisely the money to pay for it will be coming. Otherwise a gigantic fraud is being perpetrated against the people of Ghana, simply to enable politicians ride to power mining a rich seam of popular expectation predicated on an absolute falsehood. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

To The Ghanaian Feminists Forum - Power To Ghanaian Feminists Worldwide!

In the war of the sexes, I am firmly in the camp of the female of the species.

I was brought up by my  dear mother (God bless her!) who is now 86 - and who like many Ghanaian women made enormous sacrifices  to do so.

May I humbly suggest that you use your new online forum to encourage Ghanaian women in the Diaspora to  have big dreams - and set up businesses wherever  in the world they live?

Money talks - and the world indeed does often listen attentively to those that have it.

Above all, those lucky women who have it, or know where to source it relatively cheaply for projects, can create much-needed jobs for the teeming youth in our homeland  Ghana.

As my widow's-mite-contribution to your forum, I'd be happy to place my personal network (free of charge; ditto pester-free) at their disposal - and also share ideas with them to enable them leverage the  fair-trade sector for various niche markets, they might be interested in going into.

For example, some of the best dark chocolate in the world is manufactured by the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) at the port city of Tema.

Surely, there are enough brainy Ghanaian businesswomen in the UK, the EU, the US and Canada, who can convince supermarkets in the above named nations  to have their own-brand chocolates manufactured by the CPC - and imported from Ghana as fair-trade chocolate by the likes of Tesco and Walmart?

Yet another example of a business opportunity for them: Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary  has an intense personal rivalry with Easyjet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Well, as it happens, Sir Stelios is  setting  up a low-cost carrier in Africa known as Fastjet.

Is there no Ghanaian businesswoman savvy enough to convince Antrak Air's  Alhaji Asuma Banda to join her in linking  up with Ryanair to set up a rival pan-African carrier to compete with Fastjet -  to offer safe and affordable point-to-point flights between major cities in what some describe as the international aviation world's last frontier,  Africa?

Aside from lucrative intra-Africa low-cost flights, imagine the money to be made by such a joint-venture from  affordable flights between Africa and the continents of Europe and North America by such a low-cost carrier, ladies.

Ghana needs an internet-based insurance company.

Why do Ghanaian businesswomen overseas not convince internet-based insurance companies wherever they  live in the Diaspora,  to come to Ghana,  in a joint-venture with a financial services sector entity here,  like the UT Group for example?

Finally, through your  agency, I would be happy to introduce (free of charge!)  any Ghanaian female entrepreneurs out there with big-ticket  projects (such as: building a new bridge across the Volta River as a private public partnership (PPP) turnkey project; building a railway line  from Accra to Pagaa) to a  Dutch private equity financing facilitator I know, who will facilitate private equity financing for their dream-projects (from US$20 millions upwards, ie).

Incidentally, the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) has many Nkrumah-era factories available for sale that need tens of millions of US dollars to revamp them. Opportunity beckons. Power to Ghanaian feminist women worldwide, say I!

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Women In Ghana Deserve Better From Ghanaian Society Than Is Presently The Case

In a scene repeated daily in thousands  of family homes across Ghana, women come home in the evening -  from working in their farms,  market-stalls, shops,   sundry  businesses,  offices in public and private entities   -  and change from their work-clothes into more casual clothing,  to  prepare and serve the family's evening  meal.

Be they lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, research scientists,  dressmakers,  market women or farmers, those amongst them who have them,   often wake up at dawn to ensure that their  children are readied for school,  and that each member of  the family can have breakfast and a packed-lunch for the day.

Alas, it is a thankless family task that is invariably taken for granted by their husbands and children.

And in a nation full of philandering males, many children owe the stable home environment they grow up in, to the forbearance of their more responsible and enterprising mothers.

Indeed,  there are many successful women and men in Ghana  who owe their high status in society,  mainly to the sacrifices made by their mothers   to ensure their education.

And  those who travel on our nation's highways late at night, for example, will attest to the fact that pick-up trucks carrying farm produce,  with  the women owners of the  said agricultural produce squeezed into the tiniest of sitting spaces  in the pick-up trucks' buckets,   or atop the produce, are indeed a familiar sight on roads nationwide.

And those brave and hard-working women are at it rain or shine. As a matter of  fact,  the purchase and   distribution of food in our country,  is largely  in the hands of women entrepreneurs - who also dominate large areas of the informal sector of Ghana's  real  economy.

Has the time not come, dear reader,  for our nation to end the marginalisation of women in Ghanaian society - and finally acknowledge their immense contribution to the development of the enterprise Ghana,  over the years since independence?

As we speak, valuable taxpayers' money is being poured into that  financial equivalent of a blackhole, otherwise  known as the "Brand Ghana Office" at the Osu Castle.

Why should we tolerate  the lunacy of  the national treasury paying the earth  for daft ideas from the mediocre individuals  ensconced there - ideas that  by definition  are at best ephemeral outcomes that can easily be made complete nonsense of,  by uncontrollable events,  in an instant - when fairness to Ghanaian women can win the enterprise Ghana plaudits worldwide,  at zero cost to hapless taxpayers, I ask?

The question that  patriotic,   independent-minded  and discerning voters must pose to our political parties and hard-of-hearing politicians,  is:  Would Ghanaians   not be far better off  putting  their  nation on the world map, much more effectively,   by getting all our political parties to agree that the constitution ought to be amended:  to reserve half the seats in Parliament for  women;  ensure that half of the total number of government ministers at any given point in time is allotted to women;   and  reserve half the seats on the boards of all public entities to women?

Will that not  immediately gain the world's attention and admiration - and  forever be pointed out as an example worthy of emulation,  by students attending civics classes  in high schools  and political science lectures  in  universities   worldwide?

(Incidentally, will  such a  simple idea  that costs absolutely no money,   ever emanate from the so-called "Brand Ghana Office" - especially one that will have such long-lasting and positive effect,  on Ghana's image globally,   I ask? But I digress.)

Our homeland Ghana will be a much better place  if Ghanaian womenfolk played an equal leadership role in society.

Would there not probably be less high-level corruption in the public sector,  for example, dear reader  - Ghanaian women  being generally more honest than their menfolk?

So let us finally  affirm  the important role women play in Ghanaian society, by making the constitutional changes suggested above.

It is time the contribution of Ghanaian women to nation-building was acknowledged by us all. They most certainly deserve better from Ghanaian society than is presently the case. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.